Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by dante242, Aug 19, 2007.

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  1. There have been a number of threads on UK medals the latest being a "new" medal for the fighting in Helmand along with some sort of "wound" medal/device.
    In my opinion the UK awards system is a shambles and needs a complete overhaul. From the conception of a medal to issue it is flawed, some examples of this are,

    1/ The two medal myth: Both the MOD and the FCO decree that you cannot get two medals for the same campaign yet for the Korean war two medals were issued (Queens and UN), Oman 1969-76 (GSM clasp Dhofar and the Sultans medal) Northern Ireland (CSM and ACSM) so why no ISAF medal for Afghanistan and no Pingat Jasa Malaysia for Malay veteran's.

    2/ Restricted wear: The plethory of NATO/EU/UN peace keeping awards has meant that unless large bodies of troops/police are deployed singleton or small scale deployments will go unrewarded as the powers to be are unwilling to approve these medals.

    3/ Mentions/Commendations: These are in my view outdated and need to be given the status of a medal with clasps for further awards.

    4/ Orders and decorations: The John Major reforms were the botch job to end all botch jobs as it kept the rank based orders but lost the BEM, MM, ISO,DCM et al as far as I can see the reforms solved nothing.

    I am sure there are many other examples.

    Both Canada and Australia went though a massive overhaul of there Honours systems and I would be interested if you feel we should go there same way and what changes should we make.
  2. Do a bit of research before you start to comment on "myths". The decision to allow British and Commonwealth forces to wear the UN medal was made after the institution of the British award.

    The Korea Medal (often referred to as the 'Queen's Korea Medal.' to clearly distinguish it from the UN medal) was instituted July 1951 by King George VI for award to the British Commonwealth forces deployed to Korea and surrounding waters between 2 July 1950 and 27 July 1953. The qualification period was one day for service on land for all three services - or one operational sortie over Korea for the RAF, or 28 days sea service in the designated area for the Navy). Sadly the King died on 6th February 1952 before any medals were struck thus all Korea medals bear an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

    The UN Korean medal was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly on the 12th December 1950, and authorised for wear by the British Commonwealth forces on the 6th November 1951. The medal was awarded for one or more days service . The qualifying area extended beyond that of the Korean Peninsula and surrounding waters to included adjacent territories such as Japan and Okinawa. Recipients of the Queen's Korea medal qualified for this award, but as the UN medal could be awarded for service after the armistice and had a larger geographical catchment, it could therefore be awarded without the Queen's Korea Medal.
  3. And the point of your reply is ? If you had taken the time to read the post the "Myth" is the one used by the MOD and FCO justify not in not awarding medals such as the Pingat Jasa Malaysia for Malay veteran's. Korea is an example of circumstances were the rule has been breached.

    The principle from which this is borne is allegedly Queen Elizabeth I who said "my dogs will not wear another master's collar" or somesuch and largely we have followed that principle. There are notable exceptions but yours do not really work:

    The Campaign Service Medal 1962 with clasp 'Dhofar' was awarded to officers and soldiers on strength of the British Army. The Sultan's medals were awarded to officers and soldiers on loan service. Many received both because they served as both - but at different times.

    The Campaign Service Medal 1962 with clasp 'Northern Ireland' and the Accumulated Service Medal do not go together: the AcSM is for approx 36 months campaign service since 1962 for all recipients of the Campaign Service Medal 1962. A semantic difference, but a difference nonetheless. It should be further noted that the days required to qualify for the CSM 1962 do not count towards the AcSM -i.e, your 29th day in NI would be your first towards the AcSM. The AcSM is now also available for operational service in Iraq and Afghanistan - so following your argument there is your second medal!

    The rules for the award of the UN Korea Medal and the Korea Medal are quite different and cover differing time periods - one does not qualify a soldier for the other or vice versa:

    UN Korea Medal: Service between July 1950 and July 1954 for one day in Korea or in Japan.

    Korea Medal: Service between July 1950 and July 1953 one day on the strength of an Army unit, one day ashore for RN and RM, one day on land for the RAF and 28 days afloat for RN, RM and RAF or 30 days visiting the theatre (officially, of course).

    There were a number of soldiers, sailors and airmen eligible for the UN Korea Medal who did not receive their own country's medal.

    This should be taken as an example of how HM's medals are awarded with a higher degree of rigour attached, rather than as a gimme.

    If one was to be pedantic about multiple medals for 'one tour' then one should look first at the Queen's South Africa and King's South Africa Medals for which you could only qualify for the KSA if you were eligible for the QSA. Soldiers who had not completed 18 mon service by Jun 1902 were unlucky! Not a good example for you to use, I would suppose.

    Or maybe one should look at Sudan. The Queen's Sudan Medal (instituted in 1899) for service between 1896-97, subsequently the Khedive's Sudan Medal 1896-1908 was awarded. So what? Sometimes a great deal of time has to pass before people can acknowledge that the fighting was worth two medals.

    This is a fallacy. HM has approved the award of medals for single day actions for small numbers of troops: OSM Sierra Leone for Op MAIDENLY (15 Jul 00) and Op BARRAS (10 Sep 00). These medals are distinctive by the silver rosette on the medal ribbon and on the ribbon when the ribbon is worn alone.

    The OSM for the Democtratic Republic of Congo (14 Jun - 10 Sep 03) was approved for a small number of service personnel for a short period of time during Op CORAL.

    IMO this is a flawed idea - the MiD, QCVS, QCBC (as was), QCB and QCBA demonstrate decoration for a particular operational tour. The father of a friend of mine has a MiD, QCVS and QCB on the same medal (which is appropriate) which says far more than (for instance) the US Army Commendation Medal with numerals for subsequent awards in which case one cannot identify the award with the operation. This is far better than pre-1994 when the bronze oakleaf denoted MID, QCBC and Valuable Service in the air: this single emblem has been replaced by four different emblems (MID, QCB, CQBA for gallantry and the QCVS for service).

    The BEM: The BEM was not awarded for gallantry after 1974 (replaced by QGM) and not to British personnel from 1994 (although still awarded to Commonwealth pers). The 'loss' of this medal is probably the worst decision made by the review of 1993 but there are now lots of LCpls with MBEs who wouldn't have even received a BEM.

    The MM: instituted in 1916 as a level down from the DCM in times of extreme rigour. I think you would agree that having the MM, DCM and CGM in 1993 would not stand the exacting analysis of soldiers applied in 1916. The award of the MC has replaced this medal for all ranks (more MCs went to ORs than officers on the last op honours list).

    The ISO: the ISO is a civil service award and still exists for members of the Commonwealth and is awarded in the Queen's Birthday and New Year's Honours Lists. The ISM remains.

    The DCM and the CGM were replaced by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. (I think that bit worked, wouldn't you say?). One should bear in mind that only 3 servicemen were awarded the CQM under HM - one for Vietnam, Op CORPORATE and Op GRANBY each. The RN/RM equivalent medal - the DSM was incorporated into the DSC, although actions that would have won the DSM are more likely to be awarded the CGC now. The CGC is senior to the DSC, MC, DFC, AFC whereas the DCM, DSM and CQM were all junior to them. (The CGC also replaced the DSO for gallantry, but not for service).

    I think the streamlining works, if you understand it:

    For Gallantry12:


    For Service5:


    Teh Canadian overhaul took place in 1972, NZ in 1996, Australia in 1975

    NZ: NZ Gallantry Star (replaced DSO, DCM, CGM), NZ Gallantry Decoration (replaced DSC, MC, DFC, DSM, MM, DFC and DFM), NZ Bravery Star (replaced GM), NZ Bravery Decoration (replaced QGM, QPM, QFSM, AFC, AFM), NZ Gallantry Medal (replaced MiD), NZ Bravery Medal (replaced QCB etc). Notably the NZ AF only have two operational service medals: one for warlike operations and one for peacekeeping operations (when UN medals are not awarded). So they went down to 7 (incl NZVC) gallantry decorations and 2 decorations for service.

    Aus: For Gallantry5: VC, Cross of Valour (replaced GC) , Star of Gallantry, Star of Courage, Medal for Gallantry, Bravery Medal; For Service4: DSC, Conspicuous Service Cross, DSM, Order of Australia Medal. (They also have commendations rather than separate medals)

    Can: For Gallantry 5: VC, Cross of Valour, Star of Military Valour, Medal of Military Valour, Medal of Bravery ; For Service 5: Order of Canada, Order of Military Merit, Meritorious Service Cross, Meritorious Service Medal.

    US: For Gallantry 7: CMH, DSC, Silver Star, DFC, Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star (with 'V'), Air Medal (V) ; For Service 10: DOD DSM, Army DSM, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense MSM, MSM, Air Medal, JS Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal.

    So what does that say about us. My first point is that we would rather reward gallantry than service, secondly we have a broader range of awards than Canada, NZ or Aus and the same number (but with inverted priorities) as the USA.

    I think we've pretty much got it right.
  5. As Barb's has pointed out. Not good examples of the 'double medalling myth'. The PJM has been approved for acceptance but not wear. Whether anyone will take notice is another matter and an early '60s London Gazette edict regarding foreign medals being worn by non-Crown servants actually contradicts the current stance.

    Again not quite the case. UN medals are invariably approved for wear - no matter how small the deployment. Personally, I'm not a fan of these token awards that usually have little attached kudos. With maybe the exception of the UN medals, I think there should be a moratorium on such awards and all operations be covered by Crown issued medals. The pending introduction of the 'Humanitarian Service Medal' would be the ideal time to implement this rethink: ergo. OSM (or campaign-specific medals) for shooting matches. 'HSM' for handing out sweeties.

    Quite agree. With the exception a the MiD, the QCB should warrant either a GM or a QGM. Under fire? MC. Bravery? Gallantry? Heineken schmeineken! QCVS? Immediate MBE/OBE/CBE depending on rank.

    It did what it said on the tin. Whilst it removed some of the colour and history, it did simplify a rather multiplicitous system.

    They made changes due to their changing status within the Commonwealth, i.e. replacing the Imperial system with awards more appropriate to their requirements and identity, and not for changes sake. In many cases (with maybe the exception of Australia) they also simplified the system and predated Majors' reforms by several years.
  6. Not quite. 14th August 1969 onwards. Basically pre-NI tours do not count: Borneo, South Arabia etc.

    I'm not sure about 'lots of corporals', but there are now significantly less SNCOs with MBEs than there were with BEMs under the old system - even taking in to account reduced personnel numbers.

    I think the whole Order of the British Empire needs a rethink - if not done away with in total. The twice yearly 'luvviefest' has pretty much made it a laughing stock anyway. The Edward VII Medal for Arts & Science should be re-introduced (albeit modernised as a Queen's medal) for such art/sport worthies and the MBE/OBE/CBEs should be left to the lollipop ladies et al.

    The military division of the Order should definitely be binned. The concept of the order was civilian-oriented anway when instituted. I think the much underused MSM would be better suited as a reward for ORs - maybe even as a QCVS replacement. For commissioned ranks? Either introduce a single class merit order or expand the DSO or lower the bar for the CB. Merit? Valuable Service? Heineken schmeineken!