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Keith_history_buff

British War Medal issuance

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Keith_history_buff

I have been pulling together some information - or to be honest, regurgitating information that knowledgeable contacts have provided me - in order to answer a question on another thread. It makes more sense to post the information here, and to cross-reference to it.

My primary focus has been high level figures for BWMs issued by the Admiralty, but it is of interest to hear of other dispensing bodies. My next post in this thread will be in relation to the Senior Service.

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Keith_history_buff

The British War Medal was awarded for 28 days mobilised service. Unlike the War Office, there was no overseas requirement. This does mean that the amount of medal recipients is a good gauge of how many served in the Royal Navy during WW1.

The following were eligible for the BWM:
 

Quote

 

Granted to the undermentioned who performed 28 days mobilised service, or lost their lives in active operations before completing that period, between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918.

  1. Officers, warrant officers, petty officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Indian Marine, Royal Naval Reserve (including Trawler and Fishery Sections), Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and Dominion and Colonial Naval Forces.

  2. Mercantile Marine officers and men serving in His Majesty's commissioned ships and auxiliaries on Special Naval Engagements.

  3. Officers and enrolled members of the Women's Royal Naval Service who proceeded and served overseas.

  4. Members of Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service and Royal Naval Nursing Service Reserve, and recognised official nursing organisations, who served in a hospital ship at sea or proceeded overseas and served in a hospital abroad

  5. Canteen Staff serving in a ship of war at sea

  6. Non-nursing members of medical units, such as dispensers, storekeepers, clerks, wardmaids etc who served in a hospital ship at sea or proceeded overseas and served in a naval hospital abroad.

 

 

 

I do not know the primary source from whence this came. The secondary source that this is quoted from is the seventh edition of "British Battles and Medals". It has an ISBN of 1-902040-77-5, and is published by the Spink auction house. The authors were Richard Bishop, John B Hayward and Diana Burch. 

 

Page 505 of the above states that a total of 502,250 medals were issued by the Admiralty. (My thanks to Jack in Australia for his assistance).

With regard to the above, and medal rolls:

  1. The following is of interest:
     a. There is, in existence, a Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve medal roll, which has been transcribed. It is available via FMP. The website advises there are 72 264 records. I have accessed this. If an individual was no longer an RNVR rating - perhaps they got a commission, or were transferred to the Royal Marine Engineers - this is noted in the roll. This has been compiled by Jack Marshall and is a valuable resource
    b. There is, in existence, a Royal Marine medal roll, which has been transcribed. It is available via FMP. The website advises there are more than 75,000 records. This, too, was compiled by Jack Marshall. As before, if an individual was no longer in the ranks of a Royal Marine unit, this is noted in the roll.
    c. There is, in existence, a Royal Navy officers' medal roll, which has been transcribed, covering the RN, RNVR, RNAS and Royal Marine forces. It is available via FMP. The website advises there are more than 53,000 records. This, too, was compiled by Jack Marshall. As before, if an individual was no longer serving in this category, but had transferred to the Army or Air Force, this is noted in the roll. there is usually an accompanying note, such as "BWM and VM issued by Air Ministry".
    d. Dominion & Colonial Naval Forces. Out of the Admiralty allotment, 6600 will be for the RCN. (My thanks to Glen in Canada for this information). I would presume a similar quantity was issued to the RAN. The strength of the South African division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve is unknown to me, as is that of the New Zealand naval forces of the RN. It is understood the images of their medal roll entries are within the miscellany of entries in ADM 171/133, but are not transcribed.
    e. Neither RNR officers nor RNR ratings have a transcribed medal roll, that I am aware. It would appear that over 100,000 RNR ratings served in WW1. About 1,000 took part in the operations at Antwerp in 1914. I am likewise unaware of the existence of a transcribed medal roll for the Newfoundland RNR contingent.
    f. I am likewise unaware of the existence of a transcribed medal roll for the Royal Indian Marine. (There are about 500 or so MICs for R.I.M. men who transferred to the Royal Engineers I.W. & D in Mesopotamia, so their medals would have been issued by the War Office.)
  2. There are War Office medal cards for about 1,000 men engaged in Port Examination Services duty. I am wondering if such medal recipients received their medals from the Admiralty, or from the Board of Trade.
  3. No further comments
  4. No further comments
  5. Canteen staff are within the medal roll reference ADM 171/133. The roll of canteen staff covers pages 500-566 (of the original roll numbering) which works out at about 1600 names. (My thanks to Bartimeus for this information.)
  6. No further comments








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Keith_history_buff

With regards to other BWMs

I have a note that 427,993 BWMs were issued to the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. In addition to the BWM, they were eligible to a bronze and enamel War Service (Class A) badge. It is like the clasp on the 1914 Star insofar as it was 'for issue only to those men who served at the Front' to delineate against rear echelon service.

For the AIF, 338,000 BWMs were issued. (My thanks to Jack in Australia for his assistance). There are just under 376,000 Australian service records in the B2455 dataset.

The Indian Army Department originally estimated it would need 750,000 British War Medals to meet claims. Up to the end of March 1929, 692,583 had been manufactured of which 653,279 were issued. (My thanks to Bartimeus for this information.) This is interesting, given that I have heard estimates of 1,400,000 Indians having served in the war.

 

The following breakout is taken from the aforementioned seventh edition of "British Battles and Medals"

 

5,340,972 War Office (silver)
251,000 War Office (bronze)

149,999 Board of Trade

101,132 Air Ministry


I did not see any figures for Colonial Office and the amount of BWMs that it had issued.
 

Notes:
Whilst BBM gives a figure of 144K for BWMs issued to the Mercantile Marine, there are about 157,000 Board of Trade MICs at Kew in the BT 351 series. (My thanks to Glen in Canada for this observation).
Quote 'I also have a note that a vague estimate of about 4,000 was made to meet BWM requirements for Mercantile Marine personnel administered from India.' (My thanks to Bartimeus for this information.)

 

 

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Keith_history_buff

There appear to have been approximately 75,000 Victory Medals awarded to South African soldiers, so there must also have been a corresponding amount of BWMs too. The 3,000 airmen and the naval element would have been issued their medals by the Air Ministry & Admiralty respectively. 

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horatio2
3 hours ago, Keith_history_buff said:

Royal Navy officers' medal roll, which has been transcribed, covering the RN, RNVR, RNAS and Royal Marine forces.

 

3 hours ago, Keith_history_buff said:

Neither RNR officers nor RNR ratings have a transcribed medal roll,

The transcribed officers' medal roll also includes officers of: RNR, Fishery Reserve, South African RNVR, Uganda and Nyasaland  Volunteer Reserves, Nigerian Marine, Mercantile Marine Reserve, Civilians and a small number of army officers. 40+ officers of the RIM are also included

RM officers are included in the transcribed RM roll, not the RN Officers' roll..

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Keith_history_buff

I have just stopped using FindMyPast, so I do not have access to the transcribed officers' medal roll. How many South African RNVR are you able to pull up from the officers' medal roll, out of interest?

Thanks, 

Keith

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horatio2
14 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

How many South African RNVR are you able to pull up from the officers' medal roll, out of interest?

Seventeen between Midshipman and Commander. All but one had their medals issued by the SA Government.

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Keith_history_buff

Thanks for the prompt response. Medal rolls aside, I think there was some confusion on my part with regard to the service records split, that of "regular" RN and RM being in ADM 196, and reserve officer branch records in ADM 240 & ADM 340 & ADM 337.

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Keith_history_buff
16 hours ago, horatio2 said:

 

The transcribed officers' medal roll also includes officers of: RNR, Fishery Reserve, South African RNVR, Uganda and Nyasaland  Volunteer Reserves, Nigerian Marine, Mercantile Marine Reserve, Civilians and a small number of army officers. 40+ officers of the RIM are also included

RM officers are included in the transcribed RM roll, not the RN Officers' roll..


How interesting. My access has been via LOTFWW. I won't be able to check on what I have populated until the data reappears on the new PDM website at the end of June. I did get the impression that the above was not in LOTFWW:

LOTFWW of yesterday: content from ADM 171/89, 171/90, 171/91 
FMP today:                     as above, but also content from ADM 171/92 & ADM 171/93

I did a deep dive on Wiliam Henry Grant Smithers, Lieutenant RNR so I will be looking at the profile for Smithers in June 2019 accordingly.

Thanks
Keith

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