"Mentioned in Despatches"

Discussion in 'General' started by Mark Gibson, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. Mark Gibson

    Mark Gibson Junior Member

    I have a relative who served with Montgomery in North Africa and was "mentioned in despatches". Relatives remember a document signed by Monty praising this soldier for his effort but no-one can locate it. Is there a record of the "despatches" kept anywhere, and is it possible to get copies? For instance, would a copy be kept in his war service file kept with the MOD?
    Any help to ensure that this brave soldiers deeds are not lost forever would be much appreciated.
    Thanks
    Mark
     
  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hi Mark
    Could you give us their name? Someone should be able to help you.

    Lesley
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Mark - not many survive, I think there are around 2,000 still available online from the National Archives for £3.50.

    Tell me his full name and unit and I'll check for you.
     
  4. AMWright

    AMWright Member

    What action generally resulted in a mention in despatches? I managed to find my grandfathers name listed in the London Gazette for his whilst in NW Europe 1945, but there is no mention as to what it was for. Is that usually the case?

    Ash
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    What action generally resulted in a mention in despatches? I managed to find my grandfathers name listed in the London Gazette for his whilst in NW Europe 1945, but there is no mention as to what it was for. Is that usually the case?

    Ash


    Some info here:

    Mentioned in Despatches - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  6. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    Ash,

    The wiki entry is rather simplistic & not all together correct.

    Originally the MID was as stated, a mention of an individuals name in the field reports by the field commander. this, at least goes back as far as Wellingtons Despatches for the Peninsular War (but could be earlier, I have not checked) and was of course published in the london gazette for the purposes of informing the government & the public of the conduct of the campaign in question. 1 of the usual term used was " I wish to bring to your attention the names of the following officers who rendered invaluable service etc".

    The practice of publishing the names of those to receive an MID in the LG continued.
    Not until WW1 was there tangible recognition for the MID in the form of a bronze oak leaf to be affixed to a prescribed campaign medal.

    In WW2 it was affixed to the 1939-45 war medal.
    As this medal was not promulgated until 1948, it was not uncommon to see the oak leaf affixed to the recipients jacket directly behind the last medal on the row either without material backing or with it in the colour of the jacket being worn. Certificates were also issued.

    The MID was also awarded in recognition where other awards for either distinguished service or gallantry could not be awarded.

    The most common reason was that the recipient was deceased.

    It must be remembered that the only gallantry award that could be made posthumously was the Victoria Cross.

    The individual recommended for 2nd & 3rd class gallantry awards must have lived long enough for the award to have been approved & gazetted, if he did not, then usually, an MID was granted instead.

    This also applied to non gallantry awards for distinguished service such as the DSO & grades within the Order of the British Empire the most common form of recognition for non gallantry). As the DSO is actually an order (as is an MBE,OBE Ect) membership of an Order may not be made postumously.

    A case in point is my own cousin Major Norman Brayford Scott, was recommended for an MBE for work with the BEF (see attached recomendation). As he was KIA before it was promulgated, he could not have received it posthumously & you can see it was struck out & MID inserted in its place.

    Another example is that to Lieut Cdr Wilkinson - of the Li Wo who have been killed in action was originally gazetted with an MIS, however, as the full story of his bravery came out, this was stuck out and replaced with the Victoria Cross.

    An MID also served another purpose in conection with the camapign stars of WW2. If you had not qualified for the 1939-45 star through ther 6 month rule, the award of an MID automatically qualified you for that star or any theatre star where you did not satisfy the time requirement in any particvular theatre of operations.

    So, all in all, it had a number of purposes & is the oldest from of recognition outside gallantry awards before their instigation.

    Interestingly, the case of the Li-Wo is rather unique as all survivors either received gallantry awards or an MID. There was however 1 survivor who had not previously been known from any POW records to have been aboard the vessel, but was confirmed by the Admiralty in the mid 1980's to have been aboard during the action.

    As the cut off for WW2 awards was made in 1948, he was therefore, not elidgible to receive a retrospective MID.
    However, this certification was forwarded to him
    "This is to certify
    that
    LEADING SEAMAN THOMAS HENRY PARSONS D/JX 143539
    On the 14th February 1942
    took part in the action when his Majesty's Patrol Ship
    LI-WO whilst on patrol duty off Singapore, gallantly
    engaged the superior forces of the enemy, inflicting
    significant damage on a convoy of troopships before being
    sunk by a Japanese cruiser. The heroism and self sacrifice
    of the many who died and the few who survived were in the
    highest traditions of the Royal Navy.

    George Younger
    20th February 1986 SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DEFENCE"

    I hope this have given you a more rounded view of the award.

    ATB

    Simon
     

    Attached Files:

  7. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Simon, a good explanation; you should edit the Wikipedia entry. The Wikipedia is constantly revised - that is its strength.

    On a minor pointNot until WW1 was there tangible recognition for the MID in the form of a bronze oak leaf to be affixed to a prescribed campaign medal.
    Initially the Emblem was a branch of oak leaves. In 1920, the Emblem was changed from a branch of oak leaves (WW1) to a single oak leaf and this was used in WW2 for all arms including the Merchant Navy, for a Mention in Despatches, a King's Commendation for brave conduct, or a King's Commendation for service in the air.

    I should add that the Emblem of bronze oak leaves of WW1, 1914-19, was worn on the Victory Medal. The award of this Emblem ceased on 10 August 1920.

    Peter
     
  8. AMWright

    AMWright Member

    Thank you Simon for your outstanding explanation, hopefully Mark can benefit from it too. I have to agree with Peter and encourage you to edit the Wiki article!

    I have attached an image from my grandfathers service record which shows the entry for his MID. He received it in August 1945 whilst serving with the 107 Medium Regiment RA in NWE. Is it possible he received it so as to qualify for his France & Germany star? He arrived in NWE on 20th Dec 44 so if you only qualified for the medal up to the German surrender in May 45 I guess that might make sense?

    Ash
     

    Attached Files:

    • MID.JPG
      MID.JPG
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  9. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Totally agree with someone (who ?) updating the Wiki entry - it would really improve the entry.

    My father's MiD was dated and found in the London Gazette during July 1945. We have his detailed movements from his memoirs/army records, and they cross reference with the regimental/brigade/divisional histories but we have never been able to track down for what specific element of his service did he gain the recognition of a MiD - apart from the fact it was in Italy.

    He was there (including 2 months in Sicily) from Jul 1943 to May 1945 (apart from a nice holiday/hospital rest in Cairo from Jul 1944 to Dec 1944), so we have guessed that his MiD could have come from any of the Centuripe, Salso/Simeto river, Maletto, Termoli, Trigno, Sangro, Montenero (Apennines), Mt Castellone, Liri Valley, Tiber valley, Trasimeno, or Argenta Gap (in) action periods. In fact I don't really need to know more than that.

    best
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thank you Simon for your outstanding explanation, hopefully Mark can benefit from it too. I have to agree with Peter and encourage you to edit the Wiki article!

    I have attached an image from my grandfathers service record which shows the entry for his MID. He received it in August 1945 whilst serving with the 107 Medium Regiment RA in NWE. Is it possible he received it so as to qualify for his France & Germany star? He arrived in NWE on 20th Dec 44 so if you only qualified for the medal up to the German surrender in May 45 I guess that might make sense?

    Ash

    If you can check the regiments diaries-some have the original citations in them and failing that there should/could be some clues as to why he got a MiD.

    WO 171/1067 107 Med Regt RA 1944 Mar.- Dec.

    WO 171/5038 107 Med Regt RA 1945 Jan.- Mar.

    WO 171/5039 107 Med Regt RA 1945 Apr.- Dec.

    The last two took me ove an hour to find, they won't show up on any Search Engine as they are incorrectly named so I had to look through my Excel Sheet downloads.
     
  11. AMWright

    AMWright Member

    If you can check the regiments diaries-some have the original citations in them and failing that there should/could be some clues as to why he got a MiD.

    WO 171/1067 107 Med Regt RA 1944 Mar.- Dec.

    WO 171/5038 107 Med Regt RA 1945 Jan.- Mar.

    WO 171/5039 107 Med Regt RA 1945 Apr.- Dec.

    The last two took me ove an hour to find, they won't show up on any Search Engine as they are incorrectly named so I had to look through my Excel Sheet downloads.

    Thank you very much! I have been planning on heading down to Kew to go through the diaries for his regiments myself, always wanted an excuse to visit so will make a date ASAP.
     
  12. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    Simon, a good explanation; you should edit the Wikipedia entry. The Wikipedia is constantly revised - that is its strength.

    On a minor pointInitially the Emblem was a branch of oak leaves. In 1920, the Emblem was changed from a branch of oak leaves (WW1) to a single oak leaf and this was used in WW2 for all arms including the Merchant Navy, for a Mention in Despatches, a King's Commendation for brave conduct, or a King's Commendation for service in the air.

    I should add that the Emblem of bronze oak leaves of WW1, 1914-19, was worn on the Victory Medal. The award of this Emblem ceased on 10 August 1920.

    Peter

    Thanks Peter,

    Yes I should have really drawn that distingshion re oak leaves.

    With regards to K/QCVSA, I am not sure if or when it changed, but it is now silver & not bronze (if it ever was bronze).

    A good school chum of my fathers has 1 which in accordance with Aust protocol wears immediatley after his AFC on a black ribbon. Interestiingly he received last year (along with about 6 others) the US Air Force Medal for Korea & a cluster for Vietnam. It's a quirky story as to why 60 years passed but will leave that for another time.


    ATB

    simon
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thank you very much! I have been planning on heading down to Kew to go through the diaries for his regiments myself, always wanted an excuse to visit so will make a date ASAP.

    No problem-if you decide not to go and still want copies just click the red link below.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  14. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    I should have mentioned that the Emblem is in silver (always was) for the King's or Queen's commendation for brave conduct granted to civilians. For civilian brave conduct during WW2 it is worn on the Defence Medal. Where the Defence Medal has not been granted it is worn directly on the coat, after any medal ribbons. The Badge for the King's or Queen's commendation for valuable service in the air, 1939-1945 and subsequently, is also in silver. In this case it is worn immediately below any Medals or Medal ribbons, or on a civil air line uniform, it is worn on the panel of the left breast pocket.

    Above, I forgot to mention that the bronze Emblem of WW1 is set at and angle of 45° on the ribbon.
     
  15. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    I should have mentioned that the Emblem is in silver (always was) for the King's or Queen's commendation for brave conduct granted to civilians. For civilian brave conduct during WW2 it is worn on the Defence Medal. Where the Defence Medal has not been granted it is worn directly on the coat, after any medal ribbons. The Badge for the King's or Queen's commendation for valuable service in the air, 1939-1945 and subsequently, is also in silver. In this case it is worn immediately below any Medals or Medal ribbons, or on a civil air line uniform, it is worn on the panel of the left breast pocket.

    Above, I forgot to mention that the bronze Emblem of WW1 is set at and angle of 45° on the ribbon.

    I believe that for civilians, the king in 1943 approved this badge for wear in place of the oak leaf.

    but for the life of me, I fail to understand why it was manufactured in plastic!!!


    ATB

    Simon
     

    Attached Files:

  16. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    Simon, your explanation is clear and enlightening. If I may, I will add my mother's comments - she was a WAAF. She said that as a radar operator there was debate as to whether they were 'in the face of the enemy' in their normal role. Where 'After Action Reports' led to recommendations of awards to the units involved, the radar units were included. She said that the opinion of the 'girls' themselves was that they had not faced the dangers and stress the pilots and ground crews had so were reluctant to agree to be recommended for anything other than an MiD. Even then they were a bit bolshy about accepting individual rather that group awards.

    In my mum's case, as an NCO, she stood her team down due to appalling radar conditions one night, however, due to her own experience, she ended up guiding a fighter to shoot down a lone raider. Offered an MiD for outstanding dedication she accepted a team party at the pub instead. Years later she randomly said to me one day "I would have liked that oak leaf, it would have looked good with this jacket", that started the conversation.

    Keith
     
  17. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    I believe that for civilians, the king in 1943 approved this badge for wear in place of the oak leaf.

    but for the life of me, I fail to understand why it was manufactured in plastic!!!


    ATB

    Simon
    This was a temporary measure during hostilities; subsequently, the plastic badge was replaced by a spray of oak leaves in silver worn on the Defence Medal or in its absence directly on the coat to the right of any other medals.
     
  18. Mark Gibson

    Mark Gibson Junior Member

    Thanks for all that info. His name was Albert Victor Johnson (dob 1/7/1915) and I beleive he was in the Seaforth Highlanders.
    Thanks
     
  19. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    For those of you interested in medal ribbons and emblems I have expanded my entries for the MID in WW1 and WW2 on my website British Gallantry, Orders, and Campaign ribbons.

    After a Google I found that several MID sites, whilst good, differed in minor detail, generally with minor omissions or confusion over the spray of oak leaves and single oak leaf emblems. Whilst I've not been able to find a copy of Army Order 3/20 on line, I think I've culled the gist of it. Given the chronological nature and order of precedence on my site, the full information is perforce split between my WW1 and WW2 entries.
     
  20. Mark Gibson

    Mark Gibson Junior Member

    Thanks for all that info. His name was Albert Victor Johnson (dob 1/7/1915) and I beleive he was in the Seaforth Highlanders.
    Thanks
     

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