Mentioned in Despatches

Originally a Mention in Despatches was the means of brining an individual’s gallantry or good services to the notice of a higher authority and the names were generally embodied in a Commander-in-Chief’s despatch [report] on a particular battle or action or listed at the end of such a report. In 1902 it was decided that the publication of an individual’s name had to be made in the London Gazette to constitute the award.

 

Originally a Mention in Despatches was the means of brining an individual’s gallantry or good services to the notice of a higher authority and the names were generally embodied in a Commander-in-Chief’s despatch [report] on a particular battle or action or listed at the end of such a report. In 1902 it was decided that the publication of an individual’s name had to be made in the London Gazette to constitute the award.

It was at the end of the First World War that the practice of awarding a device to signify a Mention in Despatches was adopted. A multiple leaved bronze oak leaf was issued to be worn on the ribbon of the Victory Medal along with a certificate issued to the recipients.

During the Second World War, a single leaved bronze oak leaf was issued to be work on the ribbon of the 1939-1945 War Medal.

A Mention in Despatches was the only form of award, apart from the Victoria Cross, which could be bestowed posthumously and it was often awarded when the services id not reach the standard for the award of a gallantry meal. It could be awarded more than once but only one oak leaf is to be worn no matter how many times it was awarded and could also be bestowed on civilians for services to the Forces.

During the Second World War Mention in Despatches were issued to the naval forces as follows:

Royal Navy                             23646

Royal Canadian Navy         1045

Royal Australian Navy            602

Royal New Zealand Navy      155  [25 to the RNZN, 130 to RNZNVR][1]

South African Navy                88

Royal Indian Navy                  140

Other Colonial Navies             59

Total                                        25735

[1] ibid., p. 2.