§ 8. Mr. Garro Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Air whether there are any set principles upon which decorations for gallantry are awarded to officers and other ranks in the Royal Air Force; and which of these decorations carry financial rewards?
§ The Secretary of State for Air (Sir Kingsley Wood)
Conditions governing the award of decorations for gallantry to officers and other ranks of the Royal Air Force are set out in various Statutes and Royal Warrants, and, with the hon. Member's permission, I will circulate a summary of these in the OFFICIAL REPORT, together with particulars of the financial benefits, that are associated with the awards in certain cases.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
In view of the widespread ignorance as to the way these awards are granted and the various 620 grounds for complaint which, rightly or wrongly, arise, can the right hon. Gentleman say what authority decides how these awards are to be given between the Services, between various units in the Services and between various ranks in each unit?
§ Following is the summary of conditions:
§ VICTORIA CRoss.—Awardable to all ranks for most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or sell sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.
§ DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER.—Award-able to officers who have been mentioned in despatches for distinguished services under fire or under conditions equivalent to services in actual combat with the enemy.
§ MILITARY CRoss.—Awardable to officers not above the rank of flight lieutenant and warrant officers, for gallant and distinguished services in action on the ground.
§ MILITARY MEDAL.—Awardable to airmen for individual or associated acts of bravery in action on the ground.
§ DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS AND DISTINGUISHED FLYING MEDAL. —The Distinguished Flying Cross is awardable to officers and warrant officers and the Distinguished Flying Medal to non-commissioned officers and aircraftmen, for exceptional valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.
§ AIR FORCE CROSS AND AIR FORCE MEDAL.—The Air Force Cross is awardable to officers and warrant officers and the Air Force Medal to non-commissioned officers and aircraftmen, for exceptional valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not on active operations against the enemy.
§ EMPIRE GALLANTRY MEDAL (MEDAL OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE FOR GALLANTRY).—Awardable to all ranks for acts of gallantry. (Normally awarded for acts performed on the ground, not in the presence of the enemy.)
§ FINANCIAL BENEFITS.
§ VICTORIA CRoss.—Officers—no entitlement, but may receive annuity not exceeding £75 a year if unable to earn a livelihood owing to age or infirmity.
§ Men-special pension of £10 a year, and £5 for each bar, payable from date of act of bravery. Pension may be increased under the same conditions and to the same extent as provided for officers. If discharged with service pension or disability pension, additional pension of 6d. a day payable (plus the special £10, pension). Only one additional pension payable per man. If the man was commissioned when awarded the Victoria Cross no additional pension is payable621
§ MILITARY CROSS AND DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS. —Officers—nil.
§ Warrant officers— £20 gratuity, and £20 for each bar, payable on transfer to reserve or appointment to commission or discharge without pension. If discharged with service or disability pension, additional pension of 6d. a day payable in lieu of above gratuity. Only one additional pension payable per man. If the man was commissioned when awarded the Military Cross or Distinguished Flying Cross, no additional pension is payable.
§ DISTINGUISHED FLYING MEDAL.—AS for warrant officers granted the Military Cross or Distinguished Flying Cross.
§ EMPIRE GALLANTRY MEDAL, MILITARY MEDAL, AIR FORCE CROSS AND AIR FORCE MEDAL. —Nil.
§ 11. Mr. Garro Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that tile medal of the Order of the British Empire is regarded as an appropriate reward for the merits of shorthand typists, and ethers engaged on duties of clerical importance; and whether the same medal in the military division is also regarded as an appropriate reward for gallantry in action?
§ Sir K. Wood
The medal of the Order of the British Empire, for meritorious service, is not granted to shorthand typists or to clerical workers, nor is it usually awarded for gallantry when in action with the enemy. The medal of the Order of the British Empire, for gallantry, is awarded without regard to rank or occupation. This medal also is not usually granted for gallantry in action with the enemy.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
Does the right hon. G2ritIman recognise that this medal has, in fact, frequently been awarded for services of a clerical character? By that, I do not necessarily mean a low class of clerical service. May I further ask why, in the case of a non-commissioned officer, a pilot, who displayed great gallantry in the air when his machine had been shot down he was given the medal of the Order of the British Empire in preference to the Order of the Distinguished Flying Cross?
§ Sir K. Wood
I cannot reply to that question unless the hon. Member informs me of the case he has in mind, and if he does so I will look into it. As far as tie granting of awards is concerned, I am informed that it is done as stated in the reply to the question. If the hon. Member has any further particulars to give me, I will examine the matter further.
§ 45. Mr. Garro Jones
asked the Prime Minister whether there are any coordinated principles governing the award of decorations for valour and merit in the different fighting Services, and in particular governing the award of those decorations, such as the Victoria Cross, which carry financial benefits; and whether he will take steps to ensure that these awards are made on considered principles of consistency and fairness as between the various Services, and between all ranks within those Services?
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)
A co-ordinating committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals in time of war was set up early in September. The scale of awards will be reviewed, and recommendations made, periodically by this body, which does not, of course, adjudicate on specific cases, selection for recommendation for the award of such decorations as the Victoria Cross being a matter for the Department concerned. I am not aware of any instance in which the principles of consistency and fairness as between the various Services and between all ranks within those Services are not observed, having regard to the differences in conditions. It is open to a Department to raise any question of this kind for investigation by the committee.
§ Mr. Garro Jones
Is the Prime Minister aware that, however little he may have heard about it, there is a great deal of dissatisfaction among the Service principals concerned, as between the various Services; and may I ask him whether the principles upon which this co-ordinating committee will operate will be published, in order to remove the impression of reticence which is characteristic of the Government's method of dealing with this matter?