BOMBER COMMAND MEDAL CAMPAIGN
- In pursuit of a Fair Review
THE 1939-45 STAR AND GROUND CREWS
The 1939-45 Star was awarded to service personnel between 3rd September 1939 and 8th May 1945, who completed overseas operational service. Time qualification was 6 months (180 days) for Army and Navy personnel and 2 months (60 days) for RAF aircrews. For RAF ground crew who served overseas, time qualification was 6 months (180 days).
In 1945 and 1946 when the Second World War Campaign Stars and their resptective eligibility rules were published, there was no provision for ground crews to be able to be awarded the 1939-45 Star.
AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE AMMENDMENTS
There were several amendments to medal awards between 1995 and 1998, which were revoked and replaced by further conditions for the award of the 1939-45 Star as far as Australian aircrews and ground crews, serving in Bomber Command, were concerned.
These final amendments were summarised in the
The relevant amendments had the following effects:
1) A change to the 1939-45 rules was made which affected Australian ground crews. This resulted in them becoming eligible for the 1939-45 Star, for service in the United Kingdom for service of 6 months between 3rd September 1939 and 5th June 1944.
2) A last six months rule was now included. This allowed a member of the Australian Defence Force on operational service, in a designated European theatre of operations, to be eligible for the 1939-45 Star for any time served during the six months, immediaitely prior to and including May 8th 1945.
Whilst the personnel who served with the Australian Defence Force as ground crew now have their well deserved 1939-45 Star, it leaves RAF ground crews who served with Bomber Command in the United Kingdom without the award of the 1939-45 Star. It could not be determined if the amendments which were applied to the conditions of the 1939-45 Star in Austrailia were extended to ground crew volunteers from other countries, viz. New Zealand, Canada etc.
It was apparent that the Australian amendments were not widely known at the time our research was undertaken. The family of an Australian volunteer who served as ground crew is now in receipt of a 1939-45 Star due to the amendments which the Bomber Command Medal Campaign Group discovered.
IMPLICATIONS FOR AIRCREWS AND THE BOMBER COMMAND CLASP
Taking the amendments above into consideration, implications which have arisen are:
1) No 1939-45 Star for the United Kingdom ground crews, and potentially ground crews from other countries. It must be remembered that volunteers who served in Bomber Command came from a staggering 60 countries.
2) There appears to be no last two months rule implemented in this country for United Kingdom aircrews and potentially aircrews from other countries other than Australia.
INCONGRUOUS RESULTS NOW ARISING
Australian Aircrew would receive the 1939-45 Star for any time served in the last two months, whilst other aircrew carrying out the same duties would still have to serve two months (60 days) before qualifying for the 1939-45 Star.
The Bomber Command Clasp was dependent on a 1939-45 Star. It is now understood that Australian aircrew coming into the war at the end, i.e. 8th March 1945 to 8th May 1945 would earn a 1939-45 Star and therefore a Bomber Command Clasp.
There is an incongrous situation now where a member of the Australian Defence Foce who worked as ground crew could earn a 1939-45 Star for one day's service, but a member of aircrew from the United Kingdom and potentially other countries could carry out perhaps 15 operations, under direct enemy attack, and not even be eligible for a 1939-45 Star.
Note: The aim of this campaign is to highlight the inconsistencies and facts which were maybe not considered thoroughly enough in the 2012 Military Medals Review. This campaign has concentrated, in particular on aircrews, as that was what was considered by the 2012 Military Medals Review and therefore does not, as such, cover ground crews. However, it is clear from the precedent set above that gound crews, other than ground crews from Australia, now have an reasoned argument to put forward as to why they should be entilted to a 1939-45 Star. This is open to anyone to pick this up, in pursuit of deserved recognition.
THE 1939-45 STAR CONSISTENCIES
The research undertaken between November 2017 and March 2019, in order to produce a submission for the Honours and Decorations Committee, included a review of the 1939-45 Star, it's eligibilty criteria and any amendemnts which have occurred post war. The reason for this was that both awards of the Air Crew Europe Star and the Bomber Command clasp had a prior qualificaton of the 1939-45 Star.