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Thread: Bars to medals

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    Default Bars to medals

    Stupid question time guys.

    When a Bar was awarded to a medal what exactly was given? I have always assumed that a recipient of the DFC would not be physically given another DFC cross in a presentation case. However, if X was awarded a Bar, and trotted along to Buck Palace, what was handed over by the King? Was the Bar given in some presentation box or was a Cross given for appearances sake and then substituted for a Bar?


    See I told you it was a daft question!

    A

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    Default Not a RAF medal

    but my late husband had two bars to one of his medals plus he has his MI oak leaves, and they were given to him by our Gov. General when he was on leave here in NZ, I have the photos and they are at Gov House. They were in a small box like a broach box, I have one of them - they were then fixed to the medal ribbon, looks like they were threaded on - looking at his one now. does that help.

    Dyan

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    Not sure how it worked with British decorations, but when Polish airmen received a bar to the Krzyz Walecznych (Cross of Valour) then during the ceremony such a decoration (a whole Cross on ribbon with the bar already attached to the ribbon) was pinned on their chest. However, I have no idea if this was a 'new' cross for the ceremony's sake or if this was actually the man's own Cross (the one awarded earlier), which he had to produce in advance for the bar to be attached prior to the ceremony.

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    not a stupid question i have wondered for long time myself !!!!!!!!
    cheers tony

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    A second award of a DFC or AFC, DFM or DSO etc was signified by a small metal bar and not a second medal.

    It slides over the ribbon and is worn on the ribbon half way up when the ribbon itself is worn or otherwise as a small silver rosette on a ribbon bar. Some Commonwealth airmen won four DFC's and in this case would have their original DFC plus three small silver bars on the ribbon.

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    Amrit,
    I agree, not a stupid question at all, and something that I have wondered about myself! We still do not have a definitive answer so far, although some useful suggestions. My contribution is simply to comment that J A Ward, RNZAF (75 (NZ) Sqdn) never received his definitive Victoria Cross before he was killed some three months after the act for which he "received" his award, but he was photographed with a miniature of the award in the intervening period. As this was not the full sized award I think the miniature had to be worn on an appropriately coloured maroon ribbon. Experts may kindly care to correct me at their leisure!
    David D

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    David,

    Miniature medals are only worn on Mess kit or Dinner Jacket. As a hostilities only chap, Sgt Ward would have been most unlikely to have gone to the expense of purchasing his own mess kit. I presume that the pic of him holding a mini was only done for PR purposes (the award being promulgated before the medal was physically pinned on his chest by HM The King).

    Rgds

    Jonny

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    Jonny,
    Just a minor point, but after the outbreak of hostilities between the British Commonwealth (read Empire!) and Germany in September 1939, the requirement for officers of the RAF to possess Mess Dress was suspended "for the duration", and there was no requirement at all for "Other Airmen" to have a Mess Dress, in fact such a dress did not exist for NCOs until after WW2. Also the wearing of Mess Dress in the Officers' Mess was suspended for most occasions during the period of the "Emergency". However this only applied in the European thetare, soon extended also to Mediterranean theatre. Out in India and the Far East, Mess Dress continued to be a requirement until after December 1941. However Junior officers (P/O, F/O) were not compelled to purchase Mess Dress, although those of the rank of F/L or above in peacetime were morally obliged to possess Mess Kit. The RNZAF followed similar rules, although until just before WW2 there were no Officers' Messes at RNZAF stations, so opportunity to wear such dress was extremely limited to say the least!
    I will have to have another look at the photograph of Ward, but my recollection is that it was a very small miniature and was worn actually on the ribbon, not suspended under it.
    David D

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    Default Bars to medals

    I concur in Johnny's observation about a wartime wearing of a miniature medal - it must have been a PR set-up.

    A person awarded a decoration would be entitled to wear the ribbon of that medal from the moment that he was informed of said award (usually the day of gazetting, sometimes a day or two before). This matter of wearing a ribbon before getting the medal extended even to campaign stars which had been approved, notably the 1939-1943 Star (later renamed 1939-1945). The issuance of a Canadian Volunteer Service Medal to Canadian military personnel was approved in 1943, and such personnel were wearing the appropriate ribbon from about February 1944 onwards - even though design of the medal proper was not completed until late 1945, with issue commencing in 1946.

    The Bar to a gallantry award such as a DFC or DFM was denoted by a rosette on the ribbon (if only ribbons were being worn) or a clasp on the full ribbon when medals were being worn. To the best of my knowledge, when a man already wearing a DFC stepped up to the King (or appropriate stand-in) it was the clasp alone which was pinned on.

    I suspect, however, that in the vast majority of wartime cases, when a man was being invested with (for example) a DFC and Bar, he arrived at the ceremony already wearing the appropriate ribbon and clasp, and that the ceremony itself was the first time that he had the full-size medal (with clasp) pinned on.

    Reading "Aeroplane" between the wars, one finds that investitures followed gazetting fairly quickly, often only weeks or a couple of months from gazetting to presentation. During the war, however, months and even years might pass between gazetting and presentation, especially if the recipient was operating in a distant theatre (North Africa or India, for example). My own observations (mentioned in earlier posts) is that most RCAF recipients picked up their awards after the war, in Canada, and that a significant proportion received their decorations by mail.

    Returning briefly to the matter of campaign stars, volunteer medals, etc, I recall reading of a case, circa 1950, where, in the Canadian House of Commons, the Minister of Veterans Affairs remarked that his Department was experiencing difficulties in distributing these medals because many veterans were simply not bothering to apply for their own. Upon hearing this, three Members of Parliament approached him, admitting that they were among the delinquents.

    Having composed the above while David was adding his more recent post, I think I see the cause of confusion. Ward would, of course, be entitled to wear the ribbon of the VC from the moment it was gazetted - and the ribbon itself includes a miniature representation of the cross !
    Last edited by HughAHalliday; 20th September 2009 at 21:53. Reason: adding two more cents.

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    Thank you everyone for your informative replies. And also for not thinking it a daft question. I had thought that maybe everyone else knew what was what, except me.

    cheers
    A

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