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Hello

I don't know if anyone can help with this, but my grandfather was in the Royal Flying Corp from 1915 until about 1918 / 1919 - by which time it was then the Royal Air Force. He is listed in the Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 June 1919, as being awarded a Meritorious Service Medal.

What is a Meritorious Service Medal and how would someone during this period have earned one ?

Any help appreciated. Thank you.

(I have also posted this question in the Royal Air Force section as well).

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David,

The army version of the MSM was instituted in 1845 for award to long service senior NCOs for meritorious service. The RAF version was introduced in 1918, after the foundation of the RAF, for essentially the same purpose. Recipients were typically sergeants or above who had served with excellent conduct for 25 + years. It was a highly regarded award and marked out the recipient as being a highly regarded long service veteran.

Regards,

Paul

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Hello Paul

Thanks for the information. I am slightly confused as my grandfather was only in the RFC / RAF from 1915 until 1918 / 1919. If this is a long service award, how did he earn it after only 3 or 4 years service ?

Was there some other criteria that would have led to the awarding of this medal ?

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The RAF MSM was established in June 1918 and until 1928 (and especially during the Great War) was awarded as an immediate award for individual acts of gallantry (in the "field", not "flying"), not in the presence of the enemy.

The RAF MSM was suspended from 1928 until 1977 when it was revived under the conditions which Paul has outlined, awarded for 27 years of meritorious service (20 after 2002). No more than 70 RAF MSM can be awarded in a given year, so the accumulation of years of service is merely a qualifying fact and, beyond the mere time in uniform, significantly high levels of merit had to be demonstrated.

As your grandfather's was awarded in 1919, it would have been the first (George V) variety, awarded for gallantry. Finding the recommendations -- I am told -- is quite tricky, however, as few are said to survive in the NA/PRO.

Not clear whether you have the medal, but it is a nice one! :beer:

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Hello Ed

Many thanks for that. Unfortunately I no longer have his medals. When I went off to college, many years ago, my Mother decided to clear out some off my 'rubbish'. Along with various other 'worthless and junk' items she threw out both of my grandfathers medals, uniform buttons, badges etc. The only item that survived was a badge to do with some football league !! I've attached shots of it purely for historical interest.

I might have a go at at seeing if I can trace anything on his MSM via the records office. If I do find anything I'll let you know.

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Hello Ed

Many thanks for that. Unfortunately I no longer have his medals. When I went off to college, many years ago, my Mother decided to clear out some off my 'rubbish'. Along with various other 'worthless and junk' items she threw out both of my grandfathers medals, uniform buttons, badges etc. The only item that survived was a badge to do with some football league !! I've attached shots of it purely for historical interest.

I might have a go at at seeing if I can trace anything on his MSM via the records office. If I do find anything I'll let you know.

David,

You might want to post at the Forum at www.theaerodrome.com (several GMIC members are also regulars there). There are more experts there, and I'm sure you'll be able to get more information on your grandfather.

I'm wondering if this is your grandfather Medal Index Card.

Your case is not unique. My wife's grandfather's medals were pitched by his stepmother, probably as he was on his way to Canada.

Edited by Michael Johnson
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The RFC/RAF often used the MSM as an award for sustained service in the field. You'll find them to senior NCOs as well as junior personnel. There was really no other way to recognize them, as decorations were for gallantry.

I have the BWM/Victory/RAF MSM to Flt Sgt J.R. Henderson, who was Captai Albert Ball's rigger. His MSM was certainly recognition of his part in Ball's record of success.

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A good example, during WWI (especially), the MSM (for all services) existed right on that line between low-level gallantry and general good-boy-dom. You wonder why a MM or MiD wouldn't do it? It says something that these immediate MSMs were phased out when the BEM came to fill that same ambiguous niche.

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You wonder why a MM or MiD wouldn't do it? It says something that these immediate MSMs were phased out when the BEM came to fill that same ambiguous niche.

MiDs were used for good service, but the Military Medal (unlike the U.S. Bronze Star) was for gallantry in the field only.

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Hello

Many thanks to all for the information. Yes, the medal card is my grandfathers, but it doesn't list the MSM on it. At least I know now what it is he got and the sort of reasons behind the award.

Again many thanks to all.

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MiDs were used for good service, but the Military Medal (unlike the U.S. Bronze Star) was for gallantry in the field only.

While your point is well taken, Michael, I'd submit that, in WWI, the MiD (like the DSO) was far more ambiguous than it sounds (or, perhaps, should have been). Maybe the US's Bronze Star (or, to make a reference meaninfgul only to us two) India's Sena Medal are useful comparisons to the WWI immediate MSM and, later, to the BEM.

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Hello

Many thanks to all for the information. Yes, the medal card is my grandfathers, but it doesn't list the MSM on it. At least I know now what it is he got and the sort of reasons behind the award.

Again many thanks to all.

If he got it in 1919, I'd be surprised to see it on the MIC card.

And, while I have NO CLUE how the RAF did such things, the unit war diaries sometimes include MSM or even MiD recommendations (at least for the Indian Army). More to seek at the PRO!

Edited by Ed_Haynes
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If he got it in 1919, I'd be surprised to see it on the MIC card.

And, while I have NO CLUE how the RAF did such things, the unit war diaries sometimes include MSM or even MiD recommendations (at least for the Indian Army). More to seek at the PRO!

I have a MSM belonging to a Engine room artificer who was on board HMAS SYDNEY when it destroyed the German Cruiser SMS EMDEN i 1914, his act of bravery was in the engine room during the battle, as he was not directly in the face of the enemy, he was awarded the MSM instead of another type bravery award.

I'm very sorry that you don't have your Grandfathers medals.

Kevin.

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