Army gallantry under fire......The Times

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by Ron Goldstein, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    Maybe the problem is that we are reading too much into the awards system.

    The medal system is flawed. Always has been and probably always will be.

    - Medals can only be awarded for events which were witnessed and identified. There are plenty of examples of gallant acts by men who were never identified.

    - There is a quota system. At Le Cateau a bunch of gunners went to rescue the guns. VCs were awarded to three. The attack on the bridges over the Albert Canal at Maastricht resulted in VCs to the pilot and navigator of one of the Fairy Battle aircraft. The air gunner received no award because he was judged to have no say.... There is a story of the CO of an Australian battalion refusing to single out only a proportion of his men and awarded MMs by ballot.

    - The award may be more of a reflection of the literary skills of the officer who wrote the citation than the event itself. Two identical actions could result in different awards or none.

    - The award is often made without the benefit of the full forensic facts or even the enemy side of the story. Medals have been awarded for the noisy occupation of empty trenches or even for inflicting friendly fire casualties.

    - Medals are disproportionately awarded to officers. The platoon carries out a valiant attack all exposed to equal danger - and the platoon commander is awarded the MC.

    The best that can be said is that most of the men who received an award deserved it. There were lots more who did brave things but were not recognised.

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