Qualification for Burma Star

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by christopher walton, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. My father served from November 1944 to April 1946 in Combined Operations (Flotilla Officer in Landing Craft) and was based at HMS Tengra Mandapam and HMS Amzari Visakhapatnam in Southern India. Can anyone tell me if these locations meet the geographical criteria for the Burma Star?
  2. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Royal Navy and Merchant Navy personnel qualified through service in an area restricted to the Bay of Bengal and enclosed by a line running from the southernmost point of Ceylon for a distance of 300 miles south, then to a point 300 miles west of the southernmost point of Sumatra and continuing east to the western side of the Sunda Strait, including the Strait of Malacca. The six months service requirement, or two months for air crew, for the award of the 1939-1945 Star had to be completed before service could begin to count towards qualification for the award of the Burma Star.
  3. Thank you. That's what I thought. However, when I wrote to MoD on this matter they replied as follows; "Your father's service record shows he served with Naval Party 4122 and was based at HMS Tenga (sic) in Mandapam India. However this is outside of the qualifying area of the Burma Star."

    In fact, all his service record states is that his record was held by HMS Copra from August 30 1943 to April 1946 - no appointments are listed. It is his P&V record that shows he was based at Tengra.

    I'll take it up with them again, point out that they are mistaken and tell them how to spell Tengra.
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  5. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Looking at the map,maybe they are correct. If the boundary of the bay of Bengal runs up the east coast of Ceylon then Mandapam would be in the Laccadive sea.

    However in your other thread it showed he was also at Vizagapatam which is defiantly in the Bay of Bengal. Not sure of the time limit though.

    4122 Minor LCFU 22 – Vizagapatam 01.45/ Mandapam 02.45 – 03.46/not listed 04.46

    But basically that are nitpicking.
  6. The criteria shown at www.gov.uk.....burma star doesn't give the geographical boundaries.
    He certainly meets the other criteria. Is there any where the geographical criteria for qualification for Burma Star actually appears in a written form issued by MoD?
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  8. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Unable to find any map which shows the boundaries for Burma Star.

    This is,stated on the NZDF site
    b.Causal entry into the qualifying area, e.g., service in ships proceeding from Colombo to Trincomalee in order to refit, will not be a qualification.
    So it seems as if they are very strict on criteria of who receives the BS.

    However my map shows, why I think your request was turned down as he would have been just outside the area required to receive the medal.

    dbf likes this.
  9. Thank you. Your map and comments are really helpful. I'll contact MoD again, bringing this info to their attention. I'll let you know how I get on.
    Kind regards
    dbf likes this.
  10. airlana

    airlana Member

    The above reference appears in most official documents for WW2 Campaign Stars.
    Whilst giving the southern boundaries, it doesn't define the Bay of Bengal

    For that I think the authorities may have used the International Hydrographic Organisation 1952 publication which was based on "criteria and nomenclature" issued in 1940

    So the Bay of Bengal boundary around Ceylon and South India would be the area north and east of the red line.


    Maybe they take the view (unfairly?) that HMS Tengra being shore based is technically not in the Bay of Bengal.

    The IHO document states Adam's Bridge as the northern boundary for the Laccadive Sea

    Hope this helps

    dbf likes this.
  11. Thank you very much, that's very helpful.
  12. Paul_A_Bell

    Paul_A_Bell Junior Member

    If awarded the Burma Star would that not mean automatic qualification for the Pacific Star?

    I have a close family friend (now passed on) who served on HMS Ceylon but was not awarded the Pacific Star but did receive the Burma Star

  13. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    It's complicated but Basically No as no one can be award both stars.

    HMS Ceylon was attached to the Pacific Fleet but spent most of it's time in the Indian ocean (Burma star area) and only went into the pacific briefly during 1944. Now if the time spent in the pacific qualified for the Pacific star no star would be awarded. but a clasp would be awarded which would donate that the pacific star was awarded.
    If the ship had been in the pacific first and did the required time, then moved to the Burma star area and completed the required time there they, would be awarded the Pacific Star with Burma Star Clasp.
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Paul,

    This is one of those over-complicated situations where the powers that were decided that service personnel should not receive both medals for their service in this particular theatre of WW2.

    In its simplest form, if you qualified technically for both, you received the actual medal for the area you served in first, then a clasp for the other which was worn on the ribbon of the first. Confused already I'm guessing!

    Here is some more information on the subject:

  15. Reid

    Reid History Graduate & Architectural Photographer

    Very interesting - thanks to the maps, I now understand why my grandfather was awarded his BS.

    Serving on convoys to/from Trincomalee were obviously the deciding factor; looks I'll need to do more research on that particular area as I'm pretty well lacking on that part of his service.
  16. Thank you for all your comments - it's all very interesting.
    I have written to MoD Medals Office and pointed out that my Dad's paperwork was at Vizagatapam, 700 miles north of HMS Tengra and so within the criteria for the award of the Burma Star. He was with Combined Operations and no one now knows what he was doing or where he was. They replied and said they would reconsider and let me know in 3 or 4 months.
  17. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Same rule applies to the Atlantic and FG star...
    With the ribbon-bar, it is a rosette that is attached on the relevant ribbon...
  18. MOD have at last replied and their letter states; "After qualification by 6 months service for the 1939-45 Star, service afloat from 11/12/41 up to and including 2/9/45, in that part of the bay of Bengal etc etc".
    Their view is that he doesn't get a Burma Star because "he was not afloat within the qualifying area."
    But, he served in the qualifying area
    He was a Flotilla Officer in a Landing Craft Ferry Unit, a vessel that floated
    and Navy Command have advised me that the records of men in Combined Ops only show from where they were administered rather than from where they were serving. They also advised that P&V records showed where he served but do not inform where a ship went nor what it did.

    I've not seen the words "service afloat" in the qualifying criteria before.

    Has anyone any thoughts on this - am I right to think he is entitled?
  19. Reid

    Reid History Graduate & Architectural Photographer

    When I applied for the Arctic Star, I wasn't sure if my grandfather qualified, so I included the vessels and dates of service along with my application. Unfortunately, whilst my grandfather was serving around Iceland resupplying the convoys (and mainland), the vessel in question didn't enter the actual designated area, thus he wasn't eligible.

    Perhaps looking at the vessels which your father was serving on and the convoys they were involved with, may assist with a further review, obviously no guarantees, but it may help with the "afloat" bit.

    Good luck!
  20. The thing is, although it is known that my Dad met the criteria for the award of the Burma Star having (1) served in the qualifying area during the qualifying period, (2) having been awarded the 1939-45 Star, the MOD say he doesn't qualify because he wasn't "afloat" during the qualifying period.
    Navy Command admit that they don't know what people in Combined Ops did, on what ships, where or when. It is established that he served on LCFUs which were things that floated.
    Is this denial of a medal because of defence cuts?
    Any assistance gratefully received. I'd really like this medal so I can give it to his great grandson.
    Christopher Walton

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