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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Interpreting Medal Rolls and Cards


Perth Digger

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Lt HRD Simpson was KIFA in Kent 20 December 1916. He had been attached to the RFC from 6th Dragoon Guards, into which he was commissioned on 17 February 1915. His attachment to RFC was officially dated 28 August 1915, when he joined 16 Squadron in France.

There is no mention of his service in the RFC (16, 9 and 60 Squadrons) on his MIC. The Medal Rolls show that his B & V medals and his 1915 Star were issued from 6th Dragoons. Am I right in thinking that this confirms that, at some point in 1915, he must have served in France with 6th Dragoons, before joining the RFC? I cannot currently find any firm evidence that he served overseas with the Dragoons.

Thanks

Mike

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My mistake, David. Why I wrote Guards rather than Inniskilling is one of life's great mysteries (no doubt closely linked to old age).

Mike

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Thanks, Mike. 

Trying to fit o/s with 6th Dragoons is quite difficult, given his timeline (below):

image.png.d3de5ec250fef857a4e6bbb819ae0536.png

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What does his RFC record say?
Didn't the RFC issue their own medals/ MICs/Medal rolls?

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It was the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons diary I looked at and didn't see him mentioned but worth checking thoroughly.

Mike

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Dai

I can't find him on any other Rolls than 6th Dragoons, B,V and 15 Star. I assumed this meant he had to have been o/s with the regiment. I doubt if he could have been on other Rolls for the RFC. 

There are a couple of sources that say he spent a few months at Sandhurst, but I can't find evidence of that either. Maybe his SR would tell me.

Mike I did go through them yesterday. For most of 1915 they failed to mention officers at all.

Mike

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3 hours ago, Skipman said:

It was the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons diary I looked at and didn't see him mentioned but worth checking thoroughly.

Mike

I was surprised too when I looked through that diary as there is no mention of him being "struck off strength" at the very least. It is a very legible diary and even mentions names and numbers of ORs wounded etc.

Looking at his LG commissioning date and his RAF record sheet I wonder if he actually ever joined the Regiment in the field? His memorial plaque at Eton suggests he was attached to the RFC so he may have gone straight there.

This theory is further encouraged by the fact he gained his aviators certificate on March 31st 1915 just six weeks after his commission is in The Gazette (courtesy Graces Guide)

image.png

I notice the medal roll for 6 DNS (sic) has his date of disembarkation as "prior to 11/10/1915" which fits with his flying record.

I see his effects were awarded to the Eton War Memorial Fund as no claim was made by relatives.

Newspaper articles don't give any detail about any service in France prior to RFC.

You may have already seen this website? 2nd Lt Deighton Simpson | Wilfred Salmon: Online exhibition, Online Exhibition | Crayford History

This one again makes no mention of ground service Accident Vickers FB.16A , Wednesday 20 December 1916 (flightsafety.org)

The Harvard Crimson (the newspaper for the university in USA he left abruptly suggest he had himself transferred (or attached as above) to RFC shortly after his commission - I suspect primitive OCR is responsible for the errors in the page H. R. D. SIMPSON '18 KILLED | News | The Harvard Crimson (thecrimson.com) (although Sawdust Military College sounds like a great place to train!)

Correspondence relating to his abrupt departure from Harvard is here Running to War: An historical perspective, 1914 – Reconciliation poetry

So my conclusion would be he never actually joined 6th Inniskilling Dragoons in the field. (Not guaranteed to be correct!).

 

 

 

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David

Having been through the same path as you that is my conclusion too. My only nagging concern, resulting in this thread, is why his medals were awarded through 6th Dragoons if he never joined them in France. His mother, incidentally, refused to accept his pay and asked for it to go to the Eton Memorial Fund. 

I don't know of any other American who gave up his citizenship and became a subject of King George V in order to fight. Most became temporary Canadians.

College magazine editors were as bad then as now. There is a Sandpaper Military College in Australia.

Thanks for your input.

Mike

 

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Mike

You are most welcome, it was an interesting journey.

I think he was awarded by the Dragoons as he was only ever "attached" to RFC never actually transferred so effectively served as an officer of the former? Would that make sense?

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That was my assumption too, David, though I claim no expertise.

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Yes, that does make sense, although there are plenty of MICs of attached airmen who have the RFC details recorded. 

 

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It has surprised me to have seen so many officers on attachment to the RFC, rather than having made a formal transfer across. Is there some kind of pay and accounting treatment whereby there was not enough "headcount", but secondments were permissible?

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29340/page/10511/data.pdf

ESTABLISHMENTS.

ROYAL FLYING CORPS.

Military Wing.

The undermentioned appointments are made: —

• Flying Officers—

                   Dated 28th August, 1915.

Second Lieutenant H. R. D. Simpson, 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, and to be seconded.
Temporary Second Lieutenant A. I. Burnie, The.Buffs (East Kent Regiment), and to be transferred to the General List.
Second Lieutenant G. G. Hubbard, Special Reserve.
Second Lieutenant P. E. L. Gethin, Special Reserve.

 

It is likewise that the 1914-15 Star medal rolls are covering a cornucopia of cavalry units

 

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2 hours ago, Keith_history_buff said:

It has surprised me to have seen so many officers on attachment to the RFC, rather than having made a formal transfer across. Is there some kind of pay and accounting treatment whereby there was not enough "headcount", but secondments were permissible?

 

There's an old thread here Click that if it doesn't give the answer, might give some clues, and if it doesn't do that, it's interesting enough anyway  :thumbsup:

Mike

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