ORDER OF MERIT
                  Last updated 29/10/2014
The Order of Merit was founded by Edward VII in 1902, as a very special distinction "given to such persons ... as may have rendered exceptionally meritorious service in Our Crown Services or towards the advancement of the Arts, Learning, Literature, and Science or such other exceptional service as We are fit to recognise". The Order of Merit is in the sole gift of the Sovereign.
The Order is restricted to 24 members as well as additional foreign recipients (shown in blue). There is also a military division (included in the 24); although the last member of this was Lord Mountbatten, the military division has never been abolished.
The badge is an eight-pointed cross of red and blue enamel surmounted by the imperial crown; in the centre, upon blue enamel and surrounded by a laurel wreath, are the words in gold lettering 'For Merit'. The insignia for the military division (when used) is differentiated by crossed swords in the centre of the badge.
For readers wishing to know more of the history and 
membership of the Order of Merit, I recommend "The
Order of Merit: One Hundred Years of Matchless Honour"
by Stanley Martin [I B Tauris, London 2007]
Date   Name Born Died Age
26 Jun 1902 Frederick Sleigh Roberts VC,1st Earl Roberts 30 Sep 1832 14 Nov 1914 82
For further information on this peer and VC
winner, see the note at the foot of the page
containing his peerage entry
26 Jun 1902 Garnet Joseph Wolseley,1st Viscount Wolseley 4 Jun 1833 25 Mar 1913 79
26 Jun 1902 Horatio Herbert Kitchener,1st Baron Kitchener,
later [1914] 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum 24 Jun 1850 5 Jun 1916 65
26 Jun 1902 John William Strutt,3rd Baron Rayleigh 12 Nov 1842 30 Jun 1919 76
26 Jun 1902 William Thomson,1st Baron Kelvin 26 Jun 1824 17 Dec 1907 83
26 Jun 1902 Joseph Lister,1st Baron Lister 5 Apr 1827 10 Feb 1912 84
26 Jun 1902 Sir Henry Keppel 14 Jun 1809 17 Jan 1904 94
26 Jun 1902 John Morley,later [1908] 1st Viscount Morley
of Blackburn 24 Dec 1838 23 Sep 1923 84
26 Jun 1902 William Edward Hartpole Lecky 26 Mar 1838 23 Oct 1903 65
26 Jun 1902 Sir Edward Hobart Seymour 30 Apr 1840 2 Mar 1929 88
26 Jun 1902 Sir William Huggins 7 Feb 1824 12 May 1910 86
26 Jun 1902 George Frederic Watts 23 Feb 1817 1 Jul 1904 87
30 Jun 1905 Sir George Stuart White 6 Jul 1835 24 Jun 1912 76
30 Jun 1905 Sir John Arbuthnot Fisher,later [1909] 1st Baron 
Fisher 25 Jan 1841 10 Jul 1920 79
30 Jun 1905 Sir Richard Claverhouse Jebb 27 Aug 1841 9 Dec 1905 64
30 Jun 1905 Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema 8 Jan 1836 25 Jun 1912 76
30 Jun 1905 George Meredith 12 Feb 1828 18 May 1909 81
30 Jun 1905 William Holman Hunt 2 Apr 1827 7 Sep 1910 83
21 Feb 1906 Prince Aritomo Yamagata 22 Apr 1838 1 Feb 1922 83
21 Feb 1906 Prince Iwao Oyama 10 Oct 1842 10 Dec 1916 74
21 Feb 1906 Marquis Heihachiro Togo 27 Jan 1848 30 May 1934 86
29 Jun 1906 Evelyn Baring,1st Earl of Cromer 26 Feb 1841 29 Jan 1917 75
11 Feb 1907 James Bryce,later [1914] 1st Viscount Bryce 10 May 1838 22 Jan 1922 83
30 Jun 1907 Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker 30 Jun 1817 10 Dec 1911 94
29 Nov 1907 Florence Nightingale 12 May 1820 13 Aug 1910 90
26 Jun 1908 Henry Jackson 12 Mar 1839 25 Sep 1921 82
26 Jun 1908 Alfred Russel Wallace 8 Jan 1823 7 Nov 1913 90
8 Jul 1910 Sir William Crookes 17 Jun 1832 4 Apr 1919 86
8 Jul 1910 Thomas Hardy 2 Jun 1840 11 Jan 1928 87
19 Jun 1911 Sir George Otto Trevelyan 20 Jul 1838 17 Aug 1928 90
19 Jun 1911 Sir Edward William Elgar 2 Jun 1857 23 Feb 1934 76
8 Mar 1912 Sir Arthur Knyvet Wilson VC 4 Mar 1842 25 May 1921 79
For further information on this VC winner,
see the note at the foot of this page
15 Mar 1912 Sir Joseph John Thomson 18 Dec 1856 30 Aug 1940 83
1 Jan 1914 Sir Archibald Geikie 28 Dec 1835 10 Nov 1924 88
3 Dec 1914 Sir John Denton Pinkstone French,later [1922]
1st Earl of Ypres 28 Sep 1852 22 May 1925 72
26 May 1915 Richard Burdon Haldane,1st Viscount Haldane 30 Jul 1856 19 Aug 1928 72
1 Jan 1916 Henry James 15 Apr 1843 28 Feb 1916 72
31 May 1916 Sir John Rushworth Jellicoe,later  [1925]
1st Earl Jellicoe 5 Dec 1859 20 Nov 1935 75
3 Jun 1916 Arthur James Balfour,later [1922] 1st Earl Balfour 25 Jul 1848 19 Mar 1930 81
29 Nov 1918 Ferdinand Foch 2 Oct 1851 20 Mar 1929 77
3 Jun 1919 Sir David Beatty,later [Sep 1919] 1st Earl Beatty 17 Jan 1871 11 Mar 1936 65
3 Jun 1919 Douglas Haig,later [Sep 1919] 1st Earl Haig 19 Jun 1861 29 Jan 1928 66
26 Jun 1919 Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre 12 Jan 1852 3 Jan 1931 78
5 Aug 1919 David Lloyd George,later [1945] 1st Earl Lloyd
George of Dwyfor 17 Jan 1863 26 Mar 1945 82
2 Jan 1922 Sir James Matthew Barrie 9 May 1860 19 Jun 1937 77
3 Jun 1924 Francis Herbert Bradley 30 Jan 1846 18 Sep 1924 78
3 Jun 1924 Sir Charles Scott Sherrington 27 Nov 1857 4 Mar 1952 94
1 Jan 1925 Sir James George Frazer 1 Jan 1854 7 May 1941 87
1 Jan 1925 Ernest Rutherford,later [1931] 1st Baron
Rutherford of Nelson 30 Aug 1871 19 Oct 1937 66
3 Jun 1927 Sir Charles Algernon Parsons 13 Jun 1854 11 Feb 1931 76
4 Jun 1928 Sir George Abraham Grierson 7 Jan 1851 9 Mar 1941 90
3 Jun 1929 Robert Seymour Bridges 23 Oct 1844 21 Apr 1930 85
3 Jun 1929 John Galsworthy 14 Aug 1867 31 Jan 1933 65
3 Jun 1930 Samuel Alexander 6 Jan 1859 13 Sep 1938 79
3 Jun 1930 Montague Rhodes James 1 Aug 1862 12 Jun 1936 73
3 Jun 1930 George Macaulay Trevelyan 16 Feb 1876 21 Jul 1962 86
1 Jan 1931 Sir Charles Edward Madden             5 Sep 1862 5 Jun 1935 72
1 Jan 1931 Philip Wilson Steer 28 Dec 1860 21 Mar 1942 81
3 Jun 1931 Sir William Henry Bragg 2 Jul 1862 12 Mar 1942 79
1 Jan 1935 John William Mackail                 26 Aug 1859 13 Dec 1945 86
3 Jun 1935 John Masefield                        1 Jun 1878 12 May 1967 88
3 Jun 1935 Ralph Vaughan Williams                 12 Oct 1872 26 Aug 1958 85
3 Jun 1935 Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins 20 Jun 1861 16 May 1947 85
1 Jan 1936 Sir Philip Walhouse Chetwode,7th baronet,later
[1945] 1st Baron Chetwode 21 Sep 1869 6 Jul 1950 80
1 Feb 1937 Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher 21 Mar 1865 18 Apr 1940 75
11 May 1937 Robert Stephenson Baden-Powell,1st Baron
Baden-Powell 22 Feb 1857 8 Jan 1941 83
9 Jun 1938 Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington 28 Dec 1882 22 Nov 1944 61
2 Jan 1939 Ernle Montacute Chatfield,1st Baron Chatfield 27 Sep 1873 15 Nov 1967 94
2 Jan 1939 Sir James Hopwood Jeans 11 Sep 1877 16 Sep 1946 69
29 Oct 1940 Sir Cyril Louis Norton Newall,later [1946]
1st Baron Newall 15 Feb 1886 30 Nov 1963 77
1 Jan 1941 George Gilbert Aime Murray 2 Jan 1866 20 May 1957 91
1 Jan 1942 Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens 29 Mar 1869 1 Jan 1944 74
11 Jun 1942 Augustus Edwin John 4 Jan 1878 31 Oct 1961 83
11 Jun 1942 Edgar Douglas Adrian,later [1955] 1st Baron Adrian 30 Nov 1889  4 Aug 1977 87
1 Jan 1943 Sir William Searle Holdsworth 7 May 1871 2 Jan 1944 72
3 Sep 1943 Sir Alfred Dudley Pickman Rogers Pound 29 Aug 1877 21 Oct 1943 66
8 Jun 1944 Sidney James Webb,1st Baron Passfield 13 Jul 1859 13 Oct 1947 88
8 Jun 1944 Sir Henry Hallett Dale 9 Jun 1875 23 Jul 1968 93
8 Jun 1944 Sir Giles Gilbert Scott 9 Nov 1880 8 Feb 1960 79
1 Jan 1945 Alfred North Whitehead 15 Feb 1861 30 Dec 1947 86
12 Jun 1945 Dwight David Eisenhower 14 Oct 1890 28 Mar 1969 78
1 Jan 1946 Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill 30 Nov 1874 24 Jan 1965 90
1 Jan 1946 Charles Frederick Algernon Portal,
1st Viscount Portal of Hungerford 21 May 1893 22 Apr 1971 77
13 Jun 1946 Alan Francis Brooke,1st Viscount Alanbrooke 23 Jul 1883 17 Jun 1963 79
13 Jun 1946 Andrew Browne Cunningham,1st Viscount
Cunningham of Hyndhope 7 Jan 1883 12 Jun 1963 80
13 Jun 1946 Edward Frederick Lindley Wood,1st Earl of
Halifax 16 Apr 1881 23 Dec 1959 78
1 Jan 1947 Jan Christian Smuts 24 May 1870 11 Sep 1950 80
1 Jan 1947 John Gilbert Winant 23 Feb 1889 3 Nov 1947 58
17 Nov 1947 William Lyon Mackenzie King 17 Dec 1874 22 Jul 1950 75
1 Jan 1948 Thomas Stearns Eliot 26 Sep 1888 4 Jan 1965 76
9 Jun 1949 Sir Robert Robinson 13 Sep 1886 8 Feb 1975 88
9 Jun 1949 Bertrand Arthur William Russell,3rd Earl
Russell 18 May 1872 2 Feb 1970 97
1 Jan 1951 Sir Alexander George Montagu Cadogan 25 Nov 1884  9 Jul 1968 83
1 Jan 1951 Hugh Montague Trenchard,1st Viscount Trenchard 3 Feb 1873 10 Feb 1956 83
7 Jun 1951 George Edward Moore 4 Nov 1873 24 Oct 1958 84
5 Nov 1951 Clement Richard Attlee,later [1955] 1st Earl Attlee  3 Jan 1883  8 Oct 1967 84
1 Jan 1953 Wilder Graves Penfield 26 Jan 1891 5 Apr 1976 85
1 Jun 1953 Walter de la Mare 25 Apr 1873 22 Jun 1956 83
25 Feb 1955 Albert Schweitzer 14 Jan 1875 4 Sep 1965 90
31 May 1956 William Malcolm Hailey,1st Baron Hailey 15 Feb 1872 1 Jun 1969 97
1 Jan 1957 Sir John Douglas Cockcroft 27 May 1897 18 Sep 1967 70
8 Dec 1957 John Anderson,1st Viscount Waverley 8 Jul 1882 4 Jan 1958 75
12 Jun 1958 Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet 3 Sep 1899 31 Aug 1985 85
21 Nov 1958 Herbert Louis Samuel,1st Viscount Samuel 6 Nov 1870 5 Feb 1963 92
23 Apr 1960 Harold Rupert Leofric Alexander,1st Earl
Alexander of Tunis 10 Dec 1891 16 Jun 1969 77
23 Apr 1960 Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood 19 Jun 1897 9 Oct 1967 70
23 Apr 1960 Graham Vivian Sutherland 24 Aug 1903 17 Feb 1980 76
23 Nov 1962 Sir Geoffrey de Havilland 27 Jul 1882 21 May 1965 82
23 Nov 1962 Sir Basil Urwin Spence 13 Aug 1907 19 Nov 1976 69
29 May 1963 Sir Owen Dixon 28 Apr 1886  8 Jul 1972 86
12 Jun 1963 Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan 5 Sep 1888 16 Apr 1975 86
16 Aug 1963 George Peabody Gooch 21 Oct 1873 31 Aug 1968 94
16 Aug 1963 Henry Spencer Moore 30 Jul 1898 31 Aug 1986 88
23 Mar 1965 Edward Benjamin Britten,later [1976] 
Baron Britten [L] 22 Nov 1913 4 Dec 1976 63
23 Mar 1965 Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin 12 May 1910 29 Jul 1994 84
15 Jul 1965 Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas
Mountbatten,1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma 25 Jun 1900 27 Aug 1979 79
15 Jul 1965 Howard Walter Florey,Baron Florey [L] 24 Sep 1898 21 Feb 1968 69
20 Nov 1967 Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett,later [1969] 
Baron Blackett [L] 18 Nov 1897 13 Jul 1974 76
20 Nov 1967 Sir William Turner Walton 29 Mar 1902 8 Mar 1983 80
23 Apr 1968 Ben Nicholson 10 Apr 1894 6 Feb 1982 87
23 Apr 1968 Sir Solly Zuckerman,later [1971] Baron 
Zuckerman [L] 30 May 1904 1 Apr 1993 88
10 Jun 1968 Philip Mountbatten,Duke of Edinburgh 10 Jun 1921
1 Jan 1969 Edward Morgan Forster 1 Jan 1879 7 Jun 1970 91
14 Jul 1969 Malcolm John Macdonald Aug 1901 11 Jan 1981 79
14 Jul 1969 William George Penney,Baron Penney [L] 24 Jun 1909 3 Mar 1991 81
14 Jul 1969 Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor 7 Mar 1886 27 Jun 1975 89
14 Jul 1969 Dame Cicely Veronica Wedgwood 20 Jul 1910 9 Mar 1997 86
21 Mar 1970 John Cawte Beaglehole 13 Jun 1901 10 Oct 1971 70
28 May 1971 Lester Bowles Pearson 23 Apr 1897 27 Dec 1972 75
28 May 1971 Sir Isaiah Berlin 6 Jun 1909 5 Nov 1997 88
28 May 1971 Sir George Robert Edwards 9 Jul 1908 2 Mar 2003 94
 
17 Apr 1973 Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin 5 Feb 1914 20 Dec 1998 84
17 Apr 1973 Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac 8 Aug 1902 20 Oct 1984 82
2 Apr 1976 Maurice Harold Macmillan,later [1984] 1st Earl of
Stockton 10 Feb 1894 29 Dec 1986 92
2 Apr 1976 Christopher Hinton,Baron Hinton of Bankside [L] 12 May 1901 22 Jun 1983 82
2 Apr 1976 Kenneth Mackenzie Clark,Baron Clark [L] 13 Jul 1903 21 May 1983 79
2 Apr 1976 Sir Ronald Syme 11 Mar 1903 4 Sep 1989 86
24 Oct 1977 Alexander Robertus Todd,Baron Todd [L] 2 Oct 1907 10 Jan 1997 89
24 Oct 1977 Oliver Shewell Franks,Baron Franks [L] 16 Feb 1905 15 Oct 1992 87
24 Oct 1977 Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton 17 Sep 1904 18 Aug 1988 83
24 Oct 1977 John Boynton Priestley 13 Sep 1894 14 Aug 1984 89
6 Feb 1981 Laurence Kerr Olivier,Baron Olivier [L] 22 May 1907 11 Jul 1989 82
6 Feb 1981 Sir Peter Brian Medawar 28 Feb 1915 2 Oct 1987 72
6 Feb 1981 Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire,later [1991] Baron
Cheshire [L] 7 Sep 1917 31 Jul 1992 74
11 Nov 1983 Sir William Owen Chadwick 20 May 1916
11 Nov 1983 Sir Andrew Fielding Huxley 22 Nov 1917 30 May 2012 94
11 Nov 1983 Sir Sidney Robert Nolan 22 Apr 1917 27 Nov 1992 75
11 Nov 1983 Sir Michael Kemp Tippett 2 Jan 1905 8 Jan 1998 93
18 Nov 1983 Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa) 27 Aug 1910 5 Sep 1997 87
11 Feb 1986 Henry Graham Greene 2 Oct 1904 3 Apr 1991 86
11 Feb 1986 Frederick Sanger 13 Aug 1918 19 Nov 2013 95
11 Feb 1986 Sir Frank Whittle 1 Jun 1907 8 Aug 1996 89
25 Feb 1987 Sir Yehudi Menuhin,later [1993] Baron Menuhin [L] 22 Apr 1916 12 Mar 1999 82
15 Feb 1988 Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich 30 Mar 1909 3 Nov 2001 92
15 Feb 1988 Max Ferdinand Perutz 19 May 1914 6 Feb 2002 87
30 Nov 1989 Dame Cicely Mary Strode Saunders 22 Jun 1918 14 Jul 2005 87
30 Nov 1989 George Porter,later [1990] Baron Porter of
Luddenham [L] 6 Dec 1920 31 Aug 2002 81
7 Dec 1990 Margaret Hilda Thatcher,later [1992] Baroness
Thatcher [L] 13 Oct 1925 8 Apr 2013 87
27 Nov 1991 Dame Joan Alston Sutherland 7 Nov 1926 10 Oct 2010 83
27 Nov 1991 Francis Harry Compton Crick 8 Jun 1916 28 Jul 2004 88
17 Nov 1992 Dame Ninette de Valois 6 Jun 1898 8 Mar 2001 102
17 Nov 1992 Sir Michael Francis Atiyah 22 Apr 1929
6 Dec 1993 Lucian Michael Freud 8 Dec 1922 20 Jul 2011 88
6 Dec 1993 Roy Harris Jenkins,Baron Jenkins of Hillhead [L] 11 Nov 1920 5 Jan 2003 82
21 Mar 1995 Nelson Mandela (honorary member) 18 Jul 1918 5 Dec 2013 95
23 Oct 1995 Sir Aaron Klug 11 Aug 1926
9 Dec 1996 Sir Arthur John Gielgud 14 Apr 1904 21 May 2000 96
25 Nov 1997 Alfred Thompson Denning,Baron Denning [L] 23 Jan 1899 5 Mar 1999 100
25 Nov 1997 Sir Norman Robert Foster,later [1999] Baron
Foster of Thames Bank [L] 1 Jun 1935
25 Nov 1997 Sir Denis Eric Rooke 2 Apr 1924 2 Sep 2008 84
10 Aug 1998 Edward James Hughes 17 Aug 1930 28 Oct 1998 68
25 May 1999 Cardinal George Basil Hume 2 Mar 1923 17 Jun 1999 76
9 May 2000 Sir James Whyte Black 14 Jun 1924 22 Mar 2010 85
9 May 2000 Sir Anthony Alfred Caro 8 Mar 1924 23 Oct 2013 89
9 May 2000 Sir Roger Penrose 8 Aug 1931
9 May 2000 Sir Tom Stoppard 3 Jul 1937
27 Jun 2002 HRH Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince
of Wales 14 Nov 1948
28 Oct 2002 Robert McCredie May,Baron May of Oxford [L] 8 Jan 1936
28 Oct 2002 Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild,4th Baron
Rothschild 29 Apr 1936
28 Apr 2005 Sir David Frederick Attenborough 8 May 1926
28 Apr 2005 Betty Boothroyd,Baroness Boothroyd [L] 8 Oct 1929
28 Apr 2005 Sir Michael Eliot Howard 29 Nov 1922
13 Jun 2007 Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee 8 Jun 1955
13 Jun 2007 Martin John Rees,Baron Rees of Ludlow [L] 23 Jun 1942
13 Jun 2007 Robert Henry Alexander Eames,Baron Eames [L] 27 Apr 1937
13 Jul 2009 Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien 11 Jan 1934
4 Nov 2010 Robert Neil MacGregor 16 Jun 1946
31 Dec 2011 David Hockney 9 Jul 1937
31 Dec 2011 John Winston Howard 26 Jul 1939
31 Dec 2013 Sir Simon Denis Rattle 19 Jan 1955
31 Dec 2013 Martin Litchfield West 23 Sep 1937
31 Dec 2013 Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub 16 Nov 1935
Sir Arthur Knyvet Wilson VC
Following a naval career during which he saw action in the Crimea, China and Egypt,
Wilson was a Captain in the Naval Brigade during the war in Sudan in 1884. During
this campaign, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Wilson was invested with his Victoria Cross on 4 June 1884. The following is an edited 
extract from "The Times" of 5 June 1884:-
'On Southsea Common yesterday afternoon the Victoria Cross was presented to Captain
Arthur Knyvet Wilson, of Her Majesty's torpedo ship Hecla…….The special act of bravery
which has been rewarded with the Victoria Cross was performed in connexion with the
naval brigade at the Battle of El-Teb [29 February 1884 in the Sudan]. In describing the
engagement Admiral Hewitt said:- "As we closed on the battery the enemy moved out on
the corner of the square and upon the gun detachment who were dragging the Gardner
gun. Captain Wilson sprang to the front and joined for a second or two in single combat
with some of the enemy, protecting his detachment till some men of the York and Lancaster
Regiment assisted him with their bayonets. But for the action of Captain Wilson, I think one
or more of his detachment must have been speared. Captain Wilson was wounded, but 
remained with the half battery during the day. Having broken his sword in the single combat
in which he was for a time engaged, he was compelled to continue the battle with his fists,
and was eventually rescued, escaping with a few wounds." '
Wilson continued in his naval career, rising to Admiral of the Fleet in 1907.