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Thread: Douglas Barber Russian Medal of Valour

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    Default Re: Douglas Barber Russian Medal of Valour

    Public Records Office Air 2/4798 has details of an issuance of Soviet awards to approximately 50 RAF personnel including the "Order of Alexander Nevsky" and "Order of the Red Star" The Medal of Valour (or Medal for Valour) was described as being for "men, officers and Chiefs in the Red Army and Navy, for personal bravery and courage in the battles against the enemies of the Soviet Union on the field of battle defending the inviolability of the State borders, or fighting against saboteurs, spies and other enemies of the Soviet Union."

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    Default Re: Douglas Barber Russian Medal of Valour

    Do records in AIR 2/4798 have more detailed information than published in London Gazettes re. the Commendations for each recipient?

    I am having trouble locating AIR 2/4798.

    I am really trying to locate the actual Recommendations that supported each Commendation to better understand the Soviet links and reasons for the Soviet decree 21 March 1944 approving issuance of 90 medals in total. Seven of the approvals were for RAF fliers. Another 14 MVs were issued to the army and navy personnel (7 to each force).

    The Russian Embassy, Moscow is considering my requests.

    There is speculation about reasons for Soviet awards for actions that seem unlinked to Soviet medal criteria.

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    Default Re: Douglas Barber Russian Medal of Valour

    A brief check with the Russian online archive reveals at least two entries - one index entry and one reference to a document (included as scan).

    https://pamyat-naroda.ru/heroes/pers...teka1423199354

    https://pamyat-naroda.ru/heroes/podv...name%3D%D0%94&

    Here scan is included. The title says, that the awards are issued to the British personnel fighting common enemy in North Africa and Italy. I presume those may have been courtesy awards, not related to any cooperation with the Soviet Union.
    https://pamyat-naroda.ru/heroes/podv...name%3D%D0%94&
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: Douglas Barber Russian Medal of Valour

    I accessed the same archive and down loaded the 5 page Decree 21 March 1944. The Medal for Valour award criteria are much broader than your presumption for at several recipients of the 7 RAF airmen that received the medal e.g. Murmansk convoy protection (at least two men) and aid to they Yugoslavian Soviet partisans (Sergeant Jephson parachuted in). A Soviet link to 617 Squadron (Dambusters) recipient Chand Chandler is questionable. The squadrons attack on battleship Tirpitz, from a Soviet base, was after Chandler's award. Perhaps Tallboy bombing of submarine pens from which they operated to attack the convoys. Regardless, Chandler was the only 617 member to receive a Soviet award. Barber's possible link to Soviet interests unknown (primarily 180 and 226 squadrons but also a loan to Malta).. Also Donald Hamilton Smith and his heroics in the Malta battle, where Barber was also involved but in bombing whereas Smith was a fighter pilot. There may have been some "courtesy" involved as Great Britain had given King George sword but they were decreed upon recommendations that I have not found yet. The Russian Embassy Moscow have written to me saying a 3 month reply would be given. It has been nearly 5 months now. I have reminded them of this. The Soviet medal For Valour/Courage is a highly regarded combat medal. I am also trying to find out how many were given to foreigners. Four French pilots received the "Hero of the Soviet Union" award.

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    Default Re: Douglas Barber Russian Medal of Valour

    It is not my presumption. The page one of the document provides the reasoning behind the awards. There is no slightest mention of any cooperation with the Soviets. It says that the awards are issued to the British personnel fighting common enemy in North Africa and Italy. That is all.
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: Douglas Barber Russian Medal of Valour

    I am still confused with questions and comments. I am focusing only on RAF Medal for Valour to 7 airmen WWII. 1) I have found that AIR 2/4798 records are not digitized so unavailable on line. Are there more detailed recommendations about personnel recommended but not approved for Soviet Medal for Valour? Do the recommendations have more details than the published commendations in London Gazette which leave out information concerning e.g. Chandler's connection to 617 squadron and Operations Chastise; Jephson's connection to Operation Fungus in Yugoslavia? Censored reasons for Barber's "apparent" service in USSR? 2) I have read your 2015 RCAF Journal article on Canadian medal recipients in the RAF. You do not mention Sergeant McGuinty who I understand is the only Canadian to receive a foreign award medal during WW II. The press on Barber called his medal as the first to be awarded in Canada. Are you aware of McGuinty? His Medal for Valour is presently held by the Canada War Museum but no providence is associated with it. Curiously his Medal No. is 525535 and Barber's is 525533 thus implying consecutive number going upwards from the order listed in the 21 March 1944 Decree 3) the number of RAF recipients-- you mention ~ 50. Does this number include award/medal recipients other than the 30 included in the 1944 Soviet Decree? In that there are: (8) Service medals, (4) Order of the Red Star, (1) each for the Orders Nevsky, Kutzova and Suvorov, and Class I and II Orders of the Patriotic War (8). In other words do other Decrees exist for RAF personnel? I did find reference to at least one American soldier who received the Medal for Valour in 1945. My last question concerns another Post bringing my attention to 21 March Decree reference to North Africa and Italy. This seems to be a narrowing or broadening of the general award criteria. The inclusion of criteria related to Malta battle and bombing of Italian targets seems to better explain the award to Smith and possibly Barber. Three convoy protection medals (Murmansk), the Yugoslavian partisans actions, Dambusters actions contradict a North African Italian link as reasons for those wards which are all named under the same Decree.
    Last edited by Sikstrom; 28th October 2021 at 09:15.

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    Default Re: Douglas Barber Russian Medal of Valour

    I apologize. I bristle at the suggestion of these being "courtesy" awards. It seems that considerable effort was made in the selection and distinction efforts. The 21 March Decree does indeed reference North Africa and Italy. This seems to be a narrowing or broadening of the general award criteria. The inclusion of criteria related to Malta battle and bombing of Italian targets seems to better explain the award to Smith and possibly Barber. Three convoy protection medals (Murmansk), the Yugoslavian partisans actions, Dambusters actions contradict a North Africa/Italy link as reasons for those wards which are all named under the same Decree. Clause 1 of the certificate accompanying the Medal reads in part:
    “FOR VALOUR”
    1. The Medal “for Valour” may be awarded to Service personnel, Officers and other ranks, serving in the Workers and Peasants Red Army, The War Fleet of the Navy, and the Border Patrol Army, for personal bravery and valour in battles against the enemies of the Soviet Union in theatres of War for protecting our border and for waging war against spy and other enemies of the Soviet Government.

    Clause 8 further clarifies that: The award of the Medal is intended to set an example of bravery, manliness and valour in struggle against the enemies of the Soviet Government, and to serve as a model for other citizens in the performance of their civic duties.

    The Medal was well liked because it honours personal actions and not collective actions e.g. leadership, patriotism, service which Orders are most associated with at varying class levels 1 , 2 or 3.

    It seems that what I am really looking for now are the recommendations to the Presidium The names of the seven medal recipients are on the Russian Memorial Wall/Road but no photos have been uploaded and there is no explanation of their exploits. They deserve to be honoured and not forgotten.

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    Default Re: Douglas Barber Russian Medal of Valour

    Attn. Hugh Halliday, Pardon me if I repeat info elsewhere in this thread. A couple issues: First: I have learned that AIR 2/4798 is not digitized so not available on line. Do RAF recommendations for Soviet Valour medal exist in those records? The London Gazette commendations should be derived from them. I have separately asked Russian authorities to search for the RAF recommendations that they received. I read elsewhere that not all recommendations were approved. Do you have hardcopy already? Second: I read your CAN/RAF article in the RCAF Jounal 2015 4(2). There is no mention of McGuinty's Medal for Valour. He was an RAF Canadian and his Soviet Medal for Valour may be the first Soviet medal ever granted to a Canadian. The Canadian War Museum currently holds his medal. Third: Does your book "Valour Reconsidered: Inquiries into the Victoria Cross and other awards for bravery: Does the scope of your book include Soviet bravery medals? Note: you reference Soviet awards to "approximately 50" RAF personnel. The 21 March 1944 Decree lists 30 RAF personnel. Is "50" a typo error or an indication that other Soviet decrees for RAF personnel exist? I still have no further word from Russia.

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