The Kings Medal for Courage and the Kings Medal for Service

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by Jedburgh22, May 31, 2011.

  1. Robincov

    Robincov Junior Member

    I also spent a lot of time at the National Archives without much success. You can find details of awards made to Military personnel but not to civilians who aided evaders etc.
    Finally I had success when I made an FOI request to the Cabinet Office who hold the lists of recipients by country. I was able to obtain copies of these lists for the countries that I was interested in (Netherlands and Belgium) but they have consistently refused (under Section 23) to provide details of the citations. I have appealed this decision to the Information Commissioner but sadly it is a blanket ban and no matter how rediculous it may appear they will not budge.

    John
    Its absolutely appalling - if not worse!

    We have a basic right to any information about our own family.

    However beauracracy multiplied by FOI exemptions has created an inpenetrable barrier which petty minded officials hide behind, time and time again.

    Our families fought and died in the name of freedom - and these self righteous officials seem to think that they know better, and actually deny us those very freedoms - otherwise they would willingly volunteer us the information that we are entitled to!
     
  2. Robincov

    Robincov Junior Member

    I would have thought these were gazetted?
    Thank you for the suggestion - I have now looked there, but not found anything unfortunately.
     
  3. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Please can I ask if anyone knows if it is now possible to find the relevant document reference in the National Archives for particular individuals recommended for the 'King's Medal for courage in the cause of Freedom'?

    Alternatively, is there a list of recipients by nationality, which may provide a lead to the information by a another route?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who may have the answer.
     
  4. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Hi some of the Citations appear in the SOE Honours and Awards Files in HS6 and HS8 - others may appear in files I have not come across yet.
     
  5. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    However, the civilians I am specifically interested in regarding this award were not connected to the SOE (so far as I am aware). Looking at the National Archives index HS 6 and HS 8 relate specifically to the SOE.

    The ones I am attempting to research were involved in 'Escape & Evasion' (i.e. assisting Allied soldiers and airmen). Presumably these have been given a separate catalogue reference?

    The nearest I can see that might fit is N.A. Ref. T 421 / 7, which has the following description:

    "Recommendations for the King's Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom: France. Missing at transfer"

    Anybody know if this indicates the relevant files are currently 'missing'?
     
  6. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    I can confirm that both the French and Belgian files were missing at transfer. I also spent some time with a Belgian friend attempting to obtain the Belgian KMC award file a couple of years ago but we were advised that it had been "misplaced".

    However, there are a number of recommendations to civilians contained in the Files WO 208/5451 to 5460. Unfortunately these are filed by MI9 reference number not by country or by individual. There is a card index to these files in the filing cabinet behind the security desk as you enter the readers room at the National Archives which gives the file and reference number.

    If you give me the name of the person(s) that you are interested in I will have a look at the French IS9 Helpers list, which is contained in WO 208/5465 to 5474. This would quickly provide some confirmation that they received an award and the level of that award.

    As many helpers also received the American Medal of Freedom there are further "Helpers" files to be found at NARA in the USA. I have found that these records often contain information about helpers that received the lower level awards.

    Another good source of the awards lists, but sadly very few recommendations, are in the FO files. Before any British award could be given to a foreign national that country's permission needed to be obtained so some correspondence will exist. The Medals were sent to the British Embassy in that country for distribution so there are also reports confirming the presentation of these awards and the dates.

    John
     
  7. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Thanks for your kind offer. John.

    If possible, would you be able to check those listed below to see firstly, if they received a citation and secondly, if the medal was ever awarded?

    I believe at least some of the following members of the French Resistance (M.I.9 Escape & Evasion networks) may have received a citation for the "King's Medal":

    ( a ) Georges FRANCE network (Lanvollon, Brittany)

    (i) André Edouard MARCHAIS (1891 - 1942)
    Village postmaster

    (ii) Monique MARCHAIS (b. 1922)
    [daughter of the above M. MARCHAIS]
    .......................

    ( b ) 'PAT' network (Lille area, Nord)

    (i) Étienne BERNARD
    [former WW1 soldier]

    (ii) Martine BERNARD
    [Red Cross nurse & daughter of the above M. BERNARD]

    (iii) Maud BAUDOT DE ROUVILLE
    [Red Cross nurse & English teacher]
    ------------------------------

    Thanks once again for your offer of assistance, John.
     
  8. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    I attach the relevant page for Andre Marchais - as you will see he was deported and shot. As such he would not have been awarded the Kings Medal for Courage as this could not be awarded posthumously. The award at Level 5 to Mlle Marchais is unlikely to be the Kings Medal for Courage.

    I am unable to find any reference to an Etiienne Bernard. You will see that the reference to Martine shows "USA Only". As I said previously if she has a file it will be at NARA in the USA

    Only Muad Baudot de Rouville has returned a positive result - you will see that she was recommended for the King's Medal for Service but this was upgraded to the Kings Medal for Courage.

    I'm at the Archives again on Wednesday and will try to look up the reference for this award

    John
     

    Attached Files:

    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  9. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Thanks for the additional information, horsapassenger.

    I presume the relevant page about the MARCHAIS family is on the page after the one posted above? The French Government awarded M. Marchais the Croix de Guerre and Resistance Medal.

    According to the French information he was executed by decapitation rather than being shot. If so, this is an even more horrific form of brutality of a courageous man.
     
  10. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Jos

    Apologies - now attached (one of the pitfalls of the new site is that you can't preview the attachments)

    John
     

    Attached Files:

    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  11. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Thanks again. It just goes to show how useful this forum is in the exchange of information.

    It is at least comforting to see that Mme. Marchais was granted a pension for having lost her husband for helping Allied servicemen escape.
     
  12. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Jos

    The award of the pension was also a complicated matter. They took into account the person's role within the resistance group, was he the equivalent to an officer or an ordinary soldier? They also considered the widow's age and the possibility of her remarrying.

    John


    "In the end it was decided to make a payment on similar lines to that which a widow of a soldier or junior officer in the British Army might be expected to receive. In common with the rules that existed in that service there was an assumption that a widow below a certain age could be expected to remarry within 5 years.

    The level of award finally arrived at were as follows:
    (1)To the widow(under 35) or destitute dependant of a helper equivalent to an “other rank” – an amount approximating to the total pension for 5 years of a Class V soldier’s widow – say £250
    (2)To the widow (under 35) or destitute dependant of a helper of the “officer class” – an amount approximating to the total pension for 5 years of a 2nd Lieutenant’s widow – say £600
    (3)In exceptional cases e.g. for a widow over 35 or for a totally incapacitated and destitute helper, more generous treatment is proposed as follows –
    (i)Of the “other rank” class – say £500
    (ii)Of the “Officer “ class – say £1,200"


    Letter from Brigadier Norman R Crockatt November 1944
     
  13. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Jos

    Attacched is the recommendation for Mlle Baudot de Rouville (WO 208/5456 Report 4086). Sadly nothing for Mlle Monique Marchais

    John
     

    Attached Files:

    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  14. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Yet again, thanks very much for the information, John. It is very helpful and you have done some excellent research.

    principally, my research interest is because Mlle. Baudot de Rouville and Mlle Monique Marchais came over to stay in my home area (separately) for a time after WW2. They stayed with families of some of those they had helped during the war.
     
  15. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Jos

    Glad to have been of some assistance. I would certainly recommend sending a request to NARA to see what information they hold as it is certain to be in multiple pages rather than the single sheets at the National Archives.

    John
     
  16. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Will do.

    in case anyone else may also want to check along these lines for their own personal research, the following is a link to the American NARA website for former service personnel:
    http://www.archives.gov/veterans/
     
  17. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Jos

    For "Helpers Files" I normally send an enquiry on their Order Form (http://www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html#part-b) asking if they hold information on the individual quoting the reference for the Helpers files - see the attached images. Assuming that there is a record for that person they normally respond within a few days providing a copy of a partially completed order form giving details of costs(including postage). If there's no record they respond accordingly

    John
     

    Attached Files:

  18. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Thanks for the additional information. I would have thought there were records made as I know there were American pilots who were helped by these escape lines.
     
  19. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Jos

    Yes but their Escape and Evasion reports can be found by searching Arc using the search term "escape and evasion" followed by their surname.

    John
     

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