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Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.


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Old 20th Dec 2012, 14:04   #21 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Don't tell your aunt but 578Sqn are having their annual wreath laying at Burn Village in May 2013.
Thanks for that, she'll just have had her 91st birthday. I have two photos of her, one leaning against the u/c of a Hallybag during the war and one taken about 65 years later at Elvington when they brought Friday the 13th out of the hangar and she's leaning on the same u/c leg. (Different a/c obviously.)
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Old 21st Dec 2012, 20:13   #22 (permalink)
 
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I was somewhat saddened by a letter in today's Times from a Bomber Command veteran, a holder of the DFC, who was stating his opinion that whereas the Arctic veterans would appear to be getting a medal, the Bomber Command chaps were only to get a clasp to their star, which he described as "adding insult to injury"

Far be it from me to criticize an elderly gentleman who served gallantly in a campaign that I cannot even imagine, but I nevertheless feel that my earlier statement that there is no end to it once you start messing around with medals from old campaigns is starting to be proved correct.
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Old 21st Dec 2012, 20:40   #23 (permalink)
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TN, quite. Did anyone complain about the Burma/Pacific Star either/or as they wanted to limit the total number of campaign stars?
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 01:29   #24 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Sloppy Link View Post
Army rules are as follows....... The first row should be central for the first and subsequent ribbons until the breast pocket width is complete. In the case of some individuals, this may be up to five ribbons. Once the first row is complete, each subsequent row should start on the extreme left as worn until complete and so on. Medal ribbons should not be obscured by the lapel. In simple terms, the collection should resemble a right angled triangle and not a pyramid.
The Army changed their policy in Oct 10 with subsequent rows now being mounted centrally (until the lapel comes into play). One of the reasons given was that NATO and UN medal ribbons are not the same width as UK ones which results in uneven rows which look better centralized.

References are D/DPS(A)/25/12/00/PS12(A) dated 15 Oct 10 and Army Briefing Note 10-12 dated 2 Feb 12.

As an aside both the Army and RAF regulations mandate a gap between rows (for fewer than 5 rows). Although, military tailors don't appear to bother with this.

Last edited by Climebear; 22nd Dec 2012 at 05:28.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 07:21   #25 (permalink)
 
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Ribbons per row

Thanks for the responses. As I thought at the time, the Visiting Wg Cdr was wrong with the 1, 3, 4 instruction to my RAF colleague. A friend also had his ribbons done by well- known medallist but when they came back they were about 2/3 the height of RAF ones. When he questioned this he was told that this was the 'Cavalry' style! But as we know, there is no consistency with Army officers uniforms.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 08:34   #26 (permalink)
 
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Every day is a school day. Regardless of the triangle vs pyramid issue, there should still only be one incomplete row (unless the lapel dictates).
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 10:24   #27 (permalink)
 
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This seems to be an appropriate forum to make some enquiries about medals/campaign ribbons.

I do not have a military background but have had an interest in the display of awards on uniforms.

I have several queries...

1 Can anyone recommend any books that will explain the basics of decorations.

2 Is it my imagination that the Americans and Russians always seem to have decorations all over their uniforms. Compared to some of the Skippers I flew with in my early days of airline flying who were ex Bomber Command, these people appear to have been in every war/conflict in recent history.

thanks in anticipation.

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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 10:38   #28 (permalink)
 
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TTN:
Quote:
I was somewhat saddened by a letter in today's Times from a Bomber Command veteran, a holder of the DFC, who was stating his opinion that whereas the Arctic veterans would appear to be getting a medal, the Bomber Command chaps were only to get a clasp to their star, which he described as "adding insult to injury"
I'm not quite sure what it is that you are criticising, TTN. Was he correct in stating that the Arctic veterans are to get a new Star, whereas the Bomber ones get a clasp? If that is the case I would echo his sentiments and would criticise not him but those who had come up with this "solution". What is it about the European Bombing Campaign that sets it apart from the other major ones in that Theatre to be denied a Campaign Medal in its own right? The loss rate was just shy of 50%. With all due respect to every other Campaign in WWII, none of them approached that. I remain convinced that it was a combination of inter Service jealousy (and inter Command?) and what would now be termed "Political Correctness" that denied Harris the gong for his Old Lags, and not simply that:
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they wanted to limit the total number of campaign stars?

Last edited by Chugalug2; 22nd Dec 2012 at 10:43.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 14:28   #29 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emeritus View Post
This seems to be an appropriate forum to make some enquiries about medals/campaign ribbons.

I do not have a military background but have had an interest in the display of awards on uniforms.

I have several queries...

1 Can anyone recommend any books that will explain the basics of decorations.

2 Is it my imagination that the Americans and Russians always seem to have decorations all over their uniforms. Compared to some of the Skippers I flew with in my early days of airline flying who were ex Bomber Command, these people appear to have been in every war/conflict in recent history.

thanks in anticipation.

Emeritus.
For the UK, I can recommend two little books by Peter Duckers, published by Shire publications - "British Gallantry Awards" and "British Campaign Medals". Try here: Shire
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 14:48   #30 (permalink)
 
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What is it about the European Bombing Campaign that sets it apart from the other major ones in that Theatre to be denied a Campaign Medal in its own right?
As I hope I made clear in my original post, I am not criticising this gentleman, just the decision to retrospectively alter the way campaign medals were awarded at the end of WW2. It was decided that rather than seek to reward individual formations, the medals would be awarded by theatre, with all participants in that theatre receiving the same star, irrespective of casualty rates. If, therefore, you consider the air war over Europe as a theatre, all participants, whether Bomber Command, Fighter Command etc (right down to SOE Lysanders) received the same star, although I never understood the decision to start awarding the France and Germany Star after D Day instead of the Aircrew Europe Star. Similarly Coastal Command, whose theatre of operation was over the sea received the same campaign star as the Royal Navy - the Atlantic Star.

Attempting to mess around with this system at this late date is only going to stir up old inter-service rivalries and lead to dissatisfaction.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 15:30   #31 (permalink)
 
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TTN, I'm glad to hear that you were not criticising the DFC Bomber veteran but rather the decision to alter the WWII Campaign Medal awarding criteria, but the fact remains they have been altered. Just as all the airspace over occupied territory was eligible for the Aircrew Star, so all the Northern Seas, ie the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, were eligible for the Atlantic Star. Now it seems those two seas are to provide for separate medals. If that is the case, why should not the airspace of the occupied nations of Western Europe and those of the far more dangerous and well defended airspace of the Reich and Eastern Europe be similarly separated medal wise?
You have a point about the wisdom of retrospective tampering, but that it seems is what is afoot, in which case the tampering should be even handed at least. To put the Strategic Bombing Campaign on a par with the Battle of Britain by allotting clasps to each is a nonsense. The clue is in their titles, one was a Campaign, the other was not. The uneven and unfair decision of handing the Arctic Sailors their long sought after medal while denying the same to the Bombers does indeed add "insult to injury" in my view.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 22nd Dec 2012 at 15:43.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 15:48   #32 (permalink)
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Chugalug2 - "Just as all the airspace over occupied territory was eligible for the Aircrew Star"

Not quite - 205 Group Italy, operations ranging over Poland (Warsaw Airlift), Germany (Munich). Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania (inc Ploesti), Bulgaria, Yugoslavia (inc mining Danube), Albania, Greece and Italy also France (Operation Dragoon) not eligible for Aircrew Europe or France & Germany!!!

and officially my Dad (A/G, RAFVR attached 34 then 31 Sqd SAAF), wasn't permitted to wear his Polish medals either!!!

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)

Last edited by pzu; 22nd Dec 2012 at 15:49.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 16:20   #33 (permalink)
 
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You make the point far better than I could, pzu. How could Air Operations against the enemy in the areas you list not be eligible for the Aircrew Europe Star (particularly Ploesti!)? It seems that these post WWII decisions were both arbitrary and unfair. Naturally the unfairness rankles with those involved in specific campaigns (such as the European Strategic Bombing one) who received a generic rather than specific campaign medal. What is far worse is to be involved in operations within the generic medal's supposed criteria, only to be denied it completely! I sympathise with your Dad and his comrades if they were denied any such campaign Star.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 18:52   #34 (permalink)
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They received the Italy Star, which was 'expanded' to include Balkan operations

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 19:34   #35 (permalink)
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emeritus, no one seems to have answered your question. (Sorry Tocsin missed your post).

Quote:
Originally Posted by emeritus View Post
This seems to be an appropriate forum to make some enquiries about medals/campaign ribbons.

1 Can anyone recommend any books that will explain the basics of decorations.
Book, no, but this link is a good starting point. Currently authorised medals

There are decorations such as the VC, GC, DSC, DFC, AFC and GM, DSM, DCM, AFM. The difference was that officers got the crosses and other ranks the medals. the exception was the VC. Then more recently this differentiation was abolished. Awards such as MBE, OBE, CBE, KCBE in the military are rank related with the C and K being automatic.

Turning to campaign medals, there were just the 3 in WW1. In WW2 there were 7 campaign medals with a maximum of 5 to anyone person. If that person would have qualified for more then they were given a clasp to add to one of the others. My father qualified for 6 but only got the Pacific clasp to add to the Burma Star and the France and Germany clasp to add to the Atlantic Star.

Then there were other medals such as the coronation and jubilee medals, general service medals with different forces such as the RN and police having different ribbons. Latterly there have been many more campaigns.


Quote:
2 Is it my imagination that the Americans and Russians always seem to have decorations all over their uniforms.
Several other countries have a lot more medals that Commonwealth countries. This might be on the box-top basis to try and play match-up. Gaddaffi was a case in point as was Idi (Walt) Amin.

Now the Americans are something different and that could justify a book. Some are awarded where a unit receives a citation. Now I challenge anyone to accurately read the salad dressing and say what the all mean.

Last edited by Pontius Navigator; 22nd Dec 2012 at 20:24.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 23:24   #36 (permalink)
 
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I heard once that anyone in the US forces would get a medal just for being more than 3000 miles from base while on duty, regardless why.

Don't know how true that is but its believeable.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 06:03   #37 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by clicker View Post
I heard once that anyone in the US forces would get a medal just for being more than 3000 miles from base while on duty, regardless why.

Don't know how true that is but its believeable.
Mind you, 2 of mine were awarded just because I was serving when HM the Queen had a couple of jubilees.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 09:00   #38 (permalink)
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An interesting variation is why we have a general service medal. In the Army/RAF there was one before 1962 and one after 1962 with many different bars added to them. It would have been logical to continue with the GSM for Sierra Leone etc.

The Falklands would appear to be the first of the new medals, and well deserved at that, followed by the GW1 medal. From then we see a raft of NATO, UN, and then OSM issued which mark our change of military from largely stand-alone to a coalition partner.

Will the GSM series ever be resumed or will it eventually fade away?
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 11:10   #39 (permalink)
 
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Tocsin / PN...

Many thanks for the info. Will follow up on your suggestions.

Emeritus.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 13:31   #40 (permalink)
 
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I've worked with Americans of all services in my time and now that I understand their system of medals, ribbons and badges I'm a fan.

Firstly don't try and compare it with the UK system, they are apples and pears and what works for them might not work for us and vice versa. With the US system you get to see an individual's military CV on their chest, especially useful when in a meeting and needing to ascertain someone's credibility or walking into an office or ops room and needing to ascertain who is the "go to" guy.

At Aviano I went to the MT office accompanying a USAF officer who looked around and then walked across to a particular airman, asked a series of complicated questions, got the answers he needed, thanked the individual and walked out. As we walked to our car he said how easy it had proven to be once he spotted the Outstanding Airman ribbon on the airman's chest as he knew he would be a quality individual able to deal with his particularly obscure query.

In my opinion the US system is neither better or worse, simply different.
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