A Selection of Campaign Medal Issue Related Army Orders and Army Council Instructions (1917-1923)

Introduction/Analysis (followed by the sources)

The selection of Army Orders (A.O.) and Army Council Instructions (A.C.I.) below show how beyond the Army Orders issued in 1917 for the 1914 Star and 1918 for the 1914-15 Star (see below) no attempt was made to ask Army Record Offices to fill in the medal rolls in a prescribed order. The original instruction (in the A.Os. for the 1914 and 1914-15 Star) asking for rolls to be filled in order of rank for officers and warrant officers, versus alphabetical order for the other ranks was dropped when it came to the 1919 Army Orders for the British War Medal/Victory Medals. There it was simply stated that the Record Offices would be informed later about how to submit the relevant medal rolls (British War Medals and Victory Medals were claimed via the same rolls). There are many reasons that this may have been the case and it is likely that a War Office letter went out with the blank medal rolls, A.F. W 5102, to Record Offices. Sadly this instruction did not get included in an A.O. or A.C.I. and it does not appear to have included a similar instruction to the Stars for the ordering of the medal rolls.

The focus seems to be on including accurate information to meet the primary need for accurate inscriptions on the medals, with the War Office medals branch A.G. 10 via the Card Index making the rolls easy to search via the Card Index. Click here to see the argument between the War Office and the Treasury over the costs of this approach. The Treasury Report included in this correspondence also mentions how the rolls received by A.G. 10 from the Record Offices would ideally be divided between those dealing with soldiers who had served in one regiment throughout the War, others for those who moved to other regiments during the War and the last for those had been promoted from the ranks to Officer. This structure (how it was followed in practice is discussed in the analysis of the Treasury report mentioned above together with much more information on the working practices of Medal Branch in 1920) further reinforces the fact that understandably the focus of Medals Branch was on the accuracy and usefulness of the information for engraving the medals. Not asking for strict alphabetical order in the Rolls submitted would allow the Record Offices to concentrate on trying to produce accurate information. The Card Index would make the Rolls easily accessible and the production of cards would allow for the comparison and verfication of information against earlier medal records (where they existed, for the 1914 and 1914-15 Stars and Silver War Badge if applicable). This approach came at the cost of a large staff required in part to maintain the Card Index which upset the Treasury and led to inspections by the Treasury of A.G. 10 (see the link mentioned above) and a report into the work of Army Record Offices (included here).

There was also no requirement for Army Record Offices to submit names for the much smaller issue of the Territorial War Medal in any particular order.

With the existence of the Card Index there was also no attempt to make lists of Mention In Despatches (M.I.D.s) submitted for the Emblem and the 1914 Clasp/Rose alphabetical . Only with two A.C.Is. intended to increase the speed of issue of the British War Medal/Victory Medal to soldiers then serving in the Territorials do we see an instruction issued for the submission of a nominal roll by unit and in alphabetical order. However the list was merely intended to be used as a way of allowing distribution by unit and the name of the recipients had to have been already submitted on A.F. W 5102 the official medal roll, where there was no requirement for them to be in this order.

Other than the order and accuracy of the rolls, there is also the question of authority and legitimacy of the claims even when asking for riband before the actual issue of the medals themselves. Q.M.G. 7 which was responsible for uniform and other areas such as how medals should be worn always required certification from a commanding officer for other ranks that they were entitled to wear a riband. They also required demobilised service personnel to submit their claims for riband via Army Record Offices, so that the Record Offices apart from bringing the claims together for an order could validate the ex-serviceman or woman’s right to wear the riband. The statement that the riband did not mean that the wearer’s claim was valid (until the medal itself had been issued) shows the overwhelming importance to the Army that only those who were entitled to wear the medal under the terms of the relevant warrant should have it.

A surviving copy of the A.F. W 5100A card that demobilised personnel needed to submit to Record Offices to claim their British War Medal and Victory Medal ribands can be found in the collection of the Cheshire Military Museum  http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/de6e5a27-d72c-4ca5-835d-4052989c35e4

My transcription and analysis (together with links to the original images) of a completed surviving A.F. W5100A can be found here.

All Army Orders (A.O.s) and Army Council Instructions (A.C.I.s) here are transcribed from copies held at The National Archives (TNA)

The originating War Office divisions for the A.O.s and A.C.I.s are in brackets.

A.O. 350/1917 Grant of 1914 Star  (A.G. 10)

A.O. 20/1919 Grant of 1914-15 Star (A.G. 10)

A.O. 266/1919 British War Medal, 1914-19

A.O. 301/1919 Grant of Victory Medal

A.O. 361/1919 1914 Star – Grant of Clasp (A.G. 10)

A.C.I. 26/1919 Issue and Wearing of the Riband of the 1914-15 Star  (Q.M.G. 7)

A.C.I. 152/1919 Preliminary Issue of Riband, 1914-15 Star  (Q.M.G. 7)

A.C.I. 451/1919 Issue and Wearing of the Riband of the British War Medal  (Q.M.G. 7)

A.C.I. 484/1919 Preliminary Issue of British War Medal Riband to Demobilized Soldiers and members of Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps  (Q.M.G. 7)

A.C.I. 522/1919 Issue and Wearing of the Victory Medal (Q.M.G. 7)

A.C.I. 688/1919 Issue of the Victory Medal Riband (Q.M.G. 7)

A.O. 3/1920 Emblem to be worn on riband of Victory Medal to denote that the wearer has been mentioned in despatches  (A.G. 10)

A.O. 143/1920 Territorial Force War Medal (A.G. 10)

A.C.I. 526/1920 Territorial Force Instruction No. XXIV Issue of British War and Victory Medals to members of the Territorial Force (A.G. 10)

A.C.I. 50/1921 Emblems to denote “Mentioned in Despatches and small Silver Roses for wear on Medal Ribands (Q.M.G. 7)

A.C.I. 357/1921 Issue of 1914, and 1914-15 Star (A.G. 1 R)

A.C.I. 530/1921 Preliminary issue of Riband, India General Service Medal, for operations against Afghanistan, 1919 (Q.M.G. 7)

A.C.I. 536/1921 Territorial Force Instruction No CLVI Preliminary issue of Riband, Territorial Force War Medal. (T.F. 2)

T.F. 2 was a War Office Division under the Director-General of the Territorial Force.

A.C.I. 114/1922 Issue of British War and Victory Medals (A.G. 10)

A.C.I. 119/1922 Territorial Army Instruction, No CLIV Issue of British War and Victory Medals to Members of the Territorial Army (T.A. 2)

In 1921 the Territorial Force became the Territorial Army, with the consequent change in name of the Directorate at the War Office responsible for the Territorials.

A.C.I. 2/1923 Submission of names of soldiers entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal  (A.G.10)

WO 123/59 (TNA) Army Orders (War Office).

A.O. 350/1917 dated 24 November 1917

Medals ACIs and AOs 36WO 123/61 (TNA) Army Orders (War Office).

A.O. 20/1919 dated 23 December 1918

Medals ACIs and AOs 32

A.O. 266/1919 dated 16 July 1919
Medals ACIs and AOs 23

A.O. 301/1919 dated 30 August 1919

Medals ACIs and AOs 24

A.O. 361/1919 dated 16 October 1919

Medals ACIs and AOs 25

Medals ACIs and AOs 26

WO 293/10 War Office: Army Council: Instructions (1919)

A.C.I. 26/1919 dated January 1919

Medals ACIs and AOs 2 2

A.C.I. 152/1919 dated 4 March 1919

Medals ACIs and AOs 2 Replacement Page 3

A.C.I. 451/1919 dated 13 July 1919

Medals ACIs and AOs 2 4

A.C.I. 484/1919 dated 13 August 1919

Medals ACIs and AOs 2 5

A.C.I. 522/1919 dated 1 September 1919

Medals ACIs and AOs 2 6

A.C.I. 688/1919 dated 15 December 1919

Medals ACIs and AOs 20Medals ACIs and AOs 21

WO 123/59 (TNA) Army Orders (War Office).

A.O. 3/1920 dated 12 January 1920

Medals ACIs and AOs 28

Medals ACIs and AOs 29

A.O. 143/1920 dated 26 April 1920

Medals ACIs and AOs 30

WO 293/12 War Office: Army Council: Instructions (1921)

A.C.I. 526/1920 dated 4 August 1920

Medals ACIs and AOs 10Medals ACIs and AOs 11

WO 293/12 War Office: Army Council: Instructions (1921)

A.C.I. 50/1921 dated 26 January 1921

Army Council Instruction 50 of 1921

A.C.I. 357/1921 dated 2 June 1921

Medals ACIs and AOs 4

A.C.I. 530/1921 Medals ACIs and AOs 5

A.C.I. 536/1921Medals ACIs and AOs 6

WO 293/13 War Office: Army Council: Instructions (1922)

A.C.I. 114/1922

Medals ACIs and AOs 13

A.C.I. 119/1922

Medals ACIs and AOs 14

A.C.I. 2/1923 dated 4 January 1923

Medals ACIs and AOs 18