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Laird of Camster

DCM to Officers?

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Muerrisch

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.

Robert Graves, who I admire, never let the truth get in the way of a good story, and that needs to be borne in mind.

As for a late MC etc to a dead officer, there were often significant delays in LG entries. Possibly he was put forward for a DSO [and "too many were being dished out"] which was up for decision at the time the MC was instituted.

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roughdiamond

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!!

Only speculating, but IMHO the most likely explanation is that he was nominated for a VC or DSO and it was decided by the time the nomination was processed, the newly instituded MC was more appropriate, weren't the MC and MM created because of the vast, unprecedented increase in the number of nominations due to the scale of the War, which were considered unworthy of the DSO and DCM but deserving of more than a MID?

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Staffsyeoman

Concerning the 'over award' raised by Grumpy above on the DSO; this is why from 1917 the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (normally for diplomats and spies) was given to battalion and brigade commanders for 'distinguished service'. There was a rash of them in the second half of 1918 to MGC battalion commanders. As the DSO is an Order - you are actually a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order - it cannot be awarded posthumously. I have seen plenty of MCs gazetted with (since deceased) appended. And Rough is right, the whole reason for the institution of the MC and the MM (and the Distinguished Service Medal for the Royal Navy) was to reward the increase in numbers of nominations.

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Old Owl

Robert Graves, who I admire, never let the truth get in the way of a good story, and that needs to be borne in mind.

As for a late MC etc to a dead officer, there were often significant delays in LG entries. Possibly he was put forward for a DSO [and "too many were being dished out"] which was up for decision at the time the MC was instituted.

This would appear to be the only logical explanation, although I was, and still am under the impression that the only awards which could be made posthumously were the VC and an MID.

If he was Kia 23/10/14 and the MC was gazetted 18/2/15--then there is a lapse of almost 4 months--does that seem normal? Interestingly in the LG there is no reference to indicate that he is dead--this usually takes the form of 'since killed in action' or such like. All quite confusing!!

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Laird of Camster

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!!

Interesting!!! Perhaps he was so highly thought of, or one of their first officer casualties that when the MC came into existance the CO or who ever, put him in for it.

Going off topic slightly. Many years ago I was taking to a Grenadier Guard, whom made an interesting comment, he said that in ther GGs gallantry medals (modern) are few and far between, as they considered acts of gallantry to be the role of a Guardsmen the thus your only doing your job, so don`t get put forward for them like those to other Regiments of the line. (Perhaps another avenue of snobbery within the Mess?).

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Old Owl

Interesting!!! Perhaps he was so highly thought of, or one of their first officer casualties that when the MC came into existance the CO or who ever, put him in for it.

He was indeed one of the first of the East Kents' officers to be killed, but the MC was only instituted by Royal Warrant on 28/12/14 by which time he had been dead for over two months--so it would have to have been a posthumous award, surely? He was also MID, which is acceptable within the rules, so indeed he must have been very well thought of by someone, because it was not common to receive the two awards together for the same action.

I am pretty certain though that he was awarded the MC for the action in which he was killed.

I continue to be unclear as to how this could have happened.

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bill24chev

I dont beleive this to be true but I have a memory that some cynic sugested that the MM was introduced to reduce the number of DCM awards because the DCM had a bounty or pension attached to it!

Also the relativly high numbers of VC's awarded for the Gallipoli landings was to eencourage recruitment which was beginning to lag in the spring of 1915. Having read of the bravery shown in that operation I beleive VC's were under awarded and should have been awarded to many more brave men.

Quote from old owl

"He was also MID, which is acceptable within the rules, so indeed he must have been very well thought of by someone, because it was not common to receive the two awards together for the same action."

As i understand it the MID was a precondition for a DSO. maybe the award of a DSO would have been appropriate but being deceased they made an award of MC not postumously for the action but nevertheless after the officers death.

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Old Owl

Quote from old owl

"He was also MID, which is acceptable within the rules, so indeed he must have been very well thought of by someone, because it was not common to receive the two awards together for the same action."

As i understand it the MID was a precondition for a DSO. maybe the award of a DSO would have been appropriate but being deceased they made an award of MC not postumously for the action but nevertheless after the officers death.

You are quite correct in that an MID was a precondition for the award of the DSO, however the M.C. could not be awarded posthumously, or at least not according to the rules as I understand them? I know that very often they are gazetted up to three months following the date of the award, but in this case the MC was not instituted until 2 months after his death and was gazetted 4 months after his death. I know that he was posted wounded and missing, and it was hoped for quite some time that he was a POW. I think that eventually it was accepted that he was infact dead.

I can only assume that the rules were bent slightly in this case to fit the scenario.

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nthornton1979

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!!

I've always undertstood that if a recommendation was put in for a gallantry award and then the chap was killed then it still went through. I've seen numerous men who were awarded gallantry medals although they had died of wounds before the awarded was gazzetted. Some were wounded whilst performing the act of gallantry, wrote up for an award and then died. But, the award still stood. There are always exceptions to the rules and some no doubt slipped through. I've seen a few where the chap was died of wounds more or less straight away but still received a medal.

I'll have alook through my books for that example and post it if I can find it.

Neil

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Old Owl

I've always undertstood that if a recommendation was put in for a gallantry award and then the chap was killed then it still went through. I've seen numerous men who were awarded gallantry medals although they had died of wounds before the awarded was gazzetted. Some were wounded whilst performing the act of gallantry, wrote up for an award and then died. But, the award still stood. There are always exceptions to the rules and some no doubt slipped through. I've seen a few where the chap was died of wounds more or less straight away but still received a medal.

I'll have alook through my books for that example and post it if I can find it.

Neil

Thanks Neil.

I can only see that he must have been downgraded from a DSO? But if this was the original recommendation why did it not stand?

Robert

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charlesmessenger

Old Owl

The Thornhill case is a puzzling one, since at this stage in the war the only awards which could be made postjhumously were the VC and a Mention in Despatches. His Medal Index Card does not note that he is dead, althougjh the register of officers' personal files (WO 338 at the National Archives) does so, but his personal file does not appear to still exist. On the other hand I note tha he is on the Ploegsteert Memorial as having no known grave. I wonder, therefore, whether he was posted as missing and his death only confirmed years later. The award might therefore have been made in the belief that he was still alive. Perhaps the 1st Buffs war diary casn shed some light?

The situation did cnahenge during the war in that a man could be awarded a medal posthumously provided he was still alive when the initial recommendation was made.

It is also worth noting that during WW1 the only British awards available to soldiers on the ground for bravery in the face of the enemy were the VC and MM . The latter was cwertainly not awarded for other than acts of gallantry. Also, when the MM was instituted in 1916 tere were a number of retrospective awards of it, some stretching back to 1914, one assumes for unsuccwssful DCM recommendations.

As for the MC, it was not until 1931 that the rules were tightened to make it for gallant conduct under fire.

Charles M

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Old Owl

Hi Charles,

Yes, as you say a tricky one! His personal file did exist a few years ago because I have copies from it (6 pages). It was very sparse from memory!!! and certainly no mentions of his award, although there is a letter dated 30/11/15 in which his father reports to the W.O. that he still has had no news regarding the fate of his son, but that he has not yet given up all hope.

I do not know when they formally accepted his death, but 12 to 18 months was the usual time scale for such things, I believe.

The War Diary for the records: October 23rd,1914, 9 a.m.

" Thornhill's platoon sent up with Major Clemson, Y & L, to reconnoitre situation created by Y & L trench being carried by enemy. Party ambushed with M.G. at 15yds. Thornhill and 5 men left wounded, former on parapet of captured trench, 7 others wounded. About 10 of party only returned. Pte Pierce very ------ was wounded and brought him in, but could not reach Thornhill. ------."

Casualties: Officers killed: Lieut.Thornhill. Wounded: Lieut.Rice. Men killed:1; wounded:13; missing:9.

It appears that he was accepted as killed at the time, but due to subsequent reports of him still being alive--to which his father refers, then this stuck and clouded the waters!!

I suppose that it is just a very interesting and early award of the MC.

Thanks for your interest.

Robert

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servicepub

A great number of medals and decorations were awarded to soldiers who died after earning them but before Gazette publication. The 'pothumous' restriction is specific to the action in which the award was earned. In other words, Cpl. Bloggins could be written up for an MM on the 15th and die in action on the 17th. This is not considered 'posthumous'.

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Ed Kermode

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.

"All his awards have excellent fighting citations" --

Dear "Old Owl"

can you tell me where I could find this man's fighting citations, please? I am writing a book on my grandfather Thomas Kermode, his life and his war experiences. I am thinking of including a small section on famous and/or noteworthy Kermodes (relatives or not) for interest. I would definitely be including Edgar Marsden Kermode !! Hope you can help me. Would I have to acknowledge the source(s) or is it all publicly accessable anyway?

Ed Kermode

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