A VWF Guide to Gallantry Medals of the Victorian era

For all discussions relating to military uniforms, insignia, equipment and medals of the Victorian period.

A VWF Guide to Gallantry Medals of the Victorian era

Postby Unknownsoldier » 09 Aug 2008 19:11

Just thought that whilst continuing to update my other medal section I'd wack in some bits about gallantry awards of the Victorian period and possibly give a few examples.

Any members feel I've got anything wrong or that I'm missing something (I know one or two know a lot more than me on certain gongs).... just PM and I'll correct it :-)

Tom
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Victoria Cross - What else could we start with.............

Postby Unknownsoldier » 09 Aug 2008 19:20

Victoria Cross:

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The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and civilians under military command, and is presented to the recipient by the British monarch during an investiture held at Buckingham Palace. It is the joint highest award for bravery in the United Kingdom with the George Cross, which is the equivalent honour for valour not in the face of the enemy. However, the VC is higher in order of precedence and would be worn first by an individual who had been awarded both decorations (which has not so far occurred).

The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then the medal has been awarded 1,356 times to 1,353 individual recipients. Only 13 medals, nine to the British Army and four to the Australian Army have been awarded since the start of the Korean War. The traditional explanation of the source of the gunmetal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the siege of Sevastopol.

The following is taken from: http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/aahistor.htm A most useful and interesting site, for further info, have a poke round this site, it is sure to answer most of your questions.

"The Victoria Cross was born in the carnage of the Crimean War, even though hostilities had ceased a good twelve months before the first award was made. The Crimean Campaign was the first war to be covered by regular correspondents, especially by reporters as perceptive and critical as William Howard Russell of The Times. Under his scrutiny the errors of officers, their prejudices and rigid attitudes, did not go unnoticed. He reported the disgraceful shortages of proper clothing and equipment, the ravages of cholera and typhoid fever, which caused the deaths of 20,000 men against the 3,400 killed in battle during the war. He also reported for the first time the courage and endurance of the ordinary British soldier. When the infantry stormed the heights above the Alma River, when the 93rd formed the 'thin red line' at Balaklava, when the Heavy Brigade charged the Russian cavalry and the Light Brigade the guns, Russell watched and reported what he saw to the British public.

At the time, the most esteemed award for military prowess in the British Army was the Order of the Bath, but the Bath was awarded only to senior officers. Junior officers and even NCOs might win promotion in the field - or 'brevet rank', as this kind of promotion was called. It was also possible to win distinction by being mentioned in the general's despatches, but at the outset of the war most of these honours were given to staff officers immediately under the general's eye and very rarely to the officers actually engaged in front-line action. The common soldier might expect a campaign medal, but this would be issued to every man who took part in the war, whether he had fought bravely or not. To remedy this situation the Distinguished Conduct Medal was instituted for NCOs and privates in 1854. This medal carried a pension and was highly valued but there was a growing awareness of the need for a decoration which would be open to all, regardless of rank and which would more fairly reflect the individual gallantry of men in the front line.

The British sense of fair play and a genuine admiration for gallant behaviour certainly played a part in the decision to institute a new award, but there may also have been an element of cynicism. Medals are a potent incentive to courage in battle, but they are also cheap. The French, our allies in the Crimea, already had the Legion d'Honneur (first instituted by Napoleon in 1803) and the Medaille Militaire. The Russians and the Austrians also had awards for gallantry regardless of rank, and it was high time that the British followed suit. In December 1854 an ex-naval officer turned Liberal MP, Captain Thomas Scobell, put a motion before the House of Commons that an 'Order of Merit' should be awarded to 'persons serving in the army or navy for distinguished and prominent personal gallantry.... and to which every grade and individual from the highest to the lowest.... may be admissable'.

The same idea had also occurred to the Secretary of State for War, the Duke of Newcastle. In January 1855 he wrote to Prince Albert (Queen Victoria's husband), reminding him of an earlier conversation. The Duke suggested 'a new decoration open to all ranks'. 'It does not seem to me right of politic,' he wrote, 'that such deeds of heroism as the war has produced should go unrewarded by any distinctive mark of honour because they are done by privates or officers below the rank of major.... The value attached by soldiers to a little bit of ribbon is such as to render any danger insignificant and any privation light if it can be attained.' On 29 January the Duke followed up his letter by announcing the new award in a speech in the House of Lords. At about the same time an official memorandum on the subject was circulated within the War Office setting out the details of a cross to be awarded for 'a signal act of valour in the presence of the enemy'.

Events might have progressed quite quickly if Newcastle had not lost his job within a few days of this speech. But interest had been aroused. Lord Panmure, the new Secretary of State for War, corresponded with Prince Albert on the subject and the Queen herself was actively involved in the proposals. In a letter to Panmure Albert made pencil alterations to the draft warrant, which arose from his discussions with the Queen. It had already been decided that the award should carry her name, but the Civil Service's proposal was clumsy and long-winded: 'the Military Order of Victoria', Albert put his pencil through this and suggested 'the Victoria Cross'. Throughout the document, wherever the word 'Order' with its overtones of aristrocratic fraternity occurred, Albert applied his pencil. 'Treat it as a cross granted for distinguished service,' he noted, 'which will make it simple and intelligible.'

Queen Victoria took a great interest in her new award, especially in the design of the Cross. When the first drawings were submitted to her, she selected one closely modelled on an existing campaign medal, the Army Gold Cross from the Peninsular War. The Queen suggesting only that it should be 'a little smaller'. She also made a significant alteration to the motto, striking out 'for the brave' and substituting 'for valour', in case anyone should come to the conclusion that the only brave men in a battle were those who won the cross. Lord Panmure took the commission for the new medal to a firm of jewellers, Hancock's of Bruton Street, who had a high reputation for silver work. From the beginning, however, it had been decided that the new decoration would be made of base metal and the first proof which the Queen received was not at all to her taste. 'The Cross looks very well in form, but the metal is ugly; it is copper and not bronze and will look very heavy on a red coat'.

Inspired perhaps by the Queen's remarks, someone had the happy thought that it would be fitting to take the bronze for the new medals from Russian guns captured in the Crimea. Accordingly, an engineer went off to Woolwich Barracks, where two 18-pounders were placed at his disposal. Despite the fact that these guns were clearly of antique design and inscribed with very un-Russian characters, nobody pointed out until many years had passed that the 'VC guns' were in fact Chinese, not Russian, and may or may not have been anywhere near the Crimea.
The Chinese gunmetal proved so hard that the dies which Hancock's used began to crack up, so it was decided to cast the medals instead, a lucky chance which resulted in higher relief and more depth in the moulding than would have been possible with a die-stamped medal.

By the spring of 1856 the Order was in hand, but there followed months of dilly-dallying on the part of Panmure and the various departments concerned, while they sorted out who would be eligible for the new award. Boards of adjudication were set up by the Admiralty and the army, but they took a long time making up their minds. Some commanding officers seized upon the opportunity to bring distinction to their regiments by putting dozens of names forward to the selection boards. Others ignored the whole thing. So while the 77th Regiment put forward no fewer than thirty-eight candidates, six regiments offered none at all. Lord Panmure declared that awards should be limited to the present hostilities, the Crimean Campaign. A rather parsimonious pension of £10 a year to each recipient was finally agreed upon, and the slow process of adjudication ground on for a full twelve months.

The Queen made it plain to Lord Panmure that she herself wished to bestow her new award on as many of the recipients as possible. The 26 June 1857 was chosen by the Queen as a suitable day, and that a grand parade should be laid on in Hyde Park and that she would 'herself' attend on horseback.
Preparations for the great day were made in something of a hurry. The final list of recipients was not published in the London Gazette until 22 June, and Hancock's had to work around the clock to engrave the names of the recipients on the Crosses. Those destined to receive the award had somehow to be found and rushed up to London, together with detachments of the units in which they had served. But because of the earlier delays some of the candidates for the Cross had left the services and were therefore not in uniform when they arrived for the ceremony. Nevertheless, the Queen herself was well satisfied with the arrangements.

Queen Victoria caused some consternation by electing to stay on horseback throught the ceremony of awarding the sixty-two recipients with the Cross. There is a pleasing legend that the Queen, leaning forward from the saddle like a Cossack with a lance, stabbed one of the heroes, Commander Raby, through the chest. The commander, true to the spirit in which he had won the Cross, stood unflinching while his sovereign fastened the pin through his flesh. The other sixty-one seem to have come through the occasion uninjured. The Queen managed to pin on the whole batch in just ten minutes, which does not suggest lengthy conversation, but the whole parade went off extremely well to the raptuous applause of the public.
Prince Albert's influence was clearly expressed in the terms of the Royal Warrant for the Cross which has survived, with some alterations, to the present day. It was a medal awarded 'to those officers or men who have served Us in the presence of the Enemy and shall then have performed some signal act of valour or devotion to their country'. Far from striking the public as something with which to 'find fault', the new award was greeted with great enthusiasm by the British people."

Some videos on the VC, although not about the Victorian period per se, they do touch on it and the VC's history.







Last edited by Unknownsoldier on 09 Aug 2008 20:32, edited 2 times in total.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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A token Victorian Award......

Postby Unknownsoldier » 09 Aug 2008 19:31

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bernard Hackett VC , 23rd Regimant [RWF] (June 15, 1836 - October 5, 1880).

Image [As they were originally bought, several years ago by another collector].

He was 21 years old, and a lieutenant in the 23rd Regiment of Foot (later The Royal Welch Fusiliers), British Army during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

"For daring gallantry at Secundra Bagh, Lucknow, on the 18th November, 1857, in having with others, rescued a Corporal of the 23rd Regiment, who was lying wounded and exposed to very heavy fire. Also, for conspicuous bravery, in having, under a heavy fire, ascended the roof, and cut down the thatch of a Bungalow, to prevent its being set on fire. This was a most important service at the time."

He later achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. He died at Arrabeg, Kings County, 5 October 1880 from self inflicted gunshot wounds, having tried to clear his shotgun from a hedge.

These medals are his own pp copies, his others apparently 'wore out' from overuse. His wife had her husbands medal turned in to a brooch!!!!!!!!!!!!

Image [As they are now]
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Gallantry Medals of the Victorian Period....

Postby Unknownsoldier » 09 Aug 2008 20:16

New Zealand Cross

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The New Zealand Cross was introduced in 1869 during the Land Wars in New Zealand. The wars were fought between the natives of New Zealand, the Māori, and European settlers known as Pākehā who were assisted by British or Imperial troops.

Many acts of bravery, gallantry and devotion to duty were recorded among the local militia, armed constabulary and volunteers, but only the Imperial troops were eligible for the highest British recognition of valour, the Victoria Cross.

Recognising the inequality of this, the Governor of New Zealand of the time, Sir George Bowen, announced a new medal of equivalent rank to the VC.

He was widely criticised in England, and accused of usurping the prerogative of Queen Victoria, but she eventually ratified his action and the New Zealand Cross, introduced on March 10, 1869, continued to be awarded through to 1881.

Only 23 New Zealand Crosses were awarded, making it one of the rarest medals recognising bravery in the world, and it has rarely been sold. The cross was awarded retrospectively for some actions that had taken place before it was instituted.

It has the form of a silver cross pattée with a gold star on each arm. The words New Zealand, in gold, are encircled by a laurel wreath in the centre. The cross is surmounted by a gold crown. A crimson ribbon passes through a silver bar with small gold laurel leaves.

Recipients of the original New Zealand Cross were:

Private Thomas Adamson, Corps of Guides, Ahikereru, 1869.
Constable Henare Kepa te Ahururu, 1st Division, Armed Constabulary, Moturoa, 1868.
Sergeant Samuel Austin, Wanganui Contingent, Putahi Pa and Keteonetea, 1866.
Constable Solomon Black, 1st Division, Armed Constabulary, Ngatapa, 1869.
Constable Benjamin Biddle, 1st Division, Armed Constabulary, Ngatapa, 1869.
Sergeant Arthur Wakefield Carkeek, Armed Constabulary, Ohinemutu, 1870.
Dr Isaac Earl Featherston, Native Contingent, Otapawa Pa, 1866.
Sergeant George (Rowley) Hill, 1st Division, Armed Constabulary, Jerusalem Pa, 1869.
Trooper William Lingard, Kai Iwi Cavalry Volunteers, Tauranga-ika, 1868.
Captain Francis Joseph Mace, Taranaki Militia, Kaitikara River, 1863.
Captain Gilbert Mair, NZ Militia, Rotoma, 1870.
Sergeant Christopher Louis Maling, Corps of Guides, Tauranga-ika, 1868.
Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas McDonnell, NZ Militia, Paparatu, 1863 and Putahi Pa, 1866.
Ensign Henry William Northcroft, Patea Rangers, Pungarehu and Tirotiro Moana, 1866
Sub-inspector George Augustus Preece, Armed Constabulary, Ngatapa, 1869
Major Kepa Te Rangihiwinui, NZ Militia (Native Contingent), Moturoa, 1868, and Otauto 1869.
Inspector John Mackintosh Roberts, Armed Constabulary, Moturoa, 1868.
Trooper Antonio Rodriques de Sardinha,Taranaki Mounted Volunteers, Poutoko 1863 and Kaitake, 1864.
Sergeant Richard Shepherd, Armed Constabulary, Otauto, 1869.
Comet Angus Smith, Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers, Opepe, 1869.
Major Ropata Wahawaha, Native Contingent, Ngatapa, 1869.
Assistant-Surgeon Samuel Walker, Armed Constabulary, Otauto, 1869.
Cornet Harry Charles William Wrigg, Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers, Opotiki, 1867.
One colonial soldier, Major Charles Heaphy was awarded the VC for his actions in 1864, when he was commanding British troops. See List of New Zealander Victoria Cross recipients and New Zealand Land Wars Victoria Cross recipients.

In 1999, the New Zealand Cross was re-institured. The Royal Warrant of 20 September 1999 created four awards for bravery and four for gallantry.

The new New Zealand Cross for Bravery is similar to the 1869 medal with some amendments. The Crown is now the current St Edward's Crown instead of a Victorian Crown, and New Zealand fern fronds replace laurel leaves. The ribbon is bright blue, a colour traditionally associated with bravery awards.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Gallantry Medals of the Victorian Period....

Postby Unknownsoldier » 10 Aug 2008 17:39

Distinguished Service Order

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The DSO is the second medal from the left: [Medals awarded to M.B.H.Barker]

The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other Commonwealth countries, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.

The DSO was instituted on 6 September 1886 by Queen Victoria in a Royal Warrant published in the London Gazette on 9 November. The first awards were dated 25 November 1886. It is typically awarded to officers ranked Major (or its equivalent) or higher, but the honour has sometimes been awarded to especially valorous junior officers. 8,981 DSOs were awarded during World War I, each award being announced in the London Gazette.

The order was established for rewarding individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war. It was a military order, until recently for officers only, and normally given for service under fire or under conditions equivalent to service in actual combat with the enemy, although it was awarded between 1914 and 1916 under circumstances which could not be regarded as under fire (often to staff officers, which caused resentment among front-line officers). After 1 January 1917, commanders in the field were instructed to recommend this award only for those serving under fire. Prior to 1943, the order could be given only to someone Mentioned in Despatches. The order is generally given to officers in command, above the rank of Captain. A number of more junior officers were awarded the DSO, and this was often regarded as an acknowledgement that the officer had only just missed out on the award of the Victoria Cross.

Since 1993, its award has been restricted solely for distinguished service (i.e. leadership and command by any rank), with the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross being introduced as the second highest award for gallantry. It has, however, thus far only been awarded to senior officers as before.

Recipients of the order are officially known as Companions of the Distinguished Service Order. They are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "DSO". A bar is added to the ribbon for each subsequent award of the order to a holder.

Description:

The medal signifying its award is a gold (silver-gilt) cross, enamelled white and edged in gold. In the centre, within a wreath of laurel, enamelled green, is the Imperial Crown in gold upon a red enamelled ground.
On the reverse is the Royal Cypher in gold upon a red enamelled ground, within a wreath of laurel, enamelled green. A ring at the top of the medal attaches to a ring at the bottom of a gold "suspension" bar, ornamented with laurel. At the top of the ribbon is a second gold bar ornamented with laurel.
The red ribbon is 1.125 inches (2.9 cm) wide with narrow blue edges. The medals are issued unnamed but some recipients have had their names engraved on the reverse of the suspension bar.
The bar for a second award is plain gold with an Imperial Crown in the centre. The back of the bar is engraved with the year of the award. A rosette is worn on the ribbon in undress uniform to signify the award of a bar.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Gallantry Medals of the Victorian Period....

Postby Unknownsoldier » 10 Aug 2008 17:48

Indian Order of Merit

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The medal was first introduced by the East India Company in 1837. The Indian Order of Merit was the only gallantry medal available to Native soldiers between 1837 and 1907 when the Indian Distinguished Service Medal was introduced, and when the Victoria Cross was opened to native soldiers in 1911. Both divisions of the order were removed when India became independent in 1947. Recipients receive the post nominal letters IOM.

Military Division
The medal was originally introduced with three classes (first, second and third classes), until others medals were made available to Indian soldiers, at which point it was reduced to two classes (the Victoria Cross replacing the first class), and reduced to one class in 1944. A recipient technically needed to be in possession of the lower class before being awarded a higher class, although recipients were sometimes awarded the higher class if they performed more than one act of gallantry, then they may have been awarded the higher class, without receiving the lower one. The recipients of the order received increased pay and pension allowances and were very highly regarded.

Civil Division
A civil division was available in two classes between 1902 and 1939, when it was reduced to one class. The civil medal was rarely awarded.

Third Class
Eight pointed dull silver star with blue circle, surrounded by silver laurels, in the middle, with crossed swords and the words Awarded for Valour, this was changed to Awarded for Gallantry in 1944.

Second Class
Eight pointed shiny silver star with blue circle, surrounded by gold laurels in the middle, with crossed swords and the words Awarded for Valour, this was changed to Awarded for Gallantry in 1944.

First Class
Eight pointed gold star with blue circle, surrounded by gold laurels in the middle, with crossed swords and the words Awarded for Valour, this was changed to Awarded for Gallantry in 1944.

Ribbon
Dark Blue ribbon flanked by two red stripes of about a sixth of the width.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Gallantry Medals of the Victorian Period....

Postby Unknownsoldier » 10 Aug 2008 17:48

Distinguished Conduct Medal

The Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) was (until 1993) the second level military decoration awarded other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to non-commissioned personnel of other Commonwealth countries.

The medal was instituted in 1854, during the Crimean War, to recognise gallantry within the other ranks. The medal was the other ranks' equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order when awarded for bravery to commissioned officers, although it ranked well below that order in precedence.

Although considered to be the army's second ranking gallantry award, the DCM was almost always seen as a "near miss for the VC". From 1942, members of the Navy and Air Force were entitled to the award.

In the aftermath of the 1993 review of the honours system, as part of the drive to remove distinctions of rank in awards for bravery, the DCM was discontinued (along with the award of the DSO for gallantry and the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal). These three decorations were replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, which now serves as the second level award for gallantry for all ranks across the whole armed forces.

Bars were awarded to the DCM in recognition of the performance of further acts of gallantry meriting the award. Recipients were entitled to the post-nominal letters DCM.


Description:

A silver medal 36mm in diameter. The original obverse of this medal depicted a trophy of arms as seen on early Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medals. However in 1902 this was replaced by the effigy of the reigning monarch.
The reverse on all issues bears the inscription 'FOR DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT IN THE FIELD'.
The suspender is of an ornate scroll type.
The ribbon is 32mm wide, with three equal parts crimson, dark blue, and crimson.
Bars were authorised for subsequent awards originally bearing the date of the subsequent awards but changing to laurel wreaths in 1916.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Gallantry Medals of the Victorian Period....

Postby Unknownsoldier » 10 Aug 2008 17:52

Conspicuous Gallantry Medal

Image Apologies this is not a Victorian version, but I will try and find one.

The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM) was, until 1993, a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Armed Forces (and from September 1942 to personnel of the Merchant Navy of rank equivalent to that of Petty Officer or Seaman) and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy at sea or in the air.

The original Royal Navy medal was instituted briefly in 1855, and fully on 7 July 1874. During World War II, the Royal Air Force medal - the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying) - was added, from 1943.

The Medal was the other ranks' equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order when awarded for bravery to commissioned officers, although it ranked well below that in order of precedence, between the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal. Recipients of the medal were entitled to use the post-nominal letters "CGM".
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Gallantry Medals of the Victorian Period....

Postby Unknownsoldier » 10 Aug 2008 17:56

Mentioned in Dispatches

While in our world (the Victorian one that is....) the 'MID' was not officially recognised, however people did purchase silver oakleaves bearing the letters M.I.D., and it would be silly of me not to mention it, even in passing.

In the British Armed Forces, this report is published in the London Gazette. If a subordinate officer or soldier performs a noteworthy action included in the report, he/she is said to have been "mentioned in despatches".

In the nations of the British Commonwealth, soldiers who are mentioned in despatches whilst not awarded a medal, receive a certificate and are entitled to wear a silver oak leaf (from 1920–1994, it was bronze, in the Canadian Forces it still is) on the ribbon of the service medal issued to soldiers who served in a conflict. If no campaign medal is awarded, the oak leaf is worn on the left breast of dress uniform. Soldiers can be mentioned multiple times.

From: http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-med ... ry-mid.htm" target="_blank"

Confining ourselves to the wars of recent times...we find that during the South African War, 1899-1902, those officers and soldiers who received a "mention" had their names included in the London Gazette. It was reprinted in South African Army Orders, and again in local General Orders. The recipient had no personal outward sign to show that he had received a "mention", unless of course, some decoration as well had been conferred upon him.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Gallantry Medals of the Victorian Period....

Postby Unknownsoldier » 10 Aug 2008 19:01

Kings Corporal & Kitchener Seargent

Other forms of "mention" during this campaign were the promotion of other ranks to "King's Corporal" and "Kitchener Sergeant", and the presentation of the coveted "Queen's Scarf ".

The history of King's Corporal and Kitchener Sergeant in the Army is known to some, but is frequently the subject of argument. A writer to the Journal of Army Historical Research, 1935, states that the current tradition of the rank was instituted as a reward for gallantry during the South African War and existed during that campaign only. Private soldiers, it is said, once promoted King's Corporal-supernumerary to regimental establishment - could never be reduced except by the King himself.

In the same journal for 1936 a reprint from the Naval and Military Journal quoted the following on the subject of King's Corporal, which apparently was a "mention": "There was an official suggestion in 1901 to the effect that soldiers who had distinguished themselves in war-time, but were unsuited to be NCOs in peace-time, should be given some mark of distinction on the right arm, preferably an embroidered band, carrying with it a step in rank whilst actually on active service, with additional pay, and a donation of £10 at the end of it.

Some members of the War Office Committee who sat to consider the proposal objected to the monetary grant, urging that such was derogatory to the soldier, but one of them pointed out that "Lord Roberts had not hesitated to accept £100,000, so I cannot see why a soldier should object to receive £10." The idea, however, was not adopted, though some men were specially promoted in the field in the latter stages of the Boer War, and were generally known as 'Kitchener Sergeants'."

Many inquiries were made during World War II on the question of King's Corporal, whether it really existed or not. On 22 October 1944 a letter appeared in the London Times referring to the statement made by the Secretary of State for War in the British Parliament on 10 October. It had been asked on what authority Lord Kitchener had promoted a rifleman of the Rifle Brigade to the rank of King's Corporal on 8 December 1901. Other correspondents cited additional instances. The Times writer asked: "Can any authority say what the award is intended to convey to the recipient if it is not recognized in the War Office?"

During the South African War Australian contingents had King's Corporals and Kitchener Sergeants. It is recorded in official orders that two corporals and a lance-corporal were promoted sergeant and five troopers, a lance corporal and a private were promoted corporal by the Commander-in-Chief for gallantry in the field. These were termed "King's Corporals" and "Kitchener Sergeants" and the promotions were announced in orders under the heading of "mentions", and were published in the London Gazette.

The order announcing the promotions stated that "the General Commanding-in-Chief had been pleased to sanction the following promotions of NCOs and men for distinguished gallantry in the field (should they be desirous of accepting it). Such promotion to take effect in each case from the date mentioned on which the act was performed.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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Re: Gallantry Medals of the Victorian Period....

Postby Unknownsoldier » 10 Aug 2008 19:01

Queen's Scarf:

In the despatch from Field-Marshal Earl Roberts to the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for War, published in the London Gazette dated 17 June 1902, reference is made to the Queen's Scarf, which is considered to be a "mention". In April 1900 Lord Roberts received from Her Majesty Queen Victoria four woollen scarves worked by herself, for distribution to the four most distinguished private soldiers of the Colonial Forces of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, then serving under his command.
BENEATH THIS STONE RESTS THE BODY OF A BRITISH WARRIOR UNKNOWN BY NAME OR RANK BROUGHT FROM FRANCE TO LIE AMONG THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS OF THE LAND. THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE HAD DONE GOOD TOWARD GOD AND TOWARD HIS HOUSE.
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