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Thread: Medal Quotas?

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    Default Medal Quotas?

    Was there a limit of awards that could be given to any unit/time frame/medal during the war? The reason I ask:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7009680.ece

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    I haven't heard of that, and certainly they were not as miserly as they seem today from the article in the Times. I have a picture of C Flight from 109 Squadron taken in August of 1944 which was made up of 11 Mosquito crews, 22 men in total. Between them they were awarded 35 Gongs, composed of DSOs, DFCs & bars and DFMs & bars. Probably 1/4 of them were a result of serving on other Squadrons previous to 109. The only aircrew who wasn't decorarated in the photo had been killed before flying a major number of ops. By the end of the war that Squadron had registered 1 VC, 27 DSOs, 1 Bar to the DSO, 112 DFCs, 62 Bars to the DFC, 1 2nd Bar to the DFC and only 1 DFM. This was a Mosquito Squadron for most of the war and from late 1942 to spring 1944 they had 2 flights of about 10 crews, 40 aircrew in total. From spring of 1944 to till the end of the war they had 3 flights of about 10 crews so the number of aircrew was only around 60 at any given time. There didn't seem to be restrictions there, given the small number of aircrew involved.
    Regards
    Dave Wallace
    Last edited by David Wallace; 31st January 2010 at 15:32.

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    Isn't it infurating when you know you've read something in passing, but can't find it for looking? I was under the impression that there was some form of guideline (official or unofficial) for controlling the number of awards to an individual unit within a set period of time, based on parameters like unit size and type, Command, operational area, hours flown, etc. but I'm having precious little luck finding anything more concrete!

    The best I can do are a couple of forum posts, one by Hugh Halliday and one referencing him, which mention a "quota system". This is the most informative one

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4852

    On a related note, I wonder if the quota was applied to both immediate and non-immediate awards? And perhaps Hugh can help you (And me, now!) out further.

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    Some examples from early in the war (which may enlighten or confuse):


    LEWIS, P/O Raymond Grant (41852) - Mention in Despatches - No.1 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 January 1941. Home in Vancouver. Appointed Acting Pilot Officer on Probation, RAF, 1 April 1939. To No.1 Squadron (then in France), 26 November 1939. On 12 May 1940 shot down a Bf.109 but was himself shot down; parachuting to safety, he was nevertheless imprisoned by French civilians who mistook him for a German; he was let go after several hours. Destroyed one Ju.88, 30 October 1940. Killed in action, 5 February 1941, still with No.1 Squadron; name on Runnymede Memorial.

    Public Record Office Air 2/8884 has a recommendation for a DFC which apparently did not go through. The same document has the quota formula for Advanced Air Striking Force non-immediate awards for May 1940. There had ben 1,444 flying hours carried over from April 1940, to which were added 2,223 hours in May (total of 2,667). Application of a divisor (150) gave a figure of 24 awards, but there had already been 17 immediate awards plus two Victoria Cross awards made, leaving only five. The Advanced Air Striking Force was, on this occasion, recommending 38 awards (one Bar to DFC, 17 DFCs, 17 DFMs, one MM and two Military Medals). It may well be that his DFC did not go through because the quota was so restricted on this occasion.

    "Since 10th May 1940, this officer has been involved in four combats with, two of which were against a much superior force of enemy fighters and each time he shot down one enemy aircraft. On the latter occasion he had to land by parachute. His courage is undauntable and no odds are too great for him."

    * * * * *

    EDE, F/O Herman Francis Grant (33307) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.263 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 8 June 1940. Born in Bermuda, 17 February 1917; attended Trinity College School, Port Hope (information from Trinity College School: Old Boys at War (Port Hope, 1948); served at Narvik; lost on HMS Glorious, 9 June 1940. Commonwealth War Graves Commission confirms tenuous Canadian connection as parents living at Pembroke, Bermuda. Public Records Office Air 2/4571 has recommendation dated 25 May 1940 by S/L J.W. Donaldson. I shall not quote it here but leap directly to the topic of allocations:

    In sending the awards for Ede and A.T. Williams to Air Ministry, the number of awards permitted to the North Western Expeditionary Force (Air Component) - the name given to the RAF in the Narvik Expedition - is calculated as follows:

    Operational Flying Hours - 1,252

    Awards permissible - 1,252 divided by 200 = 6 (less one already made,) = 5 (DFC already made to F/L Hull) )

    Awards recommended - 4 (3 DFC and 1 DFM)

    Mentions recommended - 10 (Proportion: 2 ½ per award = 12

    Further notes indicate that as of June 1940, Air Ministry was concerned because the Army scale was six awards per 5,000 troops every six months, and in other circumstances a maximum of one award per 250 troops. If the Air Component (with 400 ranks) had been governed by the same rule, there would have been less than two awards to the RAF. The divisor of 200 was borrowed from Fighter Command.

    It is clear that of the officers recommended (F/O Ede, F/L Williams, P/O Louis Reginald Jacobsen) together with Sergeant H.H. Kitchener) at least one (Williams) had been put up for awards after the sinking of HMS Glorious. The Air Ministry seems to have ignored this in respect to the ban on posthumous awards; the men were deemed alive (hopefully as POWs) until proven otherwise. However, the policy of "no awards to POWs" was skirted in a minute dated 26 July 1940:

    "The three officers are missing, and may, therefore, be prisoners of war, but as they were on board H.M.S. "Glorious" when she was sunk I do not think they could be regarded as in any way to blame for their capture..."

    * * * * *

    BROWN, F/L Mark Henry (37904) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.1 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette 30 July 1940. For purposes of this query, I edit data to the following:

    Public Records Office Air 2/6085 (Non-Immediate Awards, 1940-1941) has recommendation as well as the formula for computing Advanced Air Striking Force awards for June 1940. The force had logged 2,775 hours; the operative divisor was 150. This gave a figure of 18 allowable awards, but as thirteen had already been granted (immediate awards), only five additional awards were deemed feasible. Nevertheless, authorities were advancing the names of 14 flying nominees (eleven DFCs and three DFMs) plus five periodic awards (one MC, one EGM and three MMs).

    When Brown was awarded a Czech decoration, Air Ministry grumbled. Public Record Office Air 2/6123 has correspondence relating to this award. Its genesis was in a letter dated 13 May 1941 from J. Sejnoha, Chief of Protocol, Czechoslovak Republic Chancellery, to Robert Dunbar of the Foreign Office. This expressed the Czech wish to bestow the award and provided a detailed citation:

    "This officer has up to the present shot down 17 enemy aircraft. As the leader of a British fighter wing, to which 11 Czechoslovak airmen have been attached, he has shown particular interest in, and effective understanding of, our Czechoslovak cause. He has displayed great devotion in directing the training of the Czechoslovak pilots and has personally led them into action, particularly in engagements in northern France in which they achieved exceptional success."

    Internally the RAF grumbled that the Czech award appeared to be a duplicate of his Bar to DFC. At the same time, the Czechs had bestowed 22 awards on British personnel as opposed to six British awards to Czech personnel. Nevertheless, an official wrote, “While it is undesirable to increase the debt, it seems hardly possible to refuse the offer.” British approval was according communicated to the Czechs on 3 June 1941.

    * * * * *

    VALACHOS, F/O Peter John (41225) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.99 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 11 February 1941. Again, editing my material to the task at hand, I note Public Records Office Air 2/8888 details December 1940 quotas for Bomber Command as follows:

    Flying hours - 8,957

    Awards permissible - 9,868 divided by 150 = 59 less 5 immediate awards = 54

    Awards recommended in submission - 52 (24 DFCs and 28 DFMs)


    * * * * *


    WILLIS, F/O David Alexander (40331) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.10 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 7 May 1940. Public Records Office Air 2/4072 has recommendation dated 10 November 1939 in the form of an extract from a report by W/C W.E. Staton, MC, DFC, Commanding Officer of No.10 Squadron and subsequent comment by other officers. For our purposes, this document details February 1940 quotas for Bomber Command as follows:

    Flying hours - 973

    Awards permissible - 973 divided by 150 = 6 (no immediate awards made in February)

    Awards recommended in submission - 2 (one DFC and one EGM; see Wickenkamp).


    * * * * *

    And finally, for a Coastal Command take on this matter, consider:

    McLAREN, F/O Andrew Hood (39019) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.233 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 16 April 1940.

    Public Records Office Air 2/4078 (Recommendations for Awards, Non-Immediate, Coastal Command, 1939-1940) has a detailed recommendation dated 25 February 1940 compiled by W/C W.C.P. Bullock, Commanding Officer of No.233 Squadron and subsequent comments by other officers. Air 2/4078 has a list of subsequent citations for approved Coastal Command awards. This includes some notes indicating how awards were granted at that time. Coastal Command had flown 6,498 hours in January 1940 and 6,085 hours in February 1940 (total of 12,583 hours). A divisor factor of 1,000 was applied, making the Command eligible for twelve gallantry awards. From this were deducted two "immediate" awards already granted in January and two "non-immediate" awards granted in February, leaving six to be distributed.
    Last edited by HughAHalliday; 7th February 2010 at 04:09.

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    Thanks Hugh, very informative.

    I'll bookmark this one for future reference!

    Just as an aside for others reading this thread, F/O Ede and his 263 Sqn colleagues missing after the sinking of the Glorious were not officially presumed to have been killed until 30 October 1941, over a year later.

    Regards,

    Jeff

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    Hi,

    Just a quick question for David Wallace, I just came across this thread and wondered about the following...

    'By the end of the war that Squadron (109 Squadron) had registered 1 VC, 27 DSOs, 1 Bar to the DSO, 112 DFCs, 62 Bars to the DFC, 1 2nd Bar to the DFC and only 1 DFM.'

    One DFM to a squadron sounds incredible, could you help me with the source of the statemant and who won the DFM?

    Many thanks,

    Russ

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    The subject of quotas is a thorny issue in todays' armed forces and there is reason to believe that a quota system was operated in WWII. One has only to look at the way awards were given to members of a bomber crew and particularly the way immediate and non-immediate awards of the DFC and DFM were allocated.

    I know that the awards for the New Year's Honours and Queen's Birthday Honours Lists are compiled against a quota and have been involved myself in the process of 'picking up the golden pen' to ensure a recommendation gets through.

    I also know as fact that at the conclusion of Gulf War I in 1991, gallantry awards were made against as quota. There was a wg cdr in MOD whose task was to analyse nominations against every conceivable 'cut' that can be imagined, in order to ensure an equitable distribution - the Army and Navy: thank the Lord, ignored such nonsence.

    As an aside, it is common currency that Major Richard D Winters (of Band of Brothers fame) was denied a Congressional Medal of Honour because one had been awarded for D-Day in the 101 Airborne Division.

    Medals are wonderful and look very good on the uniform - but they don't pay the mortgage and it costs a great deal of money to get one's medals remounted if they give you another one!!

    Old Duffer

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    Hi Russ
    That medal total came from "Beam Bombers - The Secret War of 109 Squadron" By Michael Cumming
    109 Squadron was a bit out of the ordinary. They did Pathfinder Oboe marking and almost all the aircrew on the squadron were on their second tour of ops. The few that were on their first tour were usually very experienced pilots who had taught beam approach landings. I will try to find out who won the DFM.
    As an example my father was in C Flight in Aug./44 and that picture of the aircrew I referred to of C Flight which had 22 aircrew in total, 11 Pilots and 11 Navigators. There were two Flight Sergeants, three Flying Officers, nine Flight Lieutenants and eight Squadron Leaders.
    In total those 22 men were awarded 41 decorations by the end of the war. Six of of the 22 flew over 100 ops, and 3 or 4 of them flew over 130. The most was 145 ops. Most aircrew at 109 finished up with totals of 80 to 90 ops but there were at least 20 that flew over 100 ops in total.
    Since they were Pathfinders they went up a rank once they were temorarily awarded the Pathfinder badge after they had proved their skills, so there were very few aircrew at any given time on the squadron that were not officers and almost all (except for 1) had become officers by the time they had earned a decoration. There were some on the squadron that had been awarded the DFM and some had earned a Bar to the DFM. The C Flight photo has three men that had DFMs and one of them had a Bar as well but they earned them before they got to the Squadron, on their first tours.
    109 Squadron was fairly small from an aircrew standpoint, only 30 Pilots and 30 Navigators at any given time, but they were very experienced and flew lots of ops so they were awarded lots of Gongs. They would usually send crews out marking for the main force to 5 to 10 different targets a day and it wasn't unusual for a crew to fly more than one op in a day.
    Cheers
    Dave
    Last edited by David Wallace; 30th September 2011 at 21:16. Reason: spelling correction

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    Hi Russ
    I looked through my awards list for 109 Squadron which is by no means complete and I couldn't find the DFM receipient. It is a needle in a haystack but maybe someone else will be able to give that to you.
    The medal count is on Page 176 of "Beam Bombers".
    Cheers
    Dave

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    Russ / David

    Ian Tavender’s book “The Distinguished Flying Medal Register for the Second Word War” records the following two personnel as having been awarded the DFM when serving with 109 Squadron : -

    Kyle, John Williams 912596 Sergeant No. 109 Sqn.
    LG 13/3/1942, Sorties 19, Flying hours 73.25 : Wireless Operator. Air 2/9262.

    This NCO has been employed in a wireless investigation and development unit and in No. 109 Squadron as a special Wireless Operator since 21st. June 1940. He has carried out 19 flights concerned with counter measures against the German offensive beam system and has proved himself to be exceptionally capable and reliable in his duties. Of his 19 operational flights, 8 have been flights for the “Trinity” operations. Sergeant Kyle is 51 years of age and by his great energy and enthusiasm and his complete disregard for danger, he has set a superb example to all flying personnel. His excellent effect on the moral of the aircrews, particularly in connection with the “Trinity” operations cannot be too highly praised.
    8th. January 1942

    Remarks by Station Commander
    I cannot speak too highly of the admirable example set by this airman who, despite his age, invariably displays unbounded enthusiasm for his aircrew duties. I can emphatically endorse his Squadron Commander’s remarks on the subject of his bravery and devotion to duty. His coolness in times of stress and his perpetual air or cheerfulness exercise a remarkably good and steadying influence on the younger members of the crews with whom he flys. On “Trinity” operations, his task was the difficult one of controlling the special beam receiver in the air.

    Remarks by Group Commander
    This NCO’s coolness in carrying out his duties under heavy fire was most marked and, in view of his age, was much admired by the young aircrews with whom he was working. I strongly recommend him for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

    ----

    Leigh, Kenneth 1684777 Acting Flight Sergeant No. 109 Sqn.
    LG 7/12/1945, Sorties 32, Flying hours 110 : Navigator. Air 2/8772

    Flight Sergeant K. Leigh came to the squadron as a spare Navigator and has since teamed up with three different pilots. Notwithstanding these rapid changes, he produced uniformly good results and has become a member of one of our most reliable crews. He has taken part in marking for strategical and tactical targets with equal success. He is a very fine Navigator, full of fight and his 32 sorties make him very worthy of the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.
    6th. June 1945

    Remarks by Station Commander
    This NCO has proved in his operational career to have outstanding courage, coolness and skill well above the average as a Navigator. I can strongly recommend him for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

    Best wishes

    Douglas

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