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HughAHalliday
21st February 2010, 20:44
I hope to post shortly a list of transcribed citations to non-flying awards to personnel, gazetted 13 June 1946. However, I wish to draw attention to some of the more interesting of such personnel. The work of the Central Depository will be of particular interest to those curious about the functions of that organization. The example of Corporal Jones illustrates how even the most humble trades could be recognized, in this case for a small but significant contribution to POW rehabilitation.

COTTRELL, William Frederick, Corporal (508508, Royal Air Force) - Central Depository, Colnbrook - 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 non-commissioned officer is employed in the Despatch Section of the Central Depository for deceased airmenís effects. He has been engaged on these duties since July 1940. During this period, he has been employed in most sections of the unit, including the checking of personal effects, storekeeping and the despatch section. In each of these departments he has given satisfactory service and has been an outstanding example to his fellows. Apart from his normal work he has taken part in all general activities of the station, including the charge of the Fire Fighting Section. His outstanding ability and the confidence placed in him has frequently led to his employment on tasks which would normally be allotted to senior Non-Commissioned Officers. He has shown considerable ability and devotion to duty in a task which is naturally of a morbid nature and often unpleasant. He displayed exemplary conduct and material assistance in preserving order during a bombing incident in 1940 when the house in which he and others were billeted in Colnbrook village received considerable damage."

CULLEN, Leslie Gordon, A/S/L (86500, RAFVR*) - Central Royal Air Force Depository, Colnbrook - Public Record Office Air 2/9668, courtesy of Tom Thorne, has recommendation for an MBE intended for the Birthday Honours List of June 1946. Not approved and no other award found; transcribed for the historical record.

"This officer has been head of the correspondence section of the standing committee of adjustment at the Central Depository for a considerable period. He was posted to the Depository in October 1940. In civil life, Squadron Leader Cullen was a qualified solicitor and, at the present task, he has achieved a high degree of efficiency and has made good use of his legal knowledge. His correspondence with the next of kin of deceased personnel has always been conducted with great care, forethought and sympathy. The weight of correspondence has been extremely great and the burden placed upon this officer has been increased owing to inexperienced staff and constant changes due to service postings. Squadron Leader Cullen has performed a difficult and trying task with great efficiency and devotion to duty."

OXLEY, Arnold, Flight Sergeant (336193, Royal Air Force) - Central Depository, Colnbrook - British Empire Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 January 1946. Public Record Office Air 2/9056 has citation, originally drafted for Birthday Honours List of 1945..

"This airman has for a considerable time been employed as Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the Committee of Adjustment Registry. This Committee deals with some hundreds of files weekly and he has discharged his duties not only with outstanding skill, but with great determination and zeal. When the pressure of work has been great he has been required to work long hours. By his outstanding devotion to duty Flight Sergeant Oxley has set a high example to his subordinates who have loyally cooperated with him. He has displayed great devotion to duty and conscientiousness."

ROBINSON, Leonard Pritchard, A/S/L (86509, RAFVR*) - Central Depository, Colnbrook - 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.

"Squadron Leader Robinson is employed as officer in charge of the effects section of the Royal Air Force General Depository. He was specially selected for this post since he is a qualified solicitor. Since October 1940 his task has been to organize the reception of the kits of Royal Air Force, Dominion and Allied casualties. The energy which this officer has devoted to building up an organization which, since its inception, has proved satisfactory and adequate to deal with the formidable demands which have been made upon it, has been outstanding. Work at the General Depository, Colnbrook, is never spectacular and in dealing with effects belonging to casualties, the utmost tact and sympathetic handling are always essential. Squadron Leader Robinsonís interest in his work has been unflagging."


JONES, Ann Winter, Corporal (2092423, Womenís Auxiliary Air Force) - No.106 Personnel Reception Centre - British Empire Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 13 June 1946. Public Record Office Air 2/9668, courtesy of Tom Thorne, has citation.

"Corporal Jones is employed as a Tailoress in the Personnel Reception Centre for ex-prisoners of war since the unitís inception. This Non-Commissioned Officer has performed outstanding work in ensuring that all personnel repatriated from Continental prisoner of war camps proceed home correctly tailored in their uniforms. The rate at which the personnel was dealt with in the unit at times caused the task to appear unsurmountable but her unfailing desire and keenness for the well being of the ex-prisoners of war resulted in her overcoming what seemed to be impossible. Her energy and drive were an inspiration to her colleagues. She is an excellent Non-Commissioned Officer with boundless enthusiasm and unlimited zeal."

CZ_RAF
22nd February 2010, 11:24
Many thanks Hugh for interesting posts!
For me the most interesting is the sentence from citation of
COTTRELL: "He has shown considerable ability and devotion to duty in a task which is naturally of a morbid nature and often unpleasant." To spend the whole war in such a department - I will have a nightmares and the dead airmen will persecute me every night. I can not imagine howe many estates he saw...

Pavel