How rare was it to win an immediate MC and DSO in WW2?

Discussion in 'WW2 Militaria' started by Emanuel1940, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. Emanuel1940

    Emanuel1940 Member

    Hi All,

    a question that I would like to know the answer to please. How rare was it for someone in the British Army in WW2 to win an immediate MC and DSO. The MC was won with immediate effect in the Italian Campaign whilst the DSO was won with immediate effect on D-Day.

    Many thanks.

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I'm not sure what you mean but the latter part is wrong Immediate MC's and DSO's were won throughout the war as far as I'm aware, certainly in 1940 at Dunkirk. My understanding and I'm happy to be proven wrong, is an immediate award was for a singular act of bravery where as a periodic award was work done over a period of time.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I think you mean - how rare was the award combination of both DSO and MC in WW2 ...??

    If so, no idea, and no idea how to find out either. :)

    I don't think I'd describe it as rare though, as these things go... MC and DCM would be less common, I'd imagine.

    Awards to Irish Guards, includes some DSO / MC combos.
  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    It would appear that there were a lot of immediate Awards for bravery.

    Here is a link to Commandos who received Awards and there are many instances of MM (NCO's) MC and DSO awarded immediately.

    The Commandos were small in numbers in comparison to the normal Services and so I believe that you can multipy the numbers manyfold.


  5. Emanuel1940

    Emanuel1940 Member

    Thank you everyone. I thought it might be the case that there were many instances of immediate awards.
  6. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    An example of an award of an immediate MC in Tunisia and an immediate DSO in Italy was ones made to my father's Commanding Officer, John Horsfall (see attached) on top of an MC previously awarded to him for his actions at Dunkirk....

    and another for my father's CO's, Bala Bredin, who was awarded an immediate DSO twice in Italy...on top of a previous awarded pre war MC..

    time certainly doesn't diminish the deeds of the many...


    Attached Files:

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  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    I think the term "immediate" refers to the award process. If an award is not "immediate" it is "periodic" e.g.on one of the honours and awards lists such as the sovereigns birthday list or the new years lists. There were also awards at the end of WW2 campaigns. An award made on one of these lists did not necessarily mean that the recipient was less brave or deserving, merely that it had not been put forwards at the time. .

    I am not sure that someone was normally awarded a DSO and an MC at the same time. f you do something noteworthy you tend to get one or the other. Someone holding both has probably done something gallant on two separate occasions. Sometimes extremely brave men may get one award capturing lots of different incidents. E.g. Lt William James RHA was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal - after his commission for distinguished conduct in three different campaigns France/Belgium 1940; Greece and North Africa, any of which might have individually merited an MM in its own right. .
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    It was my understanding that periodic meant that there was an accumulative effect, ie not one action but more on different occasions.

    I've never heard of two awards for the same action, the higher-ups would consider the merits and award at the level which best fit the criteria. Bar denotes two or more awards at the same level... The example which springs immediately to mind is Blair Mayne.

    I have seen one case when a recommendation referred to an earlier one still under consideration. They were amalgamated, if I remember correctly.

    See attachments in this post which outline immediate/periodic awards

  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    A lot of chaps in the Signals appear to get more periodic awards rather than immediate - the fact that they were not a fighting unit gave them little opportunity to earn an immediate award.
  10. AndyBaldEagle

    AndyBaldEagle Very Senior Member

    From the many citations I have read Army Group Commanders, such as Mongtomery, were allowed an allocation of awards to award immediately and did so 'in the field'. These were all I believe normally for acts of bravery.

    Others were sent up the ranks as it were, from battalion, brigade, division etc upwards then Army Group then forwarded to a committee via the Ministry of State for authority to be presented to the King for a Yes. Some were upgraded/downgraded on the way so a MC might be upgraded to a DSO or downgraded to a MID!

    Or a MM submission might be finally awarded a DCM etc etc.

    So it is highly likely that in the example you give Daniel, both were for gallantry, it might have been that for the DSO award the submission might have been for a Bar to his MC but a higher authority thought a DSO more appropriate but without seeing a copy of the actual citation we wouldn't know.

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  11. Emanuel1940

    Emanuel1940 Member

    Hi All,

    brilliant replies. Attached is the man I was referring to. Major, later Brigadier David Warren. Many thanks everyone.

    Attached Files:

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  12. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Major Tom Bundock of 2/Royal Warwicks won his MC on 7 June 1944 in Normandy and his DSO on 19 July 1944. His citation is marked as 'DSO (IMMEDIATE)'. Tom was Killed in Action on 6 August 1944.
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  13. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    This is the MC citation in Sicily for Captain Warren..

    Attached Files:

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  14. Emanuel1940

    Emanuel1940 Member

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  15. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    There is an example of a man receiving two gallantry awards for the same mission in WWII. Wing Commander Jimmy Flint, then a Sergeant, was the pilot of a Handley Page Hampden that was attacked by a night fighter on the way to bomb Osnabruck on the night of 5-6 July 1941. The Hampden was damaged, but Flint evaded the fighter and continued with the raid.

    On the way home the Hampden was attacked and badly damaged by two Messerschmitt Bf110s. Flint flew very low and escaped them, but the Hampden was too badly damaged to climb over the cliffs, so he had to ditch just off the British coast. He and two of the other crewmen escaped, but Flint then swam back into the sinking aircraft in an attempt to rescue the navigator. Flint managed to get him ashore, but the navigator died of his wounds. Flint then insisted on remaining on the beach until it was clear that the fifth crewman was also lost.

    Flint was awarded an immediate DFM for his conduct during the raid. He later received a GM for his attempts to save his crew.

    See his Daily Telegraph obituary, which describes this as a 'unique distinction.' His Wikipedia entry included the citation for his GM.
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  16. KeonaMulcahy

    KeonaMulcahy New Member

    By any chance do you have a copy of Col. John Horsfall's citation for his first MC (France 1940)?

  17. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

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  18. KeonaMulcahy

    KeonaMulcahy New Member

  19. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Strangely I hadn't noticed that, doh !...the recommendation was clearly for the DSO but an award actually made for the MC... it happened a fair amount.

    The MC was awarded for the time in late Feb/March 1943 when OC D Coy, 1st Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers. the DSO from May 1944 when the took over command of the 2nd Bn London Irish Rifles following the death of Lt-Col Ion Goff on 15th May 1944.

    No doubt you've read the trilogy of books he wrote about his time at Dunkirk and in Tunisia and Italy.

    best wishes
  20. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Capt Harry Christie 2 R INNIS FUS and killed on the Garigliano on 19 Jan 44 had both a DSO and an MC.

    Very impressive for a chap killed at the tender age of just 29.



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