View Full Version : Honours for Honours

4th September 2009, 14:35
Behind the recommendation, investigation and approval of awards were staff personnel, a few of whom were in turn recognized for their efforts. The following (doubtless a sample of many more) illustrate such individuals. One example is drawn from RCAF awards; the balance are RAF:

JEFFRIES, Francis Bernard, A/W/C (74144, Royal Air Force) - Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Air Force - Officer, Order of the British Empire - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 January 1945. Public Record Office Air 2/8872 has recommendation.

"Wing Commander Jeffries has held the post of P.1 at Headquarters, Fighter Command, from April 1943 until 15th November 1943, when he was posted to Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Air Force as Wing Commander, P.1. He has at all times accomplished his work, which is of a very exacting and confidential nature, in a most efficient and meticulous manner. He has never spared himself, and has worked very long hours. Particularly praiseworthy is the thorough manner in which he has dealt with all Honours and Awards recommendations before submission to the Air Commander-in-Chief. Wing Commander Jeffries is a first class Staff Officer and his handling of the many problems with which P.1 is faced has always been of the highest order."

McLAREN, Marion Margaret, Leading Aircraftwoman (461348, Women's Auxiliary Air Force) - Bomber Command Headquarters - British Empire Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 13 June 1946. Public Record Office Air 2/9668, courtesy of Tom Thorne, has citation.

"This airwoman is employed in the Personnel Section at the Command Headquarters. She has been responsible since October 1942 for a very large volume of work connected with all recommendations for honours and awards, which at the peak period of bomber operations reached a total of over 1,000 a month. Since the cessation of hostilities there have been innumerable queries regarding decorations and a large quantity of research and correspondence connected with the consideration of awards to ex-prisoners of war. The success with which such matters have been handled has been largely due to the high standard of initiative, attention to detail, speed, accuracy and efficiency of this airwoman's work, as well as the high standard of documentation and recording which she has achieved by long hours of work, far in excess of her normal duty. Leading Aircraftwoman McLaren has also assisted, to a large extent, the clerical staff of the Manning Section. Her outstanding efficiency and personal example have been an inspiration to all ranks and she has shown extreme and wholehearted devotion to duty throughout her service."

PELL, Kenneth Wright, A/W/C (27140 Royal Air Force Reserve of Officers) - Headquarters, Coastal Command - Officer, Order of the British Empire - awarded as per London Gazette dated 14 June 1945. Public Record Officer Air 2/9056 (courtesy of Steve Brew) has citation. "P.1 matters" probably refers to honours and awards.

"This officer has been employed on Personnel Staff duties for over three years and during this period the standard of his work has been excellent. A large portion of his duties has been the sole handling of all P.1 matters and his judgement, knowledge and hard work has been of great value to the Command,"

ROBERTSON, Robert, Acting Warrant Officer (591116, Royal Air Force) - Headquarters, Base Air Forces, South-East Asia - Member, Order of the British Empire - awarded as per London Gazette dated 13 June 1946. Public Record Office Air 2/9668, courtesy of Tom Thorne, has citation.

"This Non-Commissioned Officer has acted as Warrant Officer in charge of Personnel Staff for eleven months. In addition to his normal duties, he relieved his Senior Personnel Staff Officer of the detailed work on honours and awards and confidential matters. He has worked tirelessly and reliably at all times and has been a great asset to the whole of the Personnel Staff during a most difficult period."

WOODS, Kenneth William, Warrant Officer (591067, Royal Air Force) - Headquarters, Air Command, South-East Asia - Member, Order of the British Empire - awarded as per London Gazette dated 13 June 1946. Public Record Office Air 2/9668, courtesy of Tom Thorne, has citation.

"This Non-Commissioned Officer is Administrative Warrant Officer for Personnel Staff. He took over the duties of Warrant Officer in charge of P.2 Section in December 1942. At that time Personnel Staff scarcely existed at Air Headquarters, India. There were very few records and the fall of Singapore and Burma, early in the year, had caused a considerable influx of personnel from the Far East; a state of chaos existed which had to be rectified by a very small administrative staff. In June 1943, Warrant Officer Woods took over his present duties and also those of confidential clerk to the Senior Personnel Staff Officer. This section has been involved in three moves of the Headquarters which have added considerably to the responsibilities and work of this Warrant Officer. He has been personally responsible for the highly confidential correspondence in connection with awards and decorations for the whole of the Command and has proved himself to be completely trustworthy, accurate and conscientious, setting a fine example to his juniors."

VILA, S/L John Augustus (C13520) - Member, Order of the British Empire - AFHQ - Award effective 1 January 1946 as per Canada Gazette of that date and AFRO 82/46 dated 25 January 1946. Born 19 April 1910. Enlisted in Toronto, 21 August 1942 in Administrative List with rank of Pilot Officer and posted to No.5 Manning Depot. To No.17 Equipment Depot, 4 September 1942. To "E", 2 October 1942. To No.3 Training Command, 14 November 1942. To No.13 SFTS, 16 November 1942. To No.4 EFTS, 30 December 1942. To AFHQ, 23 January 1943. Promoted Flying Officer, 15 February 1943. Promoted Squadron Leader, 1 February 1945. To Release Centre, 2 December 1945; released 5 December 1945. Award presented 24 April 1948. Following the war he was employed with the Economical Insurance Group, and was its President from 1971 to 1978. Died in Kitchener, Ontario, 10 April 2008..

"This officer, who is Secretary of the Honours and Awards Committee, has made an invaluable contribution to the Royal Canadian Air Force. The volume of work handled by his section has constantly increased and become more involved and has required imagination, a wide knowledge and the highest efficiency, all of which this officer has supplied. Squadron Leader Vila's close co-operation with Government House, in connection with the investitures held in Ottawa, has been the subject of letters of appreciation from the Assistant Secretary to the Governor General. This officer, on his own volition, put in many long hours of overtime, has been tireless in his work and has set aside his own personal interests for the good of the Service. His devotion to duty has been an example to all."

4th September 2009, 14:39
Hi Hugh,
many thanks for this interesting post! Never heard before that someone can get an award for work on awards for others:-)


David Duxbury
4th September 2009, 22:14
Have enjoyed reading through these citations of individuals whose work was usually far from the front line, yet who obviously found great satisfaction in their work of honouring those who were out in the field. And in one case at least, one of your subjects seems to have been doing much of the work which apparently should rightly have been undertaken by his superior. As such, somebody even higher up the chain of command most have noticed who was actually doing the hard work, as surely the immediate superior would not draw attention to this fact!
David D