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Thread: Defence Medal

  1. #1
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    Default Defence Medal

    I cannot get my head round the WW2 medals, specifically the Defence Medal. Never sure who got it and who did not. I know it concerns being under air attack or threat of it and 3 years is mentioned, but I thought, perhaps wrongly, that capture by the enemy or death automatically counted as the full period required.
    I thought aircrew losses from most bases would come under that heading but perhaps I am wrong..Which expert will put me right please. WW1 was much easier to work out, even more so since the medal index cards are available for that war

  2. #2
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    Yes, the regulations for the Defence Medal are not easy to understand. The first thing to remember is that it was for NON-OPERATIONAL SERVICE. Time spent on operational aircrew duties could not count towards the time qualification - which could also differ depending on where the individual was serving. Time spent as a prisoner of war did not qualify for the medal, since some of that time could be counted towards a operational star.

    Death in a non-operational area could qualify if such death was due to enemy action when on duty, eg. during an enemy bombing raid on a UK airfield. It was also an automatic award for those who had received awards in a non-operational area, e.g. George Cross, KCBC, etc. But death from natural causes, aircraft training sorties, traffic accidents, etc did not qualify.

    The detail of Defence Medal regulations is so boring that I doubt if members would forgive me if I went much further, but suffice it to say the medal is the most misunderstood of WW2 awards.

    Jim

  3. #3
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    Default

    Almost any serviceman could qualify for the Defence Medal. The regulations are actually very clear.

    First of all any who:
    1) Full-time or part-time for not less than 3 years in the United Kingdom during the period of active hostilities in Europe between September 1939 and May 1945 in any of the categories (catagories are mentioned in the regulations and are some 50. I can add them wen needed).

    Then also could be awarded:
    2) Service in any of these categories was brought to an end before the period of 3 years’ service had been completed by injuries entitling you to a Wound Stripe.

    If not, a third catagory qualified:
    3) without regard to the 3-year requirement, you received an Honours, Decoration or Medal or King’s Commendation for brave conduct or King’s Commendation for valuable service in the air, which was published in the London Gazette, provided that when the Award or King’s Commendation was earned, you were serving in a category eligible for the Defence Medal and that the distinction was granted in respect of service qualifying for the Defence Medal (so any not qualifying for 1 or 2, but received any award mentioned in The London Gazette)

    Also qualified any person not in Britain if:
    4) undertook non-operational service in the Force overseas from or outside the country of residence. The time qualification is 1 year overseas, reduced to 6 months in those areas considered closely threatened or subjected to air attack. Such time amounting to less than a year, or 6 months as the case may be, may be added at its actual time value to service of less than 3 years at home ( so no actual air attack had to occur, but only the possible threat is enough to qualify).

    Also qualified:
    5) If you served for 3 months in a Mine and Bomb disposal unit

    Finally service could be added to each other and qualifying whe:
    6) Service in the various eligible categories may be added together providing the periods of service were not undertaken at the same time.

    So all qualifying in one of the above reasons could obtain the Defence Medal. The list of 50 catagories for civil recipients is to long to just add here.

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