British Army Campaign Medals - why no 1940 Star?

Discussion in '1940' started by Thomas McCall, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. Thomas McCall

    Thomas McCall Senior Member

    I was interested in knowing after watching the programs on Dunkirk if the British government made any general service medals for service in France and Belgium during 1939-1940.
    Thanks in advance,
    From,
    Thomas McCall.
     
  2. Glosters

    Glosters Member

    For France 1940 the 1939-45 Star and British War Medal were awarded. When looking at medal groups if you see only these 2 for WWII it is a good indication that he was captured in France. I have such a group in my collection, 1939-45 Star, War Medal and Long Service Good Conduct Medal to a soldier of the 2nd Bn Gloucestershire Regt captured at Cassell.

    Steve
     
  3. Thomas McCall

    Thomas McCall Senior Member

    I saw the programme on Dunkirk and the defence of Cassell by the Glousters. I was wondering if you could tell me the extent of the Glousters casualties defending Cassell, since the progrmme showed that the Glousters were cut off.
    Thanks,
    From,
    Thomas McCall
     
  4. Glosters

    Glosters Member

  5. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Originally posted by Thomas McCall@Feb 23 2004, 10:23 AM
    I was interested in knowing after watching the programs on Dunkirk if the British government made any general service medals for service in France and Belgium during 1939-1940.
    Thanks in advance,
    From,
    Thomas McCall.
    If its of any help, my Grandad, who was badly wounded in May 1940 and invalided out of the army several months later, was issued with the 39-45 star, Defence medal and War medal.
     
  6. Glosters

    Glosters Member

    Thomas,

    His Defence Medal would have been for service in the UK. That leaves the 39-45 star and War Medal for France 1940 as I stated.

    Steve
     
  7. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Originally posted by Glosters@Feb 23 2004, 03:02 PM
    His Defence Medal would have been for service in the UK.
    Steve.

    He didn't have any service in the UK whatsoever (apart from lying in a hospital bed for several months!). We always believed it was issued for his role in an AA battery actually in France between late September 1939 and May 1940 (hence qualifying by spending more than 6 months in an overseas territory that was "subject to air attack or otherwise threatened").

    B.
     
  8. Glosters

    Glosters Member

    Thomas,

    No, the men who only served in France 1940 got the star and war medal. The Defence Medal was for non-operational service only.

    The Army Council's instructions (W.O. 1911)

    "The Defence Medal is granted for non-operational service only"

    Also there are definitions of "threatened areas" that qualify for the Defence Medal. Under 'Europe', the only country listed is 'United Kingdom'.

    Steve
     
  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Originally posted by BAYERNWALD@Feb 23 2004, 08:28 PM
    He didn't have any service in the UK whatsoever (apart from lying in a hospital bed for several months!). We always believed it was issued for his role in an AA battery actually in France between late September 1939 and May 1940 (hence qualifying by spending more than 6 months in an overseas territory that was "subject to air attack or otherwise threatened").
    As stated above, this medal was for Home service only.

    My grandfather was a regular in the RAMC who was recalled in 1939. He served in France from September 1939 - June 1940, and was evacuated out via Dunkirk. For this he got the 39-45 Star and War Medal. He was then discharged (he'd been a soldier since 1918!), but went into civillian war work with the Air Ministry. For that he got the Defence Medal. I suspect something similar with your relative.

    I also believe that you had to do 2/3 years continuous service to get the Defence Medal - don't have the regs in front of me - so it was one of the hardest medals to get in some respects.
     
  10. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Originally posted by Paul Reed@Feb 24 2004, 07:18 AM

    As stated above, this medal was for Home service only.

    My grandfather was a regular in the RAMC who was recalled in 1939. He served in France from September 1939 - June 1940, and was evacuated out via Dunkirk. For this he got the 39-45 Star and War Medal. He was then discharged (he'd been a soldier since 1918!), but went into civillian war work with the Air Ministry. For that he got the Defence Medal. I suspect something similar with your relative.

    Looks like it's going to one of those family mysteries then, as all the corresponding paperwork indicate his entitlement to all three of the mentioned medals.

    My grandad's war was completely over by the time he was invalided out of the army in (approx.) November 1940. He was a pre-war territorial who owned a steeplejack business, a business he went back into after his discharge. He wasn't in any war department based occupation (voluntary or otherwise), ARP, Special Constabulary, AFS or anything like that. He didn't really do anything for the "war effort" after this time whatsoever as he was practically incapable (being paralysed down one side due to brain injury). I can't see how working in the offices of a steeplejack company for the next 5 years could qualify for "home service" and, therefore, a defence medal. The fact stands, though, that he did.

    Any further ideas gratefully recieved.

    B.
     
  11. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Originally posted by BAYERNWALD@Feb 24 2004, 09:32 AM
    I can't see how working in the offices of a steeplejack company for the next 5 years could qualify for "home service" and, therefore, a defence medal. The fact stands, though, that he did.

    Any further ideas gratefully recieved.

    Just recalled something that may or may not be relevent. Part of his steeplejack yard was used by the government for the repair of Beaufighter cockpits/fuselages (I'm uncertain which - might be both) and the same department had use of his trucks.

    Could he possibly actually have been in the part-time employ of the WD, (he always denied it - maybe he didn't know!!!!) and, therefore qualified through this?

    B. :unsure:
     
  12. Thomas McCall

    Thomas McCall Senior Member

    Very interesting and detailed report on the Glosters on your website Glosters. During the report it mentions that a CSM took out a German tank with a boys rifle. aI was curious to know what this is as I haven't heard of this weapon before.
     
  13. Glosters

    Glosters Member

    The Boys Rifle was the standard infantry Anti-Tank weapon of the British Army at the beginning of the war.

    Steve
     
  14. hmsk212

    hmsk212 Junior Member

    Hi

    From " A Catalogue of Campaign and Independence Medals Issued during the Twentieth Century to the British Army" by Major N. W. Poulsom

    Defence Medal was Awarded to :-

    To entitled personnel for non-operational service in the Armed Forces, the Home Guard, the Civil Defence Services and other approved civilian services during the period 3rd September, 1939 to 2nd September, 1945, inclusive.

    The qualification for army personnel was :-

    a. Three years service in the United Kingdom, if normally resident there, or 90 days service in a Mine and Bomb disposal unit. Such service after 8th May, 1945 did not qualify for the award.

    b. 180 days service overseas from or outside the country of residence in a non-operational area subject to air attack or closely threatened.

    c. One years service overseas from or outside the country of residence in a non-operational area..


    Full details of the requirements for qualification are contained in White Paper Command 6833

    Steve
     
  15. MalcolmII

    MalcolmII Senior Member

    Originally posted by Glosters@Feb 26 2004, 12:52 PM
    The Boys Rifle was the standard infantry Anti-Tank weapon of the British Army at the beginning of the war.

    Steve
    I once asked my late uncle, who was in France 1940, about the Boyes AT rifle, having seen a picture in a book, and he told me of being put on a forward road guard with a Boyes AT in 1940 with the order ' Anything comes up that road - open fire'
    After some time a grey tracked vehicle came round a far corner and they fired the Boyes. He recalled how the shot hit the side, raised sparks and bounced off into the air. Fired a second time, same result only this time about three more vehicles appeared and disgorged dozens of troops. A last shot, same result, threw the Boyes into a nearby ditch and legged it back up the road. He got back from Dunkirk?

    Aye
    MalcolmII
     
  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    In WW1 the British & Commonwealth troops who fought in the first years of the war were awarded the 1914 Star or 1914-15 Star.
    See
    1914 Star - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    1914-15 Star - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So why then was no Star made for the early years of WW2 when later campaigns all had Stars, ie Italy Star, Burma Star etc etc ?
    British campaign medals - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The men fighting the Italians in 1940 qualify for the Africa Star.
    I wondered why there was no 1940 Star for the France or Norway campaigns.

    The 1939-1945 Star has a clasp Battle of Britain so why not a clasp for the Battle of France & Norway Campaign.

    Is it simply because we lost & we don't give out medals if we lose ?
     
    von Poop likes this.
  17. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    Good point mate. May be an argument that lost battles often have more meritous bravery than won ones???

    Kev
     
    Ken P likes this.
  18. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Although no Star was issued specifically for the 1940 campaign according to Major Gordons British Battles and medals the 1939-45 Star could be regarded as the qualifying award as no other star could be issued without this.Other campaign stars being awarded for operations within a specific theatre. The fact that the British government decided not to officially name(thus losing all that associated regimental/personal/family history) any of the WW2 medals on the grounds of expense! could possibly imply that even if a seperate medal was considered it was dismissed once again on the grounds of expense! These are my thoughts only on this and I too would be interested in any official explaination ..if there is one
     
  19. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    There was also no Imperial award for Greece and Crete, not even a bar on the 39/45 Star.

    Perhaps they were not considered victorious campaigns or part of the final success.

    No HK, Malaya or Singapore clasps for the Pacific Star either!

    It was originally intended that the British War Medal 1914-1920 be issued with campaign clasps, 79 for the Army and 68 for the Navy recommended, and the idea was abandoned as impractical.

    Australian WW2 campaign medals were named, stars on the back and medals on the rim.

    Spider
     
  20. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Interestingly the Italy Star was awarded for service in GREECE between the 11 June 1943 and 8 May 1945.

    Obviously the earlier campaign wasn't worthy of recognition and as before:

    Perhaps they were not considered victorious campaigns or part of the final success.

    Spider
     

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