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I learned something new today...

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I picked up a book last month written by a sometime acquaintance in the Great War Society-B. Cory Kilvert of New Hampshire, USA.

He has written a small privately published book-long out of print apparently, about his medal collecting research into a series of British WW1 medals. The book reads like a familiar detective novel-familiar in that it delves deep into the War Graves Commission (before it was on-line), The Imperial War Museum, "Officers Died In the Great War", local museums and regimental depots-all very familiar to those of us who try and find out about the names on our medals.

One of his men was a Srjnt. Major William McNally of the Wofrs.. In 1915 he was awarded the MC-AS an NCO (Rgmntl Srgt. Major). In all these years I did not know that 2% (781 out of 40,261) of all WW1 MCs were awarded to senior NCOs and WOs.

Good stuff.

Has anybody else perchance ever seen a non-officers' MC?

Edited by Ulsterman

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While not (quite, at all?) what you're asking, they were awarded to VCOs (Viceroy's Commissioned Officers, subadars, risaldars, jemadars, etc.) in the Indian Army from inception of the MC through Indian Independence in 1947. Have several of those from WWII (none from WWI, only know of one of those "in captivity").

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I had no idea that someone without a Royal Commission could have an MC. I am speechless.

What English equivalent rankings are "Subadars...etc?"

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What English equivalent rankings are "Subadars...etc?"

Oh, this is hard. The VCOs fell below all KCOs (King's Commissioned Officers -- almost all of whom until WWII were, by policy, Europeans) but above NCOs and ORs (all Indian).

As a rough equivalent, the rank badges display something:

Subadar Major wore a crown on shoulder straps

Subadar wore two stars on shoulder straps

Jemadar wore one star on shoulder straps

(I have used generic infantry ranks, cavalry was different.)

As an example:

IO-24563 Jemadar Rajpal Singh, MC, 9th Royal Deccan Horse

Enrolled 14 May 1937

Driver MT Class I

Armament Course - grade Q-1

English 1st class

Jemadar 24 Oct 1942

F.S.C.A. from 1 October 1944 to 22 October 1945

Discharged 11 May 1946 (medical board, exemplary character)

Although the group is entirely unnamed (!), it came direct from the family with a good bit of documentation, including the photographs shown. The group also includes his ribbon bar, jemadar's stars, and a wound stripe. The unnamed medals are almost certainly the result of his early medical discharge (on account of wounds discussed below?) and a "hurry up" on the issue of campaign medals to a gallantry award winner? Strange he only got a MC rather than an IOM, but . . . ??

1- Military Cross, George VI, first variety, 1945

MC action of 21/28 May 1945, Burma, London Gazette, 20 September 1945, p. 4677. The recommendation:

"On the MAWCHI rd on 21 May 45 Jem RAJPAL SINGH was leading the tp being used in sp of the inf. Advancing, his tank was hit by a 47 mm AP shell. He was ordered by the Tp Comd to withdraw but having seen the flash he held his ground knowing he would be unable to locate it if he went back to cover. His rapid fire then forced the crew to abandon the gun. A 75 mm then opened fire and this he silenced with a direct hit. During this enaggement his tk was hit five times, one jamming the cupola and fracturing the periscope. This action enabled inf to adv and three guns were captured.

"On 28 May he was loading with a coy of 4 GR. One of his guns jammed but rather than hold up the adv he pressed on but was hit five times by the enemy guns destroying the tk and killing the crew. The Jem. escaped with severe burns.

"This Jemadars courage and steadiness has been a very fine example to all."

2- 1939-45 Star

3- Burma Star

4- The War Medal, 1939-45 (medal mounted reversed)

5- The India Service Medal, 1939-45

And a "before" and "way after" photo of the man.

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