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Laird of Camster

DCM to Officers?

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Laird of Camster

Aye Aye Gents & Ladies,

Where DCMs awarded to Officers?

R M.

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roughdiamond

Simply, no!

However an Officer may have one if they earned and were presented with it before being "raised from the ranks" with a Commission, it's also conceivable that due to the gap between an action and the Gazetting of the DCM for that action, the Soldier may have been commissioned and received the DCM as an Officer, but he could not have earned it as one, the Officer equivilent medal was the DSO.

Do you have a particular example in mind?

Sam

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Laird of Camster

Thanks Sam, no I`ve not example in mind. I just wondered. I assume that if he won it as an OR but wasn`t awarded it till he was an Officer, that it would be engraved with his OR details? I also wonder if as an Officer he`d be looked down on by other Officers, if he was wearing a DCM or MM medal ribbon as its a clear give away that he wasn`t a Gentleman?

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John_Hartley

as its a clear give away that he wasn`t a Gentleman?

Ah, but he was. You became an officer and, at the same time, became a gentleman. Albeit a temporary one.

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Staffsyeoman

Partner's grandfather - a Boer War veteran - was awarded a DCM for First Ypres in 1914. By the time it was Gazetted in January, he had already been commissioned in the field and was returning to the UK on a hospital train having been wounded by an incoming shell. The story goes that a fellow wounded officer on the train said 'That's your name, isn't it? You've got the DCM'. It is impressed with his rank and battalion at time of award. Both were different by January. No, Other Ranks' awards are not named to officers if they are subsequently commissioned.

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Steven Broomfield

I also wonder if as an Officer he`d be looked down on by other Officers, if he was wearing a DCM or MM medal ribbon as its a clear give away that he wasn`t a Gentleman?

And a contrary view would be that even if he weren't a gentleman, he was a very brave non-gentleman, so probably wouldn't be too looked down on. Remember also that they were commissioning on merit as well as by breeding by mid-war so the Mess may well have a lot of temporary gentlemen.

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bill24chev

. Remember also that they were commissioning on merit as well as by breeding by mid-war so the Mess may well have a lot of temporary gentlemen.

Have you ever wondered why OR's eat in the cookhouse, drink in the canteen and sleep in a barrack block/room but Officers, WO's & SNCO' and hairy bottomed deckapes live and eat in a mess?

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Laird of Camster

I was just thinking of `Goodbye to all that`, where Robert Graves, mentions newly commisioned Officers, being refered to as warts and Indian army Officers being considered as inferia to the Sandhurst mob. I`m sure he also maks mention in there of an Officer with the MM who was snubbed in the Mess as having come from the ranks.

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Stoppage Drill

Mmm. Since the award of the MM was abolished about 10 years ago, and all ranks became eligible for an MC, a reverse snobbery has applied (in some quarters.) The reason is that an MC is an order which can be awarded not only for bravery, but also for outstanding service.

An MM, on the other hand, is a medal which was only ever awarded for brave conduct.

So when you see a man wearing an MM ribbon you know he has been brave in battle. When you see the MC, you are not so sure.

Soldiers have their funny little ways.

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centurion

I also wonder if as an Officer he`d be looked down on by other Officers, if he was wearing a DCM or MM medal ribbon as its a clear give away that he wasn`t a Gentleman?

Given that a vast number of officers in the war entered the army as privates and were later sent to a cadet unit before becoming an officer this is extremely unlikely

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Old Owl

Mmm. Since the award of the MM was abolished about 10 years ago, and all ranks became eligible for an MC, a reverse snobbery has applied (in some quarters.) The reason is that an MC is an order which can be awarded not only for bravery, but also for outstanding service.

An MM, on the other hand, is a medal which was only ever awarded for brave conduct.

So when you see a man wearing an MM ribbon you know he has been brave in battle. When you see the MC, you are not so sure.

Soldiers have their funny little ways.

The Military Cross is actually a Decoration rather than an Order, and can as you say be awarded for specific acts of gallantry or for good service over a period. Sadly during WW1 it seems that both the DCM and MM fell into a similar pattern as the MC, with many of each of these awards having been awarded for good service over a period rather than for specific acts of gallantry.

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squirrel

I also wonder if as an Officer he`d be looked down on by other Officers, if he was wearing a DCM or MM medal ribbon as its a clear give away that he wasn`t a Gentleman?

Quite the contrary I should have thought. Officers were usually very proud of their men who had won awards so there is no reason to suppose that they would have looked down on decorated soldiers who had been commisioned.

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Staffsyeoman

Actually, the MC cannot be awarded for 'distinguished service'. When initially instituted there was allowance in its 1914 statutes for this to be done - it is how the Prince of Wales (Later Edward VIII) got one whilst serving as a 'staff wallah' far from the front line. The provision for this was removed - I'll have to ferret for the date - but I think in late 1915 or early 1916 due to considerable discontent amongst the officers. Even the 'periodic' awards later in the war (those Gazetted in January and June without published citation) contained an element of 'gallantry' - sometimes over an extended period.

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Laird of Camster

That all being said, where do MBEs & OBEs, etc fit into the mash?

I still think that the snobbery would have been there is the Mess perhaps not with the Kitchener or TA Regiments, but certainly in the old Regular battalions, whilst that generation of Officer still existed.

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Steven Broomfield

I was just thinking of `Goodbye to all that`, where Robert Graves, mentions newly commisioned Officers, being refered to as warts and Indian army Officers being considered as inferia to the Sandhurst mob. I`m sure he also maks mention in there of an Officer with the MM who was snubbed in the Mess as having come from the ranks.

Long time since I read that particular mish-mash of memoir and romanticism, but I believe in the former case he was referring to a Regular battalion recently returned from India, and with a large number of pre-war officers still there. Over the course of the war this attitude, as already suggested, will have changed: remember Graves was entering a very tight clique.

As for the latter I'm afraid I can't remember, but I suspect it was rare, and Graves is not the most reliable of historians.

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Laird of Camster

Long time since I read that particular mish-mash of memoir and romanticism, but I believe in the former case he was referring to a Regular battalion recently returned from India, and with a large number of pre-war officers still there. Over the course of the war this attitude, as already suggested, will have changed: remember Graves was entering a very tight clique.

As for the latter I'm afraid I can't remember, but I suspect it was rare, and Graves is not the most reliable of historians.

Good point, well made!

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centurion

Indeed - it should be remembered that "Goodbye to All That" is not a history but a novel albeit a partly autobiographical one. Graves was a novelist with a good knowledge of history but he did sometimes exaggerate for effect. Chapman's description of some of his fellow officers in "A Passionate Prodigality" gives a very different picture.

"Gallant Gentlemen" a history of the British Officer has a good chapter describing how quickly the background and attitude of the average British officer changed in WW1 as there was a huge influx of predominately middle class officers with established civilian careers.

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Old Owl

That all being said, where do MBEs & OBEs, etc fit into the mash?

I think that this is a rather tricky subject, although if you mean in order of wearing? then the OBE takes place in precedence to the MC, DCM and MM, but follows the VC and DSO.,

I believe.

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was instituted in 1917 as predominantly a reward for meritorious service in both the Civil and Military. In June, 1917 a lesser award was instituted, this being the Medal of the Order of the British Empire. This was initially intended for the Civil Division only, but in December, 1918 it was also extended to a Military Division. Between August 1917 and March 1922 approximately 2000 of these medals were awarded inclusively to the Civil and Military Divisions. I am not absolutely certain on numbers but I believe that a few hundred of these medals were also awarded to foreign nationals, mainly Belgian and French Agents who worked for the Allied forces in collecting information on troop movements, etc.. These awards are not shown in the London Gazette, whereas all those to British subjects are recorded therein. As with other issues within the Order, the only differential between the Civil and Military awards is the ribbon.

This medal was replaced in December,1922, by the British Empire Medal for Meritorious Service and the Empire Gallantry Medal--which was superceeded by the George Cross in September 1940.

Not sure if this helps?

Robert

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Old Owl

I was just thinking of `Goodbye to all that`, where Robert Graves, mentions newly commisioned Officers, being refered to as warts and Indian army Officers being considered as inferia to the Sandhurst mob. I`m sure he also maks mention in there of an Officer with the MM who was snubbed in the Mess as having come from the ranks.

I think that the term 'warts' is more a public school term akin to the rather low status of the 'new boys' in 'the school' aka 'the battalion', after all for many officers the army was, and still is to a degree, an extension of public school life. As for Indian Army officers being considered inferior, it must be remembered that many of these actually passed through Sandhurst prior to WW1. Of course, it may be that he was simply referring to those who had been commissioned during WW1 from Quetta and other colleges in India? Whether or not his comments as to their inferiority were justified, I don't know.

I wonder if this chap was snubbed in the Mess? I sincerely hope not!!

Edgar Marsden Kermode was born and lived in the outskirts of Bradford. His father was a wealthy business man in Bradford and provided education for his son at King William's College, Isle of Man. Edgar enlisted in the 6th West Yorks, the local battalion, on the outbreak of war and proceeded to France in April, 1915. He was awarded the DCM in December, 1915 for rescuing men during a gas attack in which he himself was badly gassed and made blind for two weeks. Upon recovering sufficiently he returned home in March 1916, and spent several months acting as an instructor at Otley. He received his commission into the West Yorks in March, 1917. He was awarded the MC in October, 1917 and the bar to his MC and the DSO, these both gazetted 18/9/18, almost two months after his death from wounds received in action. All his awards have excellent fighting citations and the last three were all awarded to him as a 2/Lt, the rank he held when he was killed at the age of 22 years.

God rest his gallant soul.

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squirrel

Handwritten note sent to the wife of a Private who had been awarded the DCM for repairing telephones lines under fire:

Dear Mrs.....

I am sending you the paperwork that goes with your husband's DCM as we do not know which hospital he is in.

He has alway done such splendid work and I can't tell you how proud we all are of him.

Lt.... i/c Brigade Sig. Coy.

Not that he was commisioned but I I find it hard to believe that Officers such as the one who wrote the note would look down on him if he had been.

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Andrew Upton

I think that the term 'warts' is more a public school term akin to the rather low status of the 'new boys' in 'the school' aka 'the battalion', after all for many officers the army was, and still is to a degree, an extension of public school life.

The term "warts" is a derogatory reference to a newly commissioned Officers single "pip" worn on each shoulder, which does indeed look a bit wart like, and nothing to do with public school...

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Old Owl

The term "warts" is a derogatory reference to a newly commissioned Officers single "pip" worn on each shoulder, which does indeed look a bit wart like, and nothing to do with public school...

Well that is strange, because when I was at Public School 'new boys' were often referred to as 'warts' and worse--but then what would I know? Perhaps the nickname was passed back through the system by old boys who had joined the army?

Quote from Longman Concise English Dictionary:

Wart, 1) a horny projection on the skin, usu of the hands or feet-----, 2) an ugly or objectionable man or boy--chiefly Br school-boy slang, 3) a blemish.

Combine these definitions and we have the perfect description, in school-boy terms, of the average new boy at a Public School, and I have no doubt whatsoever that the term will still be in use to this day!!

Strangely no mention of an officer's pips in the dictionary!!

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Laird of Camster

Thanks to everyone who has posted a reply to my thread, very interesting reading all round!!!!!!!!!!!

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scottmarchand

Also note that the the DCM was for "Distinguished Conduct" not limited to Gallantry in the original warrant. Sort of the OR's DSO. The MM was instituted to bridge the wide gap in stature and applicability between the DCM and an MID. It wasn't until later once the MM as an operational gallantry award that the DCM became more common to corporals and higher and typically for good work under fire, verus general good work as you sometimes see earlier in the war c.1914 and back in the Boer War era. A lot though depended on the manner in which the reccomendation was written and the attitude of GHQ staff officers to rewarding the men. There is a wide gulf between the number of medals reccomended and those awarded. It was not unusual for the GHQ staff or other reviewing authorites to downgrade an award reccomendation, e.g. an MM or MID versus a DCM, equally as it was at times upgraded, some DCM's were upgraded to VC's (although not many) and many reccomendations were simply rejected. It is a very murky and complicated area and the minds nd teh attitudes of the 21st centruy often have trouble getting in the heads of the culture and of men a century ago to better grasp the why's and why nots of medallic award. Also, these could only be promulgated to living soldiers, the only posthumous awards were the MiD and VC. Many gallantry reccomendations that would have been apporved and issued were canceled when the intended recipient was killed in action before publication in the Gazette, automatically changed to an MiD - unless it was a VC award.

Clear as mud eh?

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Old Owl

Also note that the the DCM was for "Distinguished Conduct" not limited to Gallantry in the original warrant. Sort of the OR's DSO. The MM was instituted to bridge the wide gap in stature and applicability between the DCM and an MID. It wasn't until later once the MM as an operational gallantry award that the DCM became more common to corporals and higher and typically for good work under fire, verus general good work as you sometimes see earlier in the war c.1914 and back in the Boer War era. A lot though depended on the manner in which the reccomendation was written and the attitude of GHQ staff officers to rewarding the men. There is a wide gulf between the number of medals reccomended and those awarded. It was not unusual for the GHQ staff or other reviewing authorites to downgrade an award reccomendation, e.g. an MM or MID versus a DCM, equally as it was at times upgraded, some DCM's were upgraded to VC's (although not many) and many reccomendations were simply rejected. It is a very murky and complicated area and the minds nd teh attitudes of the 21st centruy often have trouble getting in the heads of the culture and of men a century ago to better grasp the why's and why nots of medallic award. Also, these could only be promulgated to living soldiers, the only posthumous awards were the MiD and VC. Many gallantry reccomendations that would have been apporved and issued were canceled when the intended recipient was killed in action before publication in the Gazette, automatically changed to an MiD - unless it was a VC award.

Clear as mud eh?

Thanks Scott, and yes, very, very muddy mud at that!! Can you explain how an officer of the East Kents who was KIA on 23/10/14 was awarded an MC in the LG 18/2/15 and also MID LG 17/2/15. Because the MC was not intoduced until 2 months after he was killed. His name: Lieut. George Robert Thornhill.

It defies logic--I think? and definitely the rules!!

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