Identifying Medals

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by samrayner, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. samrayner

    samrayner Member

    My Great Grandma's Brother served in the war from 42-47 in the RAC, Westminster Dragoons and then the 3rd RTR. He served in Europe (D-Day being his introduction to the war), all the way through until the end of the war in 1945 where he served an extra two years during the Allied Occupation of Germany. We have three of his medals; The 1939-45 Star, 1939-45 War Medal and the France-Germany Star. However he has a ribbon bar which includes the Defence Medal and does not include the 1939-45 War Medal. No-one seems to remember him having the Defence Medal, does anyone know if he was entitled to it? and why would the War Medal not be on the ribbon bar?

  2. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Defence Medal: Depends on when he enlisted and went overseas. My dad was the same in that he was just a few weeks short of qualifying for the Defence Medal before he also went overseas (Normandy) but, again as your relation, he has the Defence Medal bar ribbon but not the Medal itself.
    War Medal not on ribbon bar: I'm not sure but that is likely because the bar was prepared before the medal itself was applied for.

    1. can't ask dad as he died in 1981 !
    2. Lots of NWE Veterans only had the three medals due to that time element mentioned above.
    3. What was your relations surname? My dad was also 3RTR after August 1944 having previously been 24th Lancers.
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  3. samrayner

    samrayner Member

    Thanks for the help! Much appreciated.

    His name was James Hand (TPR J.Hand) and he was in a Sherman Crab tank, I’m not sure but I believe he was the driver.

    I also know he was in C SQN 3rd RTR if that helps!
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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  5. samrayner

    samrayner Member

    No we haven’t, I will look into it though. Thank you.
  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Also worth bearing in mind that the medals will have been accompanied by some paperwork irrespective of when he applied for them (Note: they were not issued automatically - they had to be applied for). Would therefore be worth seeing if that paperwork (it's often just a standard slip of paper with the medals ticked off as appropriate) still exists and likewise the small box the medals will have arrived in. Having said that, mistakes can be made and therefore the Army Medal Office (was in Droitwich, not sure where it is now) might have issued an 'incomplete set'. It's also possible, of course, that he simply lost the Defence Medal. As the previous poster intimated, his Service Records are the definitive source (but be prepared for a long wait if you do decide to apply for them).
  7. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Defence Medal entitlement can be difficult to assess retrospectively. Indeed, it may not always have been clear at the time as it included quite a number of forms of civilian service which may not be documented in the Service records. My dad's included his period as a Police Messenger prior to joining up.

    Medal ribbons were authorised to be worn some time before the medals were issued (and of course were worn by men who never claimed the actual decoration). Entitlement was sometimes noted in the AB64 paybook but this may have depended upon unit practice.
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  8. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Intriguing. I'm now wondering if that means my dad - very similar to the OPs situation of Defence Medal bar ribbon but no Medal - was also really entitled to the Defence Medal because of 'other service'. Dad only applied for his medals in 1981 so I presume the Medals Office would just have checked his Service Records to establish entitlement and that's why he didn't receive the Defence Medal itself. Dad wasn't able to 'argue his case' as he died soon after he applied for his medals (he knew he didn't have much time left and that's why he applied!) and they actually arrived nearly two years later well after he died....and we were none the wiser and obviously had other things on our minds.
  9. samrayner

    samrayner Member

    Interesting, I pretty sure the slip that came with the medals still exists in his box of all the things he kept from the war. If I remember correctly the defence medal wasn’t ticked on the slip, just the three other medals he received. If that is the case I’m guessing that means he never received the defence medal, but may still be entitled?
  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I suspect the answer to both of the two above is that they may well have been eligible, but the period required was long and I doubt that any service beyond Forces or possible Home Guard could now be proven. I'm not aware that there are any surviving records from Civil Defence, Fire Brigades etc.

    I'd very much doubt if any serviceman in 1945 / 46 would have worn a Defence Medal ribbon to which he wasn't entitled...and presumably if medals were applied for at the time, the appropriate checks could have been made.

    It's an odd medal really, intended to provide something for those who had not seen active service. It's almost a surprise that it was issued to those who had been awarded campaign stars. It was quite possible for someone who had served in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany not to have been awarded it, but a desk wallah based in a county house miles from anywhere would have.

    My grandfather's AB64 includes a note confirming his entitlement to wear the ribbon, but his service was entirely military and the DM entitlement related to Home Service and time with Paiforce etc.

    DSC_0247 (2).JPG
  11. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    I concur.

    Bottom line:
    1. the chaps wore the Defence Medal bar ribbon in circa 1945-46 (I have a photo of dad clearly wearing it) because they were entitled.
    2. Because of passage of time (35years or so in dad's case) before applying for his Medals, there was no categoric evidence of entitlement available so the Medal itself was not issued.
    3. Logic appears reasonable and there is no way Dad would have worn a bar ribbon to which he was not entitled.
  12. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Haven't read the whole conversation. If the main idea is to add a Defence Medal to the set, to which you know (or are convinced) your Great Grandma's Brother was entitled, from a practical point of view, the easiest thing to do would be to buy one from a dealer or through Ebay. It should cost not more than GBP10 or even less.
    If I misunderstood, please forget I sent this message.

    Kind regards, Ronald.
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  13. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    Write to the medal office it’s free

    The 39-45 star and France and germany ribbons were authorised first so if wearing a defence ribbon then should also be wearing those 2

    however if the bar is just defence and war medal then it likely belongs to some one else

    do you have photos?
  14. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    Defence medal was 3 years home service
    1 year overseas not subject to air attack
    6 months overseas if subject to air attack

    however is a campaign star is issued for a area then the defence medal is not issued

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