Request about a DSO citation (escape lines)

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by ritsonvaljos, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Can anyone please assist with the wording and gazette date for the wartime 'honorary' DSO citation for "Lt Cdr Pat O'Leary, RNVR" (real name Albert-Marie Edmond Guérisse)? Previously, I posted a request on another thread about Sgt Harold Cole ("Paul") reqesting if anyone knew the N.A. references about the "Pat O'Leary" escape line. Thus far no-one has been able to assist.

    The "Pat" escape line for Allied airmen and escaping POWs was named after "Pat O'Leary". His DSO and later honours (George Cross and honorary knighthood) would have been awarded for the escape work. Would details of the DSO citation been kept 'under wraps' during the war so as not to divulge unnecessary information to the enemy?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can assist.
     
  2. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    Deleted
     
  3. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    His 1946 George Cross citation refers to him having a DSO, so it must have been awarded during the war.

    Viewing Page 5417 of Issue 37777


    {But I am having no luck finding his name in reference to the DSO}
     
  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    His 1946 George Cross citation refers to him having a DSO, so it must have been awarded during the war.

    Viewing Page 5417 of Issue 37777


    {But I am having no luck finding his name in reference to the DSO}

    From something I read about him, it was awarded in 1942. He escaped to Gibraltar in 1942 using his own line for meetings with his boss "Langley".
     
  5. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    Mute point, but does his not being a British subject have anything to do with it? (irrespective of his RNVR commission).

    By this I mean, could his DSO have been recorded as a foreign award & thus there would not be a gazette entry, bearing in mind that the DSO falls within the scope of an Order of Chivalry & as such any award (like his KBE) would held honorary status.

    Just a premature thought


    ATB

    Simon
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I looked in my DSO book last night under both names and he's not listed. His DSO isn't online at the National Archives either.
     
  7. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    I looked in my DSO book last night under both names and he's not listed. His DSO isn't online at the National Archives either.

    Thanks for looking, Drew.

    According to the following online article about Albert Guerisse the DSO was awarded in 1942, the George Cross in 1946 and the honorary KBE (knighthood) in 1960. Possbily the DSO award was kept largely secret?

    Albert Guerisse (Pat O'Leary)

    There is a photograph at the end of this particular article taken outside Buckingham Palace after the George Cross investiture in 1946. Presumably this award and the KBE are traceable, even if the DSO award was never made public?
     
  8. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Would details of the DSO citation been kept 'under wraps' during the war so as not to divulge unnecessary information to the enemy?

    I spent ages searching for this last night, but apart from a reference to the fact that it was awarded in 1942; nothing.

    I think the same as you - quoted. It would have been difficult to publish that the award was for Lt Cdr 'Y' running an escape and evasion network in 'X' location for downed airmen and other escapees.

    As Simon suggests, because Guerisse was a foreign national maybe it wasn't gazetted. One would have thought though that there would be a file somewhere at the TNA (or elsewhere) that contained the citation.

    All the best for your search.

    Steve.
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Requests for medals not to be gazetted is not uncommon. They can be initially found written on the citation themselves and or in the case of sensitive details sections of the citation are requested to be not disclosed to the press.

    All that said, it was 70 years ago and would therefore be in the public domain now. My DSO book listing all recipients is now 6 ish years old from it when first published and a new and much more detailed publication is in print consisting of three volumes published by Naval-Military Press.

    If its not in those books it may not exist.
     
  10. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Thanks to everyone for looking. It is a bit of a puzzle.

    The "Pat O'Leary" whose name he had adopted was 'Canadian' rather than 'British', and he was really Belgian nationality. He also seems to have used the first name 'Joseph' part of the time. Possibly the DSO citation is under another alias?
     
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I would think that Pat O'Leary was awarded his DSO after he was released from Dachau in 1945.I think that his DSO citation might read "His sustained courage and devotion to duty beyond all normal praise".

    There might be further information in Vincent Broome's "The Way Back" which is based on the life of Albert Guerisse.(Pat)

    Albert Guerisse, a truely gallant man and a Begian who served the British nation well.
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Has anyone considered he may not have actually got a DSO?
     
  13. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    Has anyone considered he may not have actually got a DSO?

    From the LG:

    "CENTRAL CHANCERY OF THE ORDERS
    OF KNIGHTHOOD.
    St. James's Palace, S.W.I.
    $th November, 1946.

    The KING has been
    raciously pleased to
    approve the award of the GEORGE CROSS to:
    Lieutenant - Commander
    Patrick Albert O'LEARY, D.S.O., Royal Navy."


    Drew,

    As Dave has made mention, the post nominals are used after his name for the LG entry for the George Cross. My best guess is again,it was an award that was not gazetted for either secrecy reasons/foreign award or both, but he obviously did have it before 1946.


    ATB

    Simon
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Simon, I'm not checking the gazette, I'm checking the National Archives in London and a DSO book with all the recipients from 1924 to 2009 listed. In both of those sources there are recipients who were foreign and were working in secret organisations. As I mentioned earlier I have seen/posted citations on here from both catergory's with a hand written message not to be released to the media.

    He is listed in two of my George Cross books as receiving a DSO but one author isn't that good. He excluded a VC recipient from his WW2 book on VC's !
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  16. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    Hi Simon, I'm not checking the gazette, I'm checking the National Archives in London and a DSO book with all the recipients from 1924 to 2009 listed. In both of those sources there are recipients who were foreign and were working in secret organisations. As I mentioned earlier I have seen/posted citations on here from both catergory's with a hand written message not to be released to the media.

    He is listed in two of my George Cross books as receiving a DSO but one author isn't that good. He excluded a VC recipient from his WW2 book on VC's !


    Hi Drew,

    There may be another way of checking outside of your routine at TNA & the book.

    As the DSO is an order of Chivalry & membership carries "Companionship", there should be a totally complete list along with other Orders lists held within the Central Chancery at St James Palace.

    Maybe an FOI example perhaps?

    Just another thought


    Regards

    simon
     
  17. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    I have a 2nd edition of 'The Register of the George Cross' published in 1990 by 'This England' magazine which mentions Lt. Cmdr. Pat O'Leary / Albert Guerisse which says "Other Decorations: DSO". It is strange that the DSO citation is so difficult to trace even now.

    According to the 'Register of the George Cross' book I have also lists the following for Lt.Cmndr. O'Leary / Guerisse:

    Officier Légion d'honneur & Grand Officier Ordre Léopold (Belgium);
    Croix de Guerre (France & Poland);
    Medal of Freedom with golden palm (USA);
    Medical Officer;
    Re-joined Belgian Army after 1946 (1st Lancers);
    Chief of Medical Service in Korea, 1951 (Belgian Volunteer Bn.);
    Major-General in Belgian Army;
    Director General, Medical Services (Belgian Forces);
    Retired in 1970

    The other information and awards all seem to be in the post-war era. One might imagine the DSO awarded in 1942 (as we understand) would have inspired everyone in the escape line if, indeed, word of it was "passed down the line" (pardon the pun).

    The missing details may yet turn up ..........
     
  18. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    In his GC file and the submissions given to grant him the GC it firmly states that he has a DSO - the file is ADM1/20243 - when I spoke to the TNA medal expert at Kew today he mentioned that many of the pre-1942 Naval DSO citations were missing - there is no trace of his award in the SOE Belgian Awards file and the Pat Line file has not survived either.

    Jos I will mail you a copy of the ADM GC file as it covers much of the same ground his DSO covered.

    Steven
     

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