British Military & Criminal History

1900 to 1999.

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Introduction

This article is concerned with Mentions in Despatches and Commendations issued to the British armed forces. A description of the various emblems (and their meaning) was published as a supplement to the London Gazette on 27 July 1951.

The award of a MID or a Commendation are published in the London Gazette. However, not much information is often shown aside from the Despatch that mentioned the recipient's name.

The Emblems

A bronze spray of oak leaves to signify a Mention-in-Despatches (MID) was introduced during World War One, and continued to be awarded for active service up to 10 August 1920. For the First World War, it was worn on the Victory Medal ribbon. For subsequent campaigns it was worn on that campaign's service medal.

For a MID issued after 10 August 1920, a King's Commendation for brave conduct and a King's Commendation for valuable service in the air, a bronze emblem consisting of a single oak leaf was worn on the campaign medal's ribbon. If no specific medal was issued for the campaign, the oak leaf was worn directly on the uniform.

A Commendation awarded for bravery, granted to civilians for acts during and after World War Two are denoted by a silver spray of laurel leaves. For service during World War Two the commendation award was worn on the Defence Medal, whereas a MID award is worn on the 1939-45 War Medal. In both cases, when the appropriate medal was not awarded the emblem was worn directly on to the coat.

For civilians awarded the Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air, during and after World War Two, consisted of an oval silver badge, worn on the clothes.

On 12 August 1994 the symbols for MID and Commendations were revised as shown in the following table.

In Enemy Action Not in action with the enemy Not in action with the enemy - Flying Valuable Service (Not in action with enemy)
MID Queen's Commendation for Bravery Queen's Commendation for Bravery in the Air Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
A single oak leaf in silver A spray of laurel leaves in silver New emblem in silver A Spray of oak leaves in silver

A civilian or a member of a civilian service, such as the Fire Brigade or Police Service, could be awarded either the Queen's Commendation for Bravery or Queen's Commendation for Bravery in the Air.

The MID and Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service are only awarded to military (or other eligible) personnel.

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