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Old 5th Jan 2017, 12:18   #1 (permalink)
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Who else deserved and missed out on an award.

With the current debate about awards. Got me thinking who else had a rum deal.

Obvious one is Captain Eric Brown.

Less obvious is LAC Reynolds (12 Sqn) May 1940.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 14:14   #2 (permalink)
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Tp, and those are known names. There are hundreds of thousands of other war heroes.

Giving a captain the DSO for leadership ignores the hundred of followers that chose to follow. My father in law risked his life to save others when his ship sank. His exploit was never written up, too junior, loss of officers, and it was a disaster that decorations and awards would have highlighted when the Admiralty wished to draw a veil over it.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 14:29   #3 (permalink)
 
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PN - It is the opposite! When the military disasters happen then the VCs come out! Look at Isandlwana, and the follow up battle Rorke's Drift. You could also add the Augsburg Raid in 1942 and the Dams raid in '43 for Bomber Command. Generally speaking, the bad news of the casualties is hidden by the bravery headlines that the VC generates.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 14:44   #4 (permalink)
 
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It's a lottery - look at Lisa Potts who stopped a nutcase running amok at a school back in 95 or 96 class with a machette and was badly cut up - she did get a GM but why not a GC??
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 16:09   #5 (permalink)
 
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HH

Yeah remember the lady and then had to fight for compensation. She writes children's books now.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 16:48   #6 (permalink)
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WD, I take your point except that the last three were all successful notwithstanding high casualty rates. The one I have in mind was essentially red on blue assisted by blue for no enemy loss. Losing a cruiser, a destroyer and over 500 men was not something to be proud of.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 16:53   #7 (permalink)
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HH I would guess that she was only considered for a GM as she was a nursery teacher whereas a grammar school teacher might have merited a GC had they been head of department etc.

The tariff system strikes. In my father's line of business the basic award was OBE but no CBE.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 21:22   #8 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
Tp, and those are known names. There are hundreds of thousands of other war heroes.
I'd go a step further and say there are probably hundreds if not thousands across the Services each year. But they miss out because either their chain of command doesn't think to write people up, cant be bothered to write people up or otherwise worthy individuals are thought to be not quite worthy enough i.e. second guessing what the system will think.

As a Flt Cdr I wrote my FS up, with a view to getting him some sort of formal honour above and beyond an AOC's commendation. I submitted the citation and forgot about it until the following year his MBE came through, one of about 7 or 8 SNCOs awarded MBEs on that one list if I recall correctly. CAS at the time noted his delight that SNCOs were getting State awards, but was disappointed that only one - my FS - had been written up for being very very good at his job. All the others were written up on the basis of worthy but non-operational secondary duties and CAS suggested we should be recognising performance in ways other than good annual appraisals. Given the current tempo and associated resource constraints, I suspect there are many more like my FS who don't make it for one or more of the reasons I suggested.

Last edited by Melchett01; 5th Jan 2017 at 21:47.
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 08:16   #9 (permalink)
 
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Me...
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 08:34   #10 (permalink)
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Melchett, well done. I know of one SNCO written up for BEM who got an MBE for the secondary work.

I also know of a retired sqn ldr who got an MBE, don't know why, but for the last 25 years has been heavily involved in nonpaying charity work, so some are well justified.

Certainly you need someone willing to do the write up.

I managed to get one of my men an AOCs Commendation. The next write ups were intercepted by my parent unit and downgraded to stn cdrs. The staish had never visited my unit, the men did not work for him and didn't know him. It had no meaning or value.
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 09:14   #11 (permalink)
 
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HH I would guess that she was only considered for a GM as she was a nursery teacher whereas a grammar school teacher might have merited a GC had they been head of department etc.

The tariff system strikes. In my father's line of business the basic award was OBE but no CBE.
- PN

Not strictly so, since the only "tariff system" applied in such cases is that of bravery, as indicated by the attached extract from https://www.gov.uk/honours/types-of-honours-and-awards

"The George Cross

First level civilian medal for bravery: for acts of heroism and courage in extreme danger.

The George Medal

Second level civilian medal for bravery: for acts of great bravery.

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal

Third level civilian medal for bravery: for inspiring acts of bravery."

IIRC from my time in the Naval Secretary's Office, the QGM was introduced in 1974 with the very specific aim of replacing an Order of the British Empire award for bravery based on rank.

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Old 6th Jan 2017, 09:43   #12 (permalink)
 
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Further to Jack's comments about the George Cross, the bar for this award has been set incredibly high, and rightly so. This is reflected in the fact that since its inception in 1940 it has only been awarded 161 times, and a large proportion of those awards took place during WW2. There have only ever been four awards to women, the three well-known awards to SOE operatives Odette Sansom, Violette Szabo and Nora Inayat Khan (the last two posthumous), and the posthumous award to Barbara Harrison, a BOAC stewardess who died whilst helping passengers to escape from an onboard fire at Heathrow. Although originally intended as a civilian award, military recipients far outnumber those to civilians, and in fact the last civilian award was in 1990 to a New Zealand policeman.

I assume P-N's remarks about grammar school teachers were made tongue in cheek, but I hardly think that the type of educational establishment she worked in came into it when considering what award Lisa Potts would be given!
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 09:48   #13 (permalink)
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TTN, not quite. I was thinking award related to pay scale with those on the higher pay scale considered officer status. For instance a primary school head was hosted by a flt lt and the grammar school head by a wg cdr.

As for GC-GM, I am now better informed as I had equated the award to the DFC-DFM example.
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 10:44   #14 (permalink)
 
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Not only do some not "make the cut" due to not being written up, others fail due to the lack of literacy of the the initial writer. This was also obvious on promotion boards where good people were passed over due to a poorly written appraisal.
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 11:13   #15 (permalink)
 
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There must be loads of individual acts of heroism that get missed during battle.
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 15:17   #16 (permalink)
 
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When you look at the WW2 GC awards and compare them with actions post war - in places like NI and the FI for the armed forces and day to civis I don't see why more aren't/weren't handed out. Defusing a bomb or bombs is defusing a bomb 1941 or 1976
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 17:49   #17 (permalink)
 
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What you say about bomb disposal is quite correct. The fact is of course that that there were quite literally hundreds of men on bomb disposal work throughout WW2, dealing with thousands of bombs, hence the apparent imbalance between wartime and post war awards. The two most recent awards of the George Cross, those to Staff Sergeants Kim Hughes and Olaf Schmidt, RLC (the latter posthumous) were for bomb disposal work in Afghanistan.

I think if we are going to award our gallantry medals very sparingly, as we do, then I think we have to accept the fact that many deserving people will miss out. I think Danny has got it right on the Carol Vorderman thread when he says "when everyone's somebody, nobody's anybody".
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 18:45   #18 (permalink)
 
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I often thought that for every one brave act that is awarded a VC there are possibly ten that are not witnessed nor did the person survive.
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 21:51   #19 (permalink)
 
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Iron Cross was classless award maybe? Britain is stuck in its class system, same old scene since the bloody Romans. Long if we could move on a bit like some other nations.
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 22:49   #20 (permalink)
 
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Iron Cross was classless award maybe?
As are the Victoria Cross and the George Cross, which are awarded regardless of rank or status.

The Iron Cross started that way when it started in 1813, although it was awarded in two classes, first and second. One of the few good things you could say about Hitler is that unlike most dictators he didn't cover himself with self awarded medals, but only ever wore the Iron Cross, 1st Class, which he won as a gefreiter (lance corporal) in 1918. A curious aside is that the officer who recommended the award was Jewish.

By the time the Nazis got hold of it, the Iron Cross was expanded from a simple all ranks award to the situation where the various grades went:

Iron Cross second class
Iron Cross first class
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with oak leaves
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with oak leaves and swords
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with oak leaves, swords and diamonds
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with gold oak leaves, swords and diamonds

and finally

Grand Cross of the Iron Cross, (sole recipient one Hermann Goering!)

So you can see, whatever the original intention, in its WW2 form the Iron Cross was far from classless, and you can bet there were no gefreiters wearing the Knight's Cross in any of its variations.

When I was at university I did a dissertation on Soviet Orders and Medals, and like all dictatorships they were as bad as the Nazis. They had a complex system of awards each with various grades, which mirrored the old czarist awards which followed their ranks of nobility. Best example these days is North Korea, and no doubt someone will oblige with that well-known picture of a bunch of North Korean generals plastered with medals from top to toe!
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