Posthumous Gallantry Awards

Discussion in 'General' started by timuk, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Many threads refer to the fact (unfairly in my opinion) that only the VC and a MiD could be awarded posthumously for action against the enemy during WW2. I note now that all Gallantry Awards, DSC, MC, DFC etc (except DSO) may be awarded posthumously.
    When did the rules change?

  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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  3. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    I think the Falklands was the first occasion where Posthumous awards, other than the VC and MiD, were made
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  5. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    In a video I watched the other day they stated that when it was originally created it was the 'official policy' that the VC could not be awarded posthumously. A subsequent change in policy occurred around the time of the Second Boer War, although I forget the exact details.
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  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone.

  7. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Ever one to be sidetracked by this Forum. Whilst looking through the NA index I came across the following:
    ADM 1/29976
    Award of DSM (one Posthumous) to 2 ratings for 'Human Torpedo' raid on La Spezia which sank Italian cruiser Bolzano June 21/22 1944.
    ADM 1/30040
    Chief Yeoman of Signals K H Baker, HMS Middleton.
    Original award of MiD cancelled due to rating incorrectly killed (sic!). Award of DSM in lieu.

    In the first case it would be interesting to know whether the posthumous award was actually made or whether it was reduced to MiD.
    In the second case I rather think the title should have been 'incorrectly listed as killed'.
    Both put on my 'to look at list' unless someone has the files or knows more.

  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    WW II Awards for RN Bomb and Mine Disposal
    CAUSER Malcolm Richard
    Ord Seaman Sub Lt RNVR
    FV Arthur
    HMS Fabius (Taranto)
    Not Gazetted
    28 Nov 44
    Chariot Diver - Participated in first Chariot attempt to sink the Tirpitz 50 miles up Trondheim Fjord in Oct 1942. During rough weather, both chariots were lost from beneath their fishing boat 'Arthur' which subsequently sank. All personnel attempted to make their escape across Sweden.
    DSO awarded for great gallantry. Teamed with Smith as the crew of a 'Human Torpedo' which penetrated the heavily defended harbour of La Spezia on the night of 21 Jun 44 and sank the Italian Cruiser Bolzano. Captured while trying to escape across the River Arno.

    “Italian Cruiser R.M. Bolzano”

    Lt Causer and Seaman Harry Smith managed to sink the 10,000 ton Italian Cruiser “Bolzano,” but had to abandon their craft, and they then scrambled ashore having been at sea for over 7 hours. The two British sailors joined up with Italian guerillas, with whom they fought for 6 weeks, finally being captured by a German patrol.
    It was suspected that they both were responsible for the sinking of the “Bolzano,” however they both denied any involvement in that affair, maintaining they were survivors from a large British Submarine. Smith was sent to prison camps in Germany, at first to Bremen, and then to Lubeck, where he was kept in solitary confinement, whilst the Germans tried to break him down to admit that he was involved in the sinking of the “Bolzano”, but he managed to stick to his claim that he survived the sinking of a large British Submarine. Smith survived the war, to be finally rescued by the invading British troops.

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  9. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Operation QWZ.
    From The Operations – The Underwater Heritage Trust
    Operation “QWZ”
    In June 1944 a combined Italian and British force attacked La Spezia harbour
    Operators Berey, Causer, Lawrence, H.Smith.

    From Australian Submarines by Michael White
    Two Chariots involved. One started leaking and had to be scuttled.

    London Gazette:

    All four appear to have survived the war. In 'Australian Submarines' it mentions that in escaping three were captured and one was wounded. Perhaps it was initially thought either Berey or Lawrence had been killed leading to my original enquiry on the posthumous award file. One day I'll get the file.

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  10. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    And further questions. Another thread refers to Captain Ronald G Wilkin ( Captain RG Wilkin DSO, 1st Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers.) being awarded the DSO. The gallant and distinguished service by Captain Wilkin took place on 4 December 43 during which Captain Wilkin was mortally wounded eventually dying of his wounds on 17 January 44. His DSO was gazetted on 4 May 44 and states "to be dated 3 December 43".
    Two interesting questions. If wounded in the action for which the award is made how long do you have to survive for it not to be relegated to the posthumous category? Secondly in this case, why was the award backdated to before the action in the citation recommendation took place?

  11. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    I have no specific answer to your precise questions but note that Ronald Wilkin's DSO citation notes his death as 18th Jan '44, the day it was passed from Brigade to Division...perhaps the date change to 3rd Dec was a semantic attempt to separate the date on which the DSO action is cited from the date of the action that caused his death... in case someone asked as it went up the chain..a pure guess.

    The Faughs' war diary for 4th Dec reiterates the date so there is no ambiguity on the date of his wounding:

    1800 B & C Coys launched final attack with tanks & captured high ground overlooking R. Moro. A Coy moved forward & consolidated with B & C Coys. During whole of the day the line of supply & evacuation was under fire from snipers, who were ultimately disposed of. Captain RE Wilkin wounded in the chest leading a mule train of ammo & supplies. Battalion received these mules during darkness – at no time during this action did the Battalion go long without food. Casualties for day’s fighting 1 & 5 KIA, 2 & 29 wounded.

    Perhaps the answer is that everything depended on a benevolent attitude within the command structure. In another case - no doubt one of many- my Dad's mate Jim Murtagh was seriously wounded on 12th Aug '43 in Sicily and evacuated to Libya but died on route - he is buried at Tripoli and his death is noted as 15th Aug '43 the day his MM citation was received by Brigade. The LG entry confirming the MM was dated 18th November '43. A coda to this was that when I looked, the MM for Rfn Murtagh hadn't been noted at all by the CWGC and last year, when prompted, they agreed to update their database - we await the adding of the "MM" to his grave stone.

    Sorry for the rambling note.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I have a similar example to Richard's. Bernard Fergusson was able to persuade the powers that be to allow a posthumous MC to be awarded to Lt. Duncan Campbell Menzies for his services and efforts on Operation Longlcoth. The family eventually received the medal in April 1946:

    Duncan Campbell Menzies
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  13. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    Sgt Willets 3rd Bn.Parachute Regiment posthumously awarded the George Cross in NI. May 1971

    Sgt David Garside .10th Bn Parachute Regiment was the first serviceman to be awarded a posthumous George Medal in July 1979
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  14. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Interesting and nice to see that the rules were not bureaucratically rigid in application.
    Entry in LG for Lt Menzies does not say this was a posthumous award. Reading the citation I wonder if it has been carefully worded so that it refers to actions prior to the one in which he was mortally wounded and whether the fact that the citation ends with "He has since been killed in action." is significant. I rather suspect Major Fergusson was being rather clever.
    Redtop - George Cross could always be awarded posthumously.

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  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I think you are spot on here Tim.

    Lt. Menzies WW2 service was littered with incidents for which he could have been awarded a gallantry medal. Fergusson was pretty determined that Menzies received the recognition he thought his actions had deserved. As you say, clever use of wording and perhaps a quiet word in the necessary ears.
  16. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    Not WW2 or posthumous but worth a read.
    She stands precisely 5ft tall in her everyday shoes and her smile is disarmingly sweet.
    Kate Nesbitt doesn't immediately fit the image of a fearless military hero, not off the battlefield at least.
    But there are probably few people a critically injured soldier would rather meet in the chaos of a desert gunfight than this 21-yearold blonde in full flight.
    Bravery: Kate Nesbitt receives the Military Cross from the Prince of Wales during investitures at Buckingham Palace in London. And the sight of her sprinting through an Afghan war zone under heavy machine gun fire is almost certainly one that Lance Corporal John List will remember for the rest of a life he now owes to her astonishing display of courage

    Kate, a medical assistant serving as an Able Seaman with the Royal Navy, raced 70 yards to the stricken soldier's side as he nearly choked to death from a gunshot wound to the mouth. She cut open a temporary airway and treated him for 45 minutes as rockets whizzed overhead and bullets thudded into the ground nearby.
    Yesterday her 'inspirational' bravery was rewarded at Buckingham Palace when she became the Navy's first woman to be invested with the Military Cross. Then, with a few modest words, she underlined the remarkable spirit of loyalty that bonds Britain's servicemen and women on the front line. 'I promised my friends and comrades I'd be their medic,' she said. 'I promised I'd be there if they ever needed me. They needed me that day - so when the call came, that's just what I did.'

    Kate, from Whitleigh, Plymouth, stepped into the history books as only the second woman to be awarded the MC, one of Britain's highest gallantry awards, as well as becoming the only MC Wren. Presenting her award, the Prince of Wales bowed to what he called her 'extraordinary' heroism.
    Her citation read: 'Under fire and under pressure her commitment and courage were inspirational and made the difference between life and death
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