Tracking down despatches

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Tracking down despatches

Postby MikeS » 06 Jun 2008 17:08

When an officer or soldier was mentioned in despatches, was there any protocol about the process? More to the point, could officers only mention men directly under their command, or were they able to single out anyone they thought worthy?
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Re: Despatches

Postby Mark » 06 Jun 2008 17:20


Being mentioned in despatches during the Victorian period was a little vague and not quite so clear cut as it was later in World War One - for which an oakleaf emblem was awarded for wear on the Victory Medal. I believe, for the Victorian period, being MID could mean anything from being mentioned for some gallant act to the fact you were just present and performed a job of some description rather than anything out of the ordinary.

I have an Indian Mutiny Medal to a Major-General who was a Captain at the time of the Mutiny in the Bombay Sappers & Miners. His obituary states he was "mentioned in despatches" but despite my efforts I've yet to find it.

Sorry I can't be more helpful but I'm sure some of the other members might be able to provide more information.

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Re: Despatches

Postby Jonathan » 06 Jun 2008 19:32

I have a sword to a Major-General who was a Colonel during some of the later conflicts in the North West Frontier. He was mentioned in the despatches several times;

Colonel A. J. F. Reid, officiating Colonel on the Staff, Malakand Brigade,
afforded me valuable assistance by carrying out the re-arrangement of the
defensive posts at the Malakand on the 1st August after the Relieving Force had
been drawn from them and in making the preparations for Colonel T. H.
Goldney's attack on the 2nd.

His Excellency has much pleasure in endorsing the favourable terms in which
Sir Bindon Blood has mentioned Colonel A. J. F. Reid, who was responsible for
a great portion of the line of communications and for the efficient supply of
troops at the front…

Some difficulties arose on the transfer of Officers and materials to the Tirah Expeditionary Force on its formation, especially as large convoys of sick and wounded
were on the line of this force at the time, but these difficulties were successfully
overcome by Colonel A. J. F. Reid, who was in charge of the Line, and matters
were ultimately restored to smooth working on the arrival of Surgeon-Colonel J. C. G.
Carmichael, Indian Medical Service, who is now Principal Medical Officer of the Force.

The Line of Communications and the Base were also most efficiently managed by Colonel A. J. F. Reid, and by Lieutenant-Colonel A. V. Schalch, 29nth Bengal Infantry, the Base Commandant, and their respective staffs.

(The Risings on the North-West Frontier, 1898)

As you can see, the despatches mention commendable service, but nothing particularly heroic. :) On the other hand, the same officer is mentioned in a more exciting light (wounded in the groin!) for his service at Peiwar Kotal during the Second Anglo-Afghan War! So the despatches appear to range from describing duties to describing more valorous deeds.

I hope that helps!

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Re: Despatches

Postby uzbashi » 09 Jun 2008 09:20

MID for services in India were the result of a favourable mention in a Commanders despatch to the Cin C India and do not necessarily appear in the London Gazaette. A number were mentioned in Kelly's report on the Chitral campaign in which he took the Gilgit Force of 32nd Sikh Pioneers and attachments over the Shandur pass and fought the engagements of Chokalwat and Nisa Gol. The mention is recorded in the individuals record of service with the relevant reference.
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Re: Despatches

Postby Liz » 28 Aug 2008 05:04

uzbashi wrote:MID for services in India were the result of a favourable mention in a Commanders despatch to the Cin C India and do not necessarily appear in the London Gazette...

But if they do appear in the London Gazette, this is where to go for more info: They have quite of a lot of interesting historical notices available online including the original 1850s Royal Warrant that created the Victoria Cross.
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