Defence medal entitlement

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by cg1914, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. cg1914

    cg1914 Junior Member

    Hello, would a man serving in the home guard who died in 1941 be entitled to a defence medal? Death in local paper attributes death to strain of night patrols
    Cheers
     
  2. SDP

    SDP Senior Member Patron

    Only way of finding out for definite is to contact the MOD Medals Office. You will need his name and date of birth or Service Number. Anything else is pure speculation although you can generally research outline qualification periods etc. Not sure off the top of my head how Home Guard qualified.

    Edit: I've just checked the criteria and it looks as though he doesn't qualify as it needs a minimum of three years service from May 1940.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  3. cg1914

    cg1914 Junior Member

    Thanks. Wondered if death in service counted.
     
  4. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member Patron

    Reading the eligibility for the WW2 Defence Medal given by the M.O.D. death in service, even if attributable to that service, does not seem to be taken into account if the person has not completed the three year eligibility service:

    "To apply for the Defence Medal, you must have either:

    • 1080 days (3 years) service in the UK between 3 Sep 1939 and 8 May 1945
    • 360 days (1 year) non-operational service overseas between 3 Sep 1939 and 2 Sep 1945
    • 180 days non operational service in an overseas area deemed to be closely threatened or subject to air attack between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945"
    It suggests that a Home Guard soldier who died in 1941 would not be eligible for the Defence Medal. He would not have completed three years service on the Home Front.

    By comparison, the 1939 - 1945 War Medal (for full-time Armed Forces personnel) only requires 28 days service and the qualifying period even goes up to 2 September 1945. This indicates someone could have been conscripted on 1 August 1945 (i.e. after V.E. Day and a couple of weeks before V.J. Day), sent on basic training for six weeks, and yet would be entitled to this 1939 - 1945 medal. However, to be eligible for the 1939 - 1945 Star it requires the service man or woman to have a specified number days on operational service overseas.

    It may seem a bit tough but this is what was decided upon.
     
  5. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member Patron

    Is the Home Guard soldier in question commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission?
     
  6. cg1914

    cg1914 Junior Member

    Seems like it was no medal then for ww2, knew about the 3 yr rules but not about death in service.

    No he isn't. I'm going to get his death certificate and papers so I can make an informed decision if I contact the cwgc. I have seen another to a chap discharged 1941 and died in 47 being commemorated so maybe he should be?

    he served boer war and ww1 yet it was ww2 duty that got him.
     
  7. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member Patron

    Eligibility for the CWGC commemoration is similary not as straightforward as one might think. which has been debated elsewhere on this forum. For a Home Guard soldier, if the cause of death was listed on the death certificate and directly attributable to his service in the Home Guard he should be commemorated by the CWGC (e.g. accidently knocked down by a vehicle while on duty). Directly attributing other causes of death, such as sickness or illness, to a Home Guard soldier's wartime service can be a little more difficult.
     
  8. SDP

    SDP Senior Member Patron

    The Defence Medal is a 'funny' one. Many veterans who you would reasonably think were entitled to the Defence Medal weren't entitled. Examples include those who were conscripted and fought in North West Europe after the Normandy D Day. They didn't satisfy the three year rule ( because they weren't in the U.K. long enough) and the NWE campaign lasted less than one year. I was at a recent meeting when it was pointed out by a serving Officer that, on many occasions, 'you can spot a Normandy veteran straight away' because he has the War Medal, the War Star and the NWE Star but not the Defence Medal. Quirky system with hindsight but then 'rules are rules'.
     
  9. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    I managed to claim my grandfathers defence medal last year

    He was awarded 3945 star Burma star and France and Germany star and war medal in 1948

    He had 6 months in Ceylon and 18 months total uk service and this was overlooked at the time

    Am trying to get his Atlantic clasp awarded.
     
  10. SDP

    SDP Senior Member Patron

    I presume he received the award on the basis of his six months in Ceylon. No disrespect to your grandfather, but six months required in Ceylon (which was not exactly front line) compared to three years in the U.K. - which all too often was quite front line - just doesn't seem equitable. As I said before 'rules are rules' and there are bound to be 'injustices' somewhere along the line.
     
  11. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    He was boom defence in Ceylon. Ceylon was subject to bombing hence the requirement 6 months overseas service.
     
  12. SDP

    SDP Senior Member Patron

    James. Understood and, as I stated clearly in my post, I respect that. The point I was making was that a requirement for three years in the U.K. seems disproportionate and, in relative terms, unfair.
     
  13. cg1914

    cg1914 Junior Member

    Thanks all for the info
     
  14. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    I agree, esp during the height of the blitz's

    Did our commonwealth cousins qualify for 6 months service in uk? As they were overseas subject to air attack or did the 3 year ruling apply to them

    As an aside I think it's also unfair a sailor needed 6 months at sea to qualify for Atlantic star (12 months if counting prerequisite for 39-45 star) whereas most other stars neeeed only 1 day, even the new arctic star only needed i day, I know in last 6 months of war qualification dropped to 1 day but again unfair on those who spent 11 months on Atlantic convoys and then returned to uk for last 10 months of the war. This missing out on either the star or clasp
     
  15. SDP

    SDP Senior Member Patron

    James

    I totally agree especially, in the case of the Atlantic aspect, that the risks - both actual and perceived - were different with the latter stages of the War in the Atlantic being somewhat less risky.
     
  16. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    I think the defence medal should have been 6 (or less as height of blitz) months between 1940-42 or 3 years accumulated service between 39-45,

    Regards
     
  17. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Defence Medal was surely intended to provide an award to those not eligible for overseas campaign stars ? I don't see that its non-award in the case of someone who had been awarded one or more campaign stars should be thought of as unfair and in fact anyone who spent the majority of the war on active service would not have been eligible for it.

    I think there is a good case with hindsight for saying that during the six months after the fall of France, the British Isles were the front line but that is clearly not how it was regarded in 1945...There was perhaps a tendency to try and forget the dark days of 1940. Those who served with the BEF in 1939 - 40 had often been in France for almost as long as the men in 1944 - 45 but were not eligible for the France & Germany Star either.

    The situation is full of anomalies. Perhaps not surprising with a system that evolved in the days of Empire with red-coated battalions sailing away to fight small foreign wars. It was easy to regulate when compared with a situation where more or less a whole population was mobilised or at risk.
     
  18. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    I agree but to make an award of the arctic star 70 years later but for only 1 day service in my mind is silly when plenty of front line services police arp fire ambulance etc were denied the defence medal at the height of the blitz.
     
  19. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I don't actually agree with the invention of awards at this distance in time. It seems like fiddling with history to me. Presumably the criteria were based on the difficulty of obtaining full records and the low numbers involved - with a wish to avoid discussions with families.

    People at the time knew that they didn't signify much. There were black-marketeers with a day job on the local council out in the sticks who were awarded medals and never heard an enemy aeroplane and there were fireman in the London Blitz who got no more.

    A desk clerk who was posted around could have picked up two or three campaign stars and an infantryman sent home wounded after fighting in France and then the desert just one.

    Do we tend to over-sentimentalise these things now ? The service record is far more important and interesting to me.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
    Staffsyeoman and Tricky Dicky like this.
  20. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    I would hope that a serving officer would be more exact than using terms such as "The War Star" and "The NWE Star" which are, if understandable, gibberish. The 1939-45 Star, and the France and Germany Star, please. And listed in the wrong order.
     

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