211 Squadron Badge

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Gallantry awards

Awards for gallantry

The general conditions applying to awards made by the Sovereign to British Commonwealth personnel for gallantry are recorded in a number of published and official sources. In summary, those made for service with 211 Squadron RAF were as follows:

    Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
    DSO ribbon
    Awarded to commissioned officers whose services had been marked by special Mentioned in despatches for distinguished service under fire.

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    DFC ribbon
    Awarded to officers and warrant officers for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.

    Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM)
    DFM ribbon
    Awarded to non-commissioned officers and other ranks for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.

    Mentioned in despatches
    MiD oakleaf
    Awarded for brave or gallant conduct, whether in action or for a wide range of notable service on and off the battlefield, having been named for noteworthy conduct in a commander’s despatch on operations in the field. The only other decoration, after the Victoria Cross, that may be awarded posthumously. For World War II service, the oak leaf emblem may be worn alone or on the ribbon of the War Medal when issued.

A number of gallantry awards provide for recipients to use a post-nominal abbrevation after their name, as shown above. The order for these, like the order in which the insignia are to be worn, is a matter of formal precedence. For other awards (for example, Mentions in Despatches, King’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air), there is no provision for a post-nominal form.

Recommendations and approvals
Awards for gallantry (“decorations”) fall into two groups: those immediate awards made for conspicuous individual acts of courage, and the rather more numerous non-immediate awards made in recognition of sustained courage or devotion to duty.

The system of recommending and approving these awards set high standards for recognising acts of valour. As a result, some recommendations might be only be approved at some lesser level of award, or might not be approved at all. Many acts of bravery went unrecognized. Simply completing a tour of duty did not itself qualify for a gong, however, such an achievement might well contribute to recommendation for and approval of an award, depending on circumstances in the theatre.

In common speech and writing today, superlatives like the awful “awesome” are scattered about like confetti. In reading the citations that follow it may be useful to know that “above average” was high praise in the 1940s RAF, while remarks like “exceptional”, “brilliant”, “superb courage”, or “great skill” were even rarer accolades.

Publication of awards
In announcing awards in the official record of the British government, the London Gazette, the practice of the Air Ministry was to publish immediate awards with a summary of the recommendation, while non-immediate awards (being rather larger in number) were kept to plain nominal rolls, commonly over a summary remark suitable to the award, such as:

    “The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Being particularly numerous, Mentions in despatches were all published in the Gazette as nominal rolls, under this introductory remark:

    "The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the publication of the names of the following personnel who have been mentioned in despatches by Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief:—"

More detail of recommendations or citations can in some cases be found in the Bulletins and files of the Air Ministry, in RCAF or RAAF records, or in issues of, for example, Flight. Recommendations may be recorded in the series AIR Class 2 at The National Archives, Kew, though searching may be difficult. Very few Mentioned in despatches recommendations survive.

211 Squadron nominal roll
Compiled from the principal published and archival sources noted last below, this roll records decorations awarded to personnel in the course of duty with 211 Squadron from 1937 to 1946. Awards for earlier or later service with other units are not listed here. In summary, known awards to Squadron personnel included:

    3 DSOs
    27 DFCs and one Bar
    8 DFMs*
    5 MID
    4 Foreign awards.

    *The London Gazette, Maton, and Tavender (quoting AIR 2/8896) all record the apparent award of a ninth DFM, to a Corporal JJA Smith 517943 of “211 Squadron” on 25 July 1941. However, the terms of the recommendation plainly relate to sustained and sterling service as a Rigger/Air Gunner—with 230 Squadron. Fortunately, the 230 Squadron Operations Record Book for July 1941 (AIR 27/1422) noted his award, as follows:

      “Aboukir 25.7.41
      Notified that S/Ldr PR Woodward awarded DFC and 517943 Sgt Smith J DFM (HQME p368 25/7/41)”

    John Joseph Alfred Smith served with the Sunderland Squadron from 1939, rising through the ranks as LAC on the October 1939 detachment to China Bay, as Corporal during operations from Egypt and Greece in 1941, and to Sergeant by July 1941. Commissioned in July 1944, he remained in the RAF until at least 1946 as F/Lt JJA Smith DFM (54866).

The roll is in simple alphabetical order of surname. The varying level of detail simply reflects that recorded in the sources available. In extracting the current level of detail from these sources I am also much indebted to a fellow researcher overseas.

This compilation may contain errors and there may be omissions: please let me know of any revisions that might be needed.

Begg A Flying Officer 190295

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 2 October 1945 p4858
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Blomfield ASB Flight Lieutenant 33714

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 11 July 1941 p3995
    “Throughout the many operational flights in which he has participated, this officer has displayed courage and leadership of a high order. He has led the Squadron on many occasions.”

Buchanan LB Flying Officer 40885

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 8 April 1941 p2042
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Cox JC Pilot Officer 84989

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 25 July 1941 p4276
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Dennis PB Sergeant 755495

    Distinguished Flying Medal
    Air Ministry AIR 2/8899
    “This senior NCO has taken part in 68 raids and is an extremely keen man, courageous and determined. He has carried out raids both in Libya and in Greece”.
    London Gazette 22 August 1941
    “For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”

Dundas KCVD Flying Officer 41000

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Air Ministry citation
    “This officer has been operating continually since the outbreak of war with Italy and has carried out 36 operational sorties during this period. On many occasions he has led flights against the enemy, [and] has shown great courage carrying out his duties with cool determination in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire and under frequent attacks by enemy fighters.”
    London Gazette 8 April 1941 p2042
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Dundas KCVD Acting Squadron Leader 41000

    Mentioned in despatches
    London Gazette 11 June 1942 p2518
    (since missing)

    Greek Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 29 December 1942 p5639
    “In recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war.”
    (since missing)
    Conferred by the King of the Hellenes.

Fleming JH Corporal 536803

    Mentioned in despatches
    London Gazette 11 June 1942
    [Awarded in lieu of recommendation for Military Medal (WO 373/61 and AIR 2/5684):

    “This airman was captured on 27th April 1941 when the enemy took over the hospital in Athens where he was a patient with malaria. Upon recovery he was taken to a prison camp from which he made a courageous escape. He successfully remained in hiding in Athens for some time, finally embarking with others on a caique and after many adventures succeeded in reaching Egypt, from where he was repatriated.”

    John Henry Fleming 536803 was thus the first of three 211 Squadron men to independently escape captivity arising from the campaign in Greece. See also Campbell and Appleyard.]

Freeman GR Warrant Officer 1576519

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Air Ministry Bulletin 16381: see Macdonald, below.

    London Gazette 21 November 1944 p5341
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Geary AC Pilot Officer 79188

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Air Ministry AIR 2/9532
    This officer has completed 62 sorties of which 38 were carried out within 42 days. He has acted as rear gunner in his Commanding Office's aircraft for six months, and his keen observation and clear reports on the numerous manoeuvres of enemy aircraft have undoubtedly helped to save our own aircraft on many occasions. He has assisted in beating off enemy fighters on 16 occasions. His courage and devotion to duty have been exemplary.”

    London Gazette 13 March 1942 p1164
    “Awarded with effect from 21 March 1941...
    For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”

Gilley SR Flight Sergeant 1321801

    Distinguished Flying Medal
    Air Ministry AIR 2/9156
    “Flight Sergeant Gilley was the Navigator (Wireless) of a Beaufighter which was hit in an oil tank on its return from Moulmein. During the 25 minutes it was over enemy territory, losing height on one engine, he maintained contact with base until the aircraft ditched in surf just in our territory. In the next four days this NCO carried out three more long-range attacks, two of them against airfields in Siam and a night attack on shipping of Rangoon. In these and two other attacks against airfields in which he has been the leading navigator, his excellent navigation over mountains and at low level has been largely responsible for the surprise and success achieved. He has completed 20 sorties and has shown a very high standard of keenness and efficiency.
    Sorties 20. Flying Hours 101:40”

    London Gazette 12 May 1944
    “As Navigator, this airman has participated in very many sorties and throughout has displayed commendable keenness and efficiency. On one occasion, the aircraft in which he was a member of the crew was badly damaged when hit by enemy fire. Height could not be maintained but the pilot brought the aircraft down on to the sea very close to the shore. Within a few days, Flight Sergeant Gilley had resumed flying and had taken part in two successful attacks on airfields and one on shipping. His accurate navigation over difficult terrain contributed materially to the success of these sorties.”

Godfrey AC Flight Lieutenant 39820

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Air Ministry AIR 2/8899
    This officer has participated in 35 operational missions in Greece, under extremely bad weather conditions. On one occasion, a Very cartridge exploded, filling the aircraft with smoke, but he kept flying while the fire was extinguished with the aid of the observer. On another occasion he was forced to abandon his aircraft by parachute. He was later picked up and, while being transported to Menidi by air, the aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters. He promptly operated the rear gun against them but was wounded in the right hand, from which he lost two fingers. Flight Lieutenant Godfrey has at all times shown great courage and enthusiasm.”
    [F/Lt Godfrey was thus the sole 211 Squadron survivor of the Easter Sunday raid,
    13 April 1941]

    London Gazette 22 August 1941 p4864
    “For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”

    Greek Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 29 December 1942
    “In recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war.”
    Conferred by the King of the Hellenes.

Gordon-Finlayson JR Acting Squadron Leader 36078

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 7 January 1941 p151
    “This officer has completed more than 40 day and night raids and reconnaissances over enemy territory in Greece and the Western Desert. Undaunted by continual severe antiaircraft fire and attacks by fighters he has shown superb courage, determination and devotion to duty. The accuracy of his bombing has resulted in great damage to enemy positions and transport concentration, and his determined leadership of his squadron has enabled most effective results to be secured.”

Gordon-Finlayson JR Wing Commander 36078 DFC

    Distinguished Service Order
    London Gazette 25 March 1941
    “This officer has completed over 100 operational sorties both by day and night. Throughout these operations, most of which have been carried out under exceptionally difficult conditions, he has displayed outstanding leadership and skill and, by his splendid example of courage and determination, has contributed materially to the successes achieved by his squadron.”

    Greek Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 29 December 1942
    “In recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war.”
    Conferred by the King of the Hellenes.

Griffin WP F/Lt MB BCh 23154

    Order of the White Eagle, 5th Class
    London Gazette 12 August 1941
    “In recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the War”
    Conferred by His Majesty the King of Yugoslavia.

Irvine, Antony Thorburn S/Ldr 36090 (missing)

    Mentioned in despatches
    London Gazette 24 September 1941

Hopkins AW Warrant Officer 963998

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 3 April 1945 p1783
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Jones GD Flight Lieutenant 37265

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 11 February 1941 p831
    “One day in December, 1940, this officer led his flight in a successful attack on an enemy objective in weather conditions so severe that two flights had to turn back. All bombs were dropped with great success despite considerable opposition from enemy fighters, one being shot down. Ten days later he made a successful attack on enemy objectives during a blinding snowstorm. He has taken part in over forty raids, many of which have been carried out in appalling weather conditions and against severe enemy opposition. As senior flight commander he has consistently shown himself to be a leader of great skill, courage and determination.”

Lacey RA Flying Officer 188633

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 2 October 1945 p4858
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Lambert CA Flight Sergeant Fitter IIE 702156

    Mentioned in despatches
    London Gazette 14 June 1945

Macdonald RH Pilot Officer 176291

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 21 November 1944 p5341
    “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

    Air Ministry Bulletin 16381
    “These officers as pilot and navigator respectively have participated in many operational sorties. They have penetrated deep into enemy territory and have attacked many well defended targets with skill and determination. They have inflicted much damage on the enemy’s mechanical transport, river craft and factories. On one occasion, in the face of intensive ground opposition, they pressed home a low level attack on a large enemy oil tank, achieving excellent results. At all times they have displayed outstanding keenness, determination and courage.”
    [See W/O GR Freeman, above]

Manderson GY Warrant Officer 1370853

    Distinguished Flying Cross
     Air Ministry Bulletin 16381
    This navigator has completed numerous operational sorties over Burma and Siam and has inflicted much damage on the enemy’s road mechanical transport, locomotives and river craft. He has taken part in attacks on enemy airfields in the Rangoon area and, despite intense opposition from the enemy’s ground defences and fighters, has pressed home his attacks with vigour and destroyed three enemy aircraft. On another occasion he destroyed a moving locomotive. At all times his courage and skill have been of the highest order.”

    London Gazette 21 November 1944 p5341
    “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Marshall JR Flight Sergeant 515903

    Distinguished Flying Medal
    Air Ministry AIR 2/8899
    “This Senior NCO has done 52 raids over Libya and Greece and has always shown the greatest determination. On one particular raid to Durazzo, Albania, his aircraft was hit very badly and he managed, by skilful handling, to out-manoeuvre fighters in the vicinity and land safely and unharmed at Larissa. On another raid to Valona, his aircraft was badly hit in the tailplane by an anti-aircraft shell, but he again arrived safely back at Menidi. During the evacuation from Greece, he did several evacuation trips (12) from Menidi to Crete in the face of enemy danger always around Menidi.”

    London Gazette 22 August 1941 p4864
    “For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”

Martineau HE Acting Squadron Leader 42862

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 15 May 1945 p2519
    “Squadron Leader Martineau is a courageous and resolute fighter. He has participated in very many sorties during which he has been responsible for the destruction of a small ship of the coaster type, several locomotives and numerous mechanical vehicles. He has invariably displayed a high standard of tactical ability and has pressed home his attacks with the greatest determination.”

Meagher PE Wing Commander 34072

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 24 March 1944 p1443
    “In February 1944, this officer flew the leading aircraft of a formation detailed to attack a ground target. During the operation, Wing Commander Meagher observed 4 enemy aircraft a few thousand feet above him. He promptly climbed to engage them and, after cleverly manoeuvring to close range, shot two of the enemy aircraft down. The other two fighters then attempted to engage Wing Commander Meagher but he frustrated them and flew safely to base. In this spirited action, during which he drew the enemy force completely away from his formation, Wing Commander Meagher displayed great skill, courage and determination. His action brought his total victories to 8.”

    Distinguished Service Order
    London Gazette 3 October 1944 p4583
    “This officer has displayed the highest qualities of skill and courage in air operations and his record is outstanding. Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross he has participated in very many sorties, undertaken often in extremely bad weather and over difficult country. In these operations much damage has been inflicted on the enemy. By his inspiring leadership and unswerving devotion to duty, Wing Commander Meagher has contributed well to the successes obtained. In air fighting he has destroyed 9 enemy aircraft.”

Mitchell JS Flight Lieutenant 151972

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Air Ministry citation
    “Flight Lieutenant Mitchell has completed a large number of operational sorties against enemy lines of communications in Burma. He has effectively attacked road and rail transport and shipping. In September 1944, when returning from a mission, one engine caught fire and, after many unsuccessful attempts to extinguish it, his aircraft was forced down on to the sea. Flight Lieutenant Mitchell made the descent with such skill and airmanship that both he and his navigator were able to keep afloat in their dinghy until rescued. Flight Lieutenant Mitchell has displayed courage and initiative throughout his tour.”

    London Gazette 19 October 1945 p5122
    “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”

Montague Browne AAD Flight Lieutenant 150441

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 2 October 1945 p4858
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Muller-Rowland JSR Acting Squadron Leader 103497 DFC

    Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 4 April 1944 p1551
    “This officer has participated in very many sorties since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and his continued excellent work has merited high praise. On a recent occasion he led a formation of aircraft detailed to attack targets at Moulmein. The attack was pressed home with great vigour and accuracy. Industrial premises, much rolling stock and a railway installation were bombed with damaging effect; a small pier was set alight, a large barge was hit and other damage was inflicted. In this spirited action, Squadron Leader Muller-Rowland displayed skill, courage and leadership of a high order.”

    Distinguished Service Order
    Air Ministry Bulletin. Flight 4 January 1945
    “Since the award of a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, Squadron Leader Muller-Rowland has completed many more operational missions. He has consistently shown a fine fighting spirit, and flying through adverse weather has on many occasions caused confusion to the enemy's supply lines. He has destroyed three enemy aircraft and damaged others, as well as causing much damage to enemy transport and locomotives. Squadron Leader Muller-Rowland's enthusiasm for operational flying, together with his leadership in the face of danger, has contributed much to the success of his squadron.”
    London Gazette 17 November 1944
    “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations.”

O’Mara RJ Pilot Officer J85701 RCAF

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    RCAF AFRO 1/45 5 January 1945.
    “This officer, as pilot, has completed numerous operational sorties over Burma and Siam and has inflicted much damage on the enemy's road mechanical transport, locomotives, and river craft. He has taken part in attacks on enemy airfields in the Rangoon area and despite intense opposition from the enemy's ground defences and fighters has pressed home his attacks with vigour and destroyed three enemy aircraft. On another occasion he participated in the destruction of a moving locomotive. At all times his courage and skill have been of the highest order.”

    London Gazette 21 November 1944 p5342
    “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Page LR Sergeant 521280

    Distinguished Flying Medal
    Air Ministry AIR 2/8899
    This senior NCO has taken part in 50 raids and has always shown himself to be a very courageous and determined man. His willingness and fine work always was ready and, in times of action, he always remained cool and collected. He has taken part in raids in Libya, Greece and Syria. In Syria he did a 900 mile trip and proved himself an exceptionally fine Navigator.”

    London Gazette 22 August 1941 p4865
    “...award for gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Parker FB Acting Flight Lieutenant 151390

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Air Ministry AIR 2/9046
    Flight Lieutenant Parker has participated in many operational sorties. As squadron navigation and photographic officer he has accomplished valuable work and by his courage, determination and ability materially contributed to the successes attained by his crew.
    [49 sorties (200 operational hours) as a navigator].”

    London Gazette 6 February 1945 p761
    “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Pattison G Sergeant 640059

    Distinguished Flying Medal
    Air Ministry AIR 2/9499
    “This NCO has now carried out his duties as Air Gunner continuously since the outbreak of war with Italy with the greatest enthusiasm and efficiency. He has been on 40 operational sorties. Recently, he has carried out 8 raids in 8 days and on two occasions has defended his aircraft against enemy fighter attack. On one of these occasions, he was single-handed against a formation of three Italian G.50s. He shot down the leader whom he saw crash into a mountainside and beat off the remaining two fighters until his aircraft was able to gain refuge in cloud cover.”

    London Gazette 1 April 1941
    “This airman has been continuously employed as air gunner since the outbreak of war with Italy. Throughout the many engagements in which he has participated he has shown great efficiency and enthusiasm. On once occasion he was operating single handed against three Italian G.50s and succeeded in shooting one of them down and driving off the other two until his aircraft was able to take cloud cover.”

Pearson RW Pilot Officer 44733

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 8 April 1941 p2042
    “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations.”

    “Operating continuously from Egypt and Greece since the outbreak of the War with Italy, this officer has carried out 45 operational sorties, on many occasions leading a flight against the enemy. Throughout, he has shown courage and devotion to duty in the face of A.A. fire and fighter attack. Recently he carried out 8 sorties in 8 days, including hazardous photographic reconnaissances.”
    AM Citation, April 1941

Richmond J Sergeant 550946

    Distinguished Flying Medal
    Air Ministry AIR 2/8896
    “This senior NCO has taken part in 58 raids which have included Libya, Greece and Palestine since 1938. He was the Commanding Officer’s Observer for quite a while. He is an exceptionally keen man and a brilliant Bomb Aimer and Navigator. He has been in No 211 Squadron for 3 years 10 months and has always shown the greatest determination and courage. He is a very determined type.”

    London Gazette 25 July 1941
    “For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Shimmin W Sergeant 532912

    Distinguished Flying Medal
    Air Ministry AIR 2/8899
    “This senior NCO has taken part in 67 raids which have included Greece and Libya and has on all occasions shown the greatest determination and courage. On one occasion when in Libya, his aircraft encountered vastly superior enemy forces. Sergeant Shimmin operated his gun with such efficiency that the attacks were beaten off.”

    London Gazette 22 August 1941 p4865
    “For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Smith PN Flight Lieutenant 124791

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 2 October 1945 p4858
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Spencer DA Warrant Officer 1600179

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    RCAF AFRO 802/45 11 May 1945
    See F/Lt GV Vardigans, below.

    London Gazette 3 April 1945 p1783
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Stacey PN Squadron Leader 406372 RAAF

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Air Ministry citation
    Squadron Leader Stacey has participated in numerous attacks against Japanese lines of communication in Burma. He has destroyed at least eight mechanical transport and damaged others in addition to a river steamer and a coasting vessel. On one occasion his
    aircraft was badly damaged by fire from the enemy’s defences, but with great skill he flew it safely back to base where he accomplished a masterly landing.”

    London Gazette 2 October 1945 p4858
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Stayman JW Acting Flight Lieutenant 132377

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    London Gazette 17 April 1945 p2026
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Stevens JT Flying Officer 151116

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Air Ministry AIR 2/9046
    Throughout many operational sorties this officer has shown a high degree of courage, keenness and devotion to duty. He has attacked well defended targets and penetrated deep into enemy territory, often in the face of stiff opposition. On one occasion in July 1944, Flying Officer Stevens destroyed one mechanical transport and damaged seven locomotives.”
    [49 sorties (200 operational hours) as pilot and deputy flight commander]

    London Gazette 6 February 1945 p761
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Teague S Flight Sergeant 359212 CWF

    Mentioned in despatches
    London Gazette 8 June 1944 p2620

Vardigans GV Flight Lieutenant 151222

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    RCAF AFRO 802/45 11 May 1945
    Flight Lieutenant Vardigans and Warrant Officer [D.A.] Spencer [above] as pilot and navigator respectively have taken part in numerous operational sorties. They have penetrated deep into enemy territory and attacked many well defended targets. At all times they have displayed great keenness and determination and have never let either adverse weather or enemy opposition deter them from completing their missions.”

    London Gazette 3 April 1945 p1783
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

Wythe AB Flight Sergeant 1319961

    Distinguished Flying Medal
    Air Ministry AIR 2/9132
    “Sorties 31, Flying hours 147. Pilot.
    Since joining No 211 Squadron in December 1944, Flight Sergeant Wythe has carried out 31 sorties against Japanese line of communications totalling 147 hours. He has shown remarkable persistence and success in seeking out enemy targets and on 4th May, 1945, during the Japanese retreat from Rangoon, he destroyed between Thanbuzayat and Tadein one motor bowser, five 3 ton motor vehicles and damaged four more. On other occasions, he destroyed an additional six M/T vehicles and damaged eight more as well as one river steamer. His reliability under all conditions and his consistently fine offensive spirit on operations have been a tremendous asset to the squadron.
    15th May, 1945.

    Remarks by Station Commander:
    Flight Sergeant Wythe is undoubtedly the most outstanding NCO operational pilot in this Wing. He has done excellent work. Strongly recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.
    Remarks by Group Commander:
    This NCO has displayed a very high degree of courage and determination. He is strongly recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

    Remarks by Air Marshal Commanding, RAF Burma:
    Although the number of operational hours carried out by Flight Sergeant Wythe is low, I recommend that he is awarded a non-immediate Distinguished Flying Medal since I hold the view that the work of the Beaufighter squadrons in this Command has been most successful in disrupting Japanese communications, notwithstanding the extremely arduous nature of their tasks.”

    London Gazette 2 October 1945 p4858
     “In recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”.

    [This long process seems to have been confusing to the Squadron. In recording the award in the COs summary for October 1945 (Operations Record Book f259 of AIR 27/1303) the award was noted as a DFC to Warrant Officer Wythe (who had by then been promoted from F/Sgt). His promotion may have led to this slip in the Adjutant’s office: DFC was the level of award appropriate for a W/O, DFM that for a F/Sgt.]

Campaign and service medals
Personnel serving in the RAF in the World War II era might qualify for several of the full range of campaign and service medals. The selection shown here are those that men might be awarded for 211 Squadron service from 1937 to 1946:

    General Service Medal (Palestine clasp)
    GSM02

    1939-1945 Star
    1939 1945 star ribbon

    Africa Star
    Africa Star ribbon

    Pacific Star
    Pacific Star ribbon

    Pacific Star with Burma Clasp
    PacificStarBurmaclaspibbon

    Burma Star
    Burma Star

    Defence Medal
    Defence Medal

    War Medal
    War Medal

These medals are an altogether different recognition of war service, for which gazettal was neither possible or needed. They are noted on a man’s service record and the rules of entitlement are relatively straightforward. There are many good published explanations, including the UK Ministry of Defence Medals and the NZ Defence Force Ribbons pages.

Sources
Australian War Memorial Honours And Awards roll
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette
London Gazette
issues 1938—1946 (HMSO)
London Gazette WWII
Archive (HMSO)
National Archives/PRO: AIR CLASS 2 Air Ministry files
RAF Museum London: Air Ministry Bulletins
RCAF AFRO citations.
RCAF Association
Awards database

N&C Carter The Distinguished Flying Cross: How It Was Won 1918-1995 (Savannah Publications 1998)
K Delve Source Book of the RAF (Airlife 1994)
M Maton The Distinguished Flying Cross to Australians (Maton 2000)
M Maton Honour the Air Forces (Token 2013)
G Pitchfork Men Behind the Medals (Cooper 1998)
IT Tavender The Distinguished Flying Medal Register: Second World War (With Official Recommendation Details). (Savannah Publications 2000)
IT Tavender The Distinguished Flying Medal: A Record of Courage (Hayward 1990)

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Site created 15 Apr 2001, last updated 2 Mar 2017. Page created 23 Jul 2005, last updated 13 Apr 2016
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