31 December 2011

Royal Australian Navy WWI rank - Boy 1st Class

I was having a look at some old posts and came across an early blog entry about low numbers on medals and unusual units. It occurred to me that over the years we have returned a medal to most ranks in the Army from Private through to Major General. We have also returned several medal groups to members of the RAN but most of these have been to the more common ranks of Ordinary Seaman or Able Seaman.
We are currently researching a single British War Medal awarded to 6252 Harold Samuel Claydon but what is unusual is that the rank on the medal is Boy-1, or in full, Boy 1st Class. This Wikipedai entry gives an explanation of the rank. Although the explanation relates to the Royal Navy rather than the Royal Australian Navy, I suspect that there would have been a lot of similarity between the two services.
These pictures show the naming in full and even the variations between hard and soft striking with some of the letters.

A History of the 1962 General Service Medal with South Vietnam Clasp

I recently read a very interesting article on the British Medal Forum written by Tony Rooney. Tony has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here.
I've edited the article slightly and removed the photos that Tony had included. The full article can be seen at this link, however, membership is required.

A History of the 1962 General Service Medal with South Vietnam Clasp (62 GSM with SVN clasp)

The early 1960’s saw the UK defence establishment move towards joint air, land and naval operations. Steps were in place to merge the Admiralty, the War Office, the Air Ministry, the Ministry of Aviation, into a single the Ministry of Defence. This merger eventually took place in 1964.
Embracing this new institutional spirit Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second introduced new General Service Medal to supersede both the Naval General Service medal 1915 and the General Service medal 1918 which was awarded to the Army and the Royal Air Force. As with the previous General Service Awards, the new medal was also available to those Commonwealth countries that still subscribed to the imperial awards system.
What is important to note is that, although named the 1962 GSM, it was in fact not instituted until 6th of October 1964 under the new MOD’s order number 61. The reason the medal is named the GSM 1962 is because it was decided to retrospectively divide the end of the Brunei Campaign for which the old separate GSM’s were awarded and the ongoing campaigns in Borneo and Vietnam, at that time, with the new award.
On August 3rd 1962 the first 30 officers and NCO’s of the Australian Training team Vietnam (AATTV) arrived in Vietnam. They were initially allocated to Vietnamese training establishments at Dong Ha, Hiep Khanh and Duc My. The advisors to the Ranger Training Camp at Duc My were for the most part members of the Australian 1st SAS company which had been established 5 years earlier on 25 July 1957 (Malone, SAS A Pictorial History of the Australian Special Air Service). Additionally two officers were assigned to the ‘Combined Studies Division’ (CSD) a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) organisation that operated out of Danang. (McNeil ‘The Team’)
It was these two CSD officers, Captain Peter Young and Captain John Healy who fired the first angry Australian shots of the war. On the 17th of August 1962, a helicopter that they were travelling in was forced to land with mechanical difficulties. Healy and Young repelled a Viet Cong assault on the downed aircraft, with the door gun they had stripped from the helicopter. (Davies and Mckay, The Men Who Persevered P.22) Captain Young joined the Australian Army, by taking a short service commission, after previous service in the British Army with 22 SAS in the Malayan Emergency (Young and Jesser, The Media and the Military) About 10% of all Australian troops who ultimately served in Vietnam were UK natives. Many of them, like Young, had previous service in British Forces.
The commander of AATTV, Colonel Ted Serong had been specifically proscribed by the Australian Department of External Affairs from engaging in combat or violating the neutrality of neighbouring Cambodia and Laos. (Woodard, ASIAN ALTERNATIVES) Serong ignored both of these edicts. The first Australians sent by Serong to assist the US Special Forces in their border ‘trail watch’ camps were drawn from the SAS Company men instructing at the Ranger Training Center Duc Lap. In his October 1962 report Serong admits - “Currently Sergeant Weir is visiting 20 Special Battalion (Rangers) in the Kontum area and Sergeant Simpson is visiting a Special Forces Village Defense Project near Lao Bao.”
For November 1962, Serong reported “Received a request from Col LAYTON, Combined Studies, to keep Sgt SIMPSON at (Khe Sanh)”.
At that time the border surveillance role was undertaken by Montagnard tribesmen led by United States Special Forces (USSF) troops. (Ahern, Vietnam Declassified) The program named the ‘Civil Irregular Defence Guard’ (CIDG) and would later be assumed by the US army, but at that time it was organised and financed by the CIA’s Combined Studies Division. (Methven, laughter in the Shadows) The Colonel Layton, Serong refers to was the CIA’s Gilbert Layton. (Petersen and Cribben, Tiger Men) The Sergeant Simpson referred to is Sergeant Rayene Simpson.

The Australians operating on the trail watch missions with USSF on the border were forbidden to cross the border into Laos and there is no official record of them ever doing so. However, given that, that is where the trails were; and that Serong ignored the stricture by personally flying reconnaissance over Laos. It appears likely that the Australians with CIDG troops did venture into Laos. On 11 September 1963, Serong recorded in his Commanders Diary “Departed for Saigon in CS (Combined Studies) apache. Aimed at overflying a PAVN (Peoples Army of Vietnam) airfield inside Laos on the border near Kontum. Too much cloud.”
By mid 1963 the original 30 members of AATTV 12 month tour was finished and replacements started to be posted in from Australia. On 1st June the first AATTV fatality was incurred, when Sergeant Bill Hacking was killed, most likely by suicide, while on operations with 3/3rd ARVN Battalion (Davies and Mckay, P.33)
In February 1964 the training Camp at Hiep Khanh was closed down and Serong took the opportunity of transferring the AATTV training staff wholesale, to the USSF CIDG program. These were ‘officially’ the first Australians to join the USSF ‘A Teams’. But as we have seen Australians had been temporarily assigned to the border camps, from September 1962.

In April 1964, Serong had passed on the grumbling from Danang and signalled Army Headquarters “Report 21 April 1964 - Decorations and awards. AHQ will have received my separate submission on this subject. This matter gives rise to discontent and criticism. It is important to the well being of this Force that either a form of recognition of their operational service be effected or an appropriate reason provided why this should not be done.”
By May 1964 the second tranche of 30 advisors were due to end their tour and were beginning to be replaced. In July 1964, one of the third tranche of AATTV team member was the first to be killed in Action. On 6 July 1964, local Vietcong and members, of what Serong identified later, as the PAVN 304th Division, attacked and attempted to overrun the Special Forces Camp located at Nam Dong. In an action that saw the first Medal of Honor, of the Vietnam War, awarded to US Captain Roger Donlon, Australian Warrant Officer Kevin Conway was killed. (Donlon and Rogers, Outpost of Freedom)
By the end of October 1964, the Training Team replacements were well and truly complete and the Team had expanded to 78 members. The team was visited at that time by the Australian Adjutant General, Major General Harrison who gave the news that a new General Service Medal had been approved on the 6th of that month and that “it would be issued soon and they would be eligible for it.” (Davies and McKay)
February 1965 signalled the end of an era, when Colonel Ted Serong relinquished command of AATTV and was detached to work on CIA counter Insurgency projects. During his command he had been cited for a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Unfettered by a quota system that was to be the scourge of the Australian Army, when applied in later years, for his men he had written citations for:
An Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Lieutenant Colonel Russell McNamara
A Member of the order of the British Empire(MBE) for Captain Barry Tinkler and warrant Officer Don Donkin.
The Military Cross (MC) for Captain Barry Petersen and Captain Noel Delahunty.
The Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for warrant Officer George Chinn and Warrant Officer Ray Simpson.
The British Empire Medal (BEM) for Warrant Officer Reg Collinson, Warrant Officer Robert Rooney and Warrant Officer Roy Weir.
The Queens Commendation for Brave Conduct (QC) for Warrant Officer John Clarke, Warrant Officer Mick Coffey, warrant Officer John McEwan-Ferguson and warrant Officer John Malone. (Palmer, Vietnam Honours and Awards – Army)
All of which were approved by the palace and all of whom would eventually receive the 62 GSM with SVN clasp.
In 1965 the Australian commitment to the war in Vietnam was boosted by the arrival of the First battalion the Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) in March of that year. At first, the members of 1 RAR were given the same information as the AATTV, that is, they would be eligible for a campaign medal and they were informed that it would be the 1962 GSM with a clasp South Vietnam. (1RAR Commanders diary) The arrival of 1RAR complicated the issue of Vietnam campaign medals, because the battalion group included 161 Battery of the New Zealand Artillery.
The Australian and New Zealand process for recognition for a contemporaneous campaign in Borneo was a simple affair. Instructions on the establishment and qualifying conditions had been determined by the UK Ministry of Defence. Just as it had in previous campaigns such as Malaya, the Australian and New Zealand governments had merely followed the directives that they received from London, in awarding campaign medals.
Vietnam however was complicated due to the lack of traditional guidance received from an uninvolved Britain. The Australian and New Zealand governments too, were at odds with each other over the qualifying conditions for Vietnam service. The Australians opted for a liberal approach, and wished to extend the qualification to some civilians, while the New Zealanders adopted a more conservative stance. In the normal course of Commonwealth participation in military activities a compromise would have been negotiated with the UK authorities. Without British participation in the Vietnam War and a UK Labour government that was vehemently opposed to that war, post-colonial Australia and New Zealand were left to sort the matter out between themselves.
The Australian Liberal Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, who was particularly anxious not to embarrass the UK government, originally proposed the idea of separate campaign medal for Vietnam service for both New Zealand and Australia. (Howson, The Howson diaries: the life of politics) Discussions between Australia and New Zealand continued about the qualification criteria and also a design for the new medal was required. The trans-Tasman negotiations failed to agree on qualification criteria and separate Royal Warrants were eventually sought for the New Zealand and Australian “Vietnam medals’. Agreement was reached on a design for the medal by Andor Mészáros, the designer of the 1956 Olympic medals and decimal coins and that it would be minted at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra (1966 Cabinet decision 30 ‘Campaign Medal in Recognition of Service in Vietnam.’)
While these debates took place, Australians who had been awarded decorations for active service in Vietnam, since 1963 were still being invested at Government House, without a campaign medal to show for the service they were being awarded for.

The negotiations between London, Canberra and Wellington over the establishment of the new Vietnam Medal failed to address those Australians who had served in Vietnam prior to New Zealand’s participation in the War. The compromise solution was to recognise those Australians with early service in Vietnam with the 1962 GSM with SVN Clasp. The three Royal warrants, The Australian Vietnam Medal, The New Zealand Vietnam Medal and The 62 GSM with SVN clasp were all applied for, by the Australian and New Zealand Governments, to London for approval at the same time.
It would seem sensible that the qualifying periods for the end and start dates for the qualifying periods of the 62 GSM with SVN clasp and the new Vietnam Medal would be the date that New Zealand troops commenced active service in Vietnam. That was in fact the case. In June 1964 the New Zealanders had committed a small detachment of Engineers (NEWZAD) to the small Vietnamese town of the town of Thủ Dầu Một. Thus the start date of the Vietnam Medal was established as the 29th June 1964 specifically to accommodate and recognize the New Zealand diggers of this hardly known early New Zealand contribution.
The negotiations and approval process dragged on so long that it was not until 8 June 1968 that the three Royal warrants were finally promulgated and the Vietnam Medals started to be produced and issued from the Australian Mint. The 70 62 GSM SVN clasps were produced in the UK and issued to the early members of AATTV, nearly eight years after some of those members service in Vietnam began in 1962. Also noteworthy is that the AATTV members, so awarded, received both the medal and the South Vietnam Clasp at the same time. The exception was for those who had also served in Borneo and had already received their 62 GSM with a Borneo clasp.
Vietnam was a political war and nothing demonstrates this fact better than the long and drawn out saga of the award of the 62 GSM with SVN clasp. The long gestation period of the award and the sometimes contradictory advice that was signalled between Commonwealth Headquarters in Saigon and Canberra contributed a lot to the confusion and some of the mythology that has surrounded the award of this medal. This fact combined with the early teams association with classified CIA projects and what appears to be Serong’s deliberate subterfuge in hiding the combat role he apparently deliberately sought for the early team has further muddied the waters over the last 50 years.
The early training team, under the leadership of Ted Serong, established a unique place in military and political history and set a bench mark for following teams to meet. Those that received the 62 GSM with SVN clasp are justifiably proud of the award that sets them apart as pioneers of ‘The Team’.
Primary Sources:
AATTV Commanders diaries AWM, 1RAR Commanders Diaries AWM, Cabinet Papers Menzies Government 1966 NAA, AWM collections Photographs.
Secondary Sources
Ahern, Thomas. Vietnam Declassified: The CIA and Counterinsurgency University of Kentucky Press, Kentucky, 2009
Davies, Bruce. & McKay, Gary. The Men Who Persevered- The AATTV – The most highly decorated Australian unit of the Viet Nam war, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2005.
Howson, Peter, The Howson diaries: the life of politics. Penguin Books Australia; First edition 1984
McNeill Ian, THE TEAM- Australian Advisers in Vietnam 1962-1972 Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Malone M. J. SAS A Pictorial History of the Australian Special Air Service 1957-1997, Imprimatur Books. Claremont 1997
Methven, Stuart., Laughter in the shadows A CIA memoir, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis 2008
Palmer, Alexander. Vietnam veterans Honours and Awards – Army Military Minded, Perth 1995.
Petersen, Barry and Cribben, John. Tiger Men, Macmillan, South Melbourne
Philpott, Tom. GLORY DENIED – the saga of Jim Thompson, America’s longest serving prisoner of war, Plume/Penguin, New York, 2002.
Stanton Shelby. Special Forces at War: An Illustrated History, Southeast Asia 1957-1975 Zenith Press, 1990.
Woodard, Garry. ASIAN ALTERNATIVES - Australia’s Vietnam decision and lessons on going to war. Melbourne University Print. Melbourne 2004
Young, Peter and Jesser The media and the military : from the Crimea to Desert Strike, Macmillan, Melbourne 1997.

30 December 2011

WWI rank abbreviations

Another question I get asked a lot is what do the abbreviations that are stamped on WWI medals stand for. The abbreviations on the second line of a star just before the initials and name donates the rank. The third line on the star designates the unit or organisation the soldier belonged to. On the British War Medal and the Victory Medal the naming is around the rim and begins with the number, then the rank, followed by the initials and name and finally the unit. These photos show examples:

The following list of rank abbreviations was compiled by Richard (RWF) of the British Medal Forum who has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here. I have removed those that specifically do not relate to Australia or Great Britain although in some circumstances I have left interesting ranks like 'Cattleman'. The AIF did not use all the ranks listed but many are common on medals issued to British soldiers. I hope that this is a search-able resource for people to use if they are looking for a particular rank that is on a medal.

A-A. FWN. Acting Assistant Forewoman A-FWN. Acting Forewoman
A-N. SISTER Acting Nursing Sister A-P. CPL Acting Provost Corporal
A-SURG Acting Surgeon (3rd Class) A-U. ADTR Assistant Under Administrator
A.A. ENGR. Acting Artificer Engineer A. ADTR. Assistant Administrator
A.B. Able Seaman A. BMBR. Acting Bombardier A.C. Armourer's Crew
A.C. CTR. Assistant Chief Controller A.C. SGT. Acting Colour Serjeant
A.C.Q.M. SGT Acting Company Quarter Master Sergeant
A. COMM. Assistant Commissary A. CPL. Acting Corporal
A.D. COMM. Assistant Deputy Commissary A. FWN. Assistant Forewoman
A. INSPR. Assistant Inspector A.L. CPL. Acting Lance Corporal
A.M.1. Air Mechanic 1st Class A.M. GR.1. Air Mechanic Grade 1
A.S.M. Assistant Station Master A.S. SJT Acting Staff Serjeant
A. SGT. Acting Serjeant A. SJT Acting Serjeant A. SN. MR Acting Station Master
A. SUPDT. Acting Superintendant A. TRSR. Assistant Treasurer
A.W.O. CL.2. Acting Warrant Officer Class 2
A/S. Q.M. SJT. Acting Squadron Quarter Master Serjeant
ACCT. & TR. Accountant & Treasurer ACT. A.M.1. Acting Air Mechanic 1st Class
ACT. AR. MT. Acting Armourers Mate ACT. ARMR. Acting Armourer
ACT. C.M.M. Acting Chief Motor Mechanic ACT. CH. ARM. Acting Chief Armourer
ACT. E.R.A. Acting Engine Room Artificer ACT.L.S. Acting Leading Seaman
ACT. L. STO. Acting Leading Stoker ACT. S.P.O. Acting Stoker Petty Officer
AD. SVT. Admirals Servant ADJ Adjutant ADMIRAL Admiral AGENT Agent
AMT. Q.M. SJT. Armament Quarter Master Serjeant
AMT. S. MJR. Armament Serjeant Major APPCE. Apprentice
AR. CR. Armourers Crew AR. MTE. Armourers Mate ARB. Labourer
ARMR. Armourer ARMR. S. MJR. Armourer Serjeant Major
ART. ENG. Artificer Engineer ART. HVLDR. Artificer Havildar
ARTFR. Artificer ASST. Assistant ASST. BUTCHER Assistant Butcher
ASST. CK. Assistant Cook ASST. FRN. Assistant Foreman
ASST. LNDRYMAN Assistant Laundryman
ASST. PAYR. Assistant Paymaster ASST. SGN. Assistant Surgeon
ASST. STD. Assistant Steward ASST. TD. Assistant Steward
ASST. STO. Assistant Stoker ASST. SURGN. Assistant Surgeon
B'SUN Boatswain B. ART Boy Artificer B. BUGR. Boy Bugler
B. CK. Boy Cook B.K.M.S. Battery Quarter Master Serjeant
B.Q.M. SJT. Battery Quarter Master Serjeant B.S. MATE Blacksmiths Mate
B.S. MJR. Battery Serjeant Major B. SHAWISH Bash Shawish
B. SMITH Blacksmith B. SVT. Boy Servant B. TEL. Boy Telegraphist
BAKER Baker BANDMASTER Bandmaster BAR TDR. Bar Tender
BARBER Barber BD. CPL Band Corporal BDN. Bandsman BDR Bombardier
BDMR Bandmaster BDSM Bandsman BDSMN Bandsman
BED. STD. Bedroom Steward BGLR. Bugler BK. S. MJR. Barrack Serjeant Major
BKR. Baker BLK. Blacksmith BLKS. MTE. Blacksmith's Mate
BLKSTH. Blacksmith BLRMKR. Boilermaker BLYR. Bricklayer
BMBR Bombardier BMKR. Boilermaker BNDSMN Bandsman
BNDSMN Bandsman BOAT HD. Boat Hand BOATSN Boatswain
BOSN. Boatswain BOY Boy BOY. SIG. Boy Signaller
BOY. TEL. Boy Telegraphist BOY 1 Boy 1st Class BR Bearer
BRIG. Brigadier BRIG. GEN. Brigadier General BRUGL Bugler
BUG. Bugler BUGLR. Bugler BURG Burger BUTCHER Butcher
C. OF. H. Corporal of Horse C. CENSOR Cable Censor
C. DVR. Crane Driver C.E.A. Chief Electrical Artificer
C.E.R.A. Chief Engine Room Artificer
C.M.M. Chief Motor Mechanic C.M. STKPR. Chief Medical Storekeeper
C.P.O. Chief Petty Officer C.P.O. MECH. Chief Petty Officer Mechanic
C.P.O. WR. Chief Petty Officer Writer C.Q.M.S. Company Quarter Master Serjeant C.Q.M. SJT. Company Quarter Master Serjeant
C.S. MJR. Company Serjeant Major C. SJT. Colour Serjeant
C. SMITH Copper Smith C.Y.S. Chief Yeoman of Signals
CAMP. SUPDT. Camp Superintendant CAPT. Captain
CAR. CR. Carpenters Crew CAR. MATE Carpenters Mate CARP. Carpenter
CARPR. Carpenter CASHIER Cashier CATTLEMAN Cattleman
CD. CK. Commissioned Cook CDR. Commander CDR. Conductor CFN. Craftsman
CH. ARM. Chief Armourer CH. ART. ENG. Chief Artificer Engineer
CH. BOSN. Chief Bosun CH. BSN. Chief Bosun CH. CAPT. Chaplain Captain
CH. CK. Chief Cook CH. ENG. Chief Engineer CH. GEN. Chaplain General
CH. GNR. Chief Gunner CH. OFFR. Chief Officer
CH. S.B. Chief Signal Boatswain CH. SH. CK. Chief Ships Cook
CH. SHPT. Chief Shipwright CH. SIG. Chief Signalman
CH. SKR. Chief Skipper CH. SPT. Chief Shipwright CH. STO. Chief Stoker
CH. WR. Chief Writer CH. Y.S. Chief Yeoman of Signals
CH. YEO. SIG Chief Yeoman of Signals CHKLR. Chuckler CHLRNTR Chlorinator
CHMN Chinaman (Labourer) CIV. Civilian CK. Cook CK. MTE. Cooks Mate
CL. MIL. Military Assistant CLERK Clerk CLK. Clerk CLKR. Caulker
CMPDR. Compounder COL. Colonel COL. COMDT. Colonel Commandant
COMM Commissary COMP Compounder COMMR. Commander
CONDR. Conductor CONST Constable COOPER Cooper
COPPER SM. Copper Smith COX'N Coxswain CPL Corporal
CPL. MECH Corporal Mechanic CPL. MJR. Corporal Major
CPR Cooper CPTR. FMN. Carpenter Foreman CR. SGT. Colour Serjeant
CTN & TRP. DK. STD. Canteen & Troop Deck Steward
CTN. ASST. Canteen Assistant CTN. CLK. Canteen Clerk
CTN. MGR. Canteen Manager CTN. SR. Canteen Server
CTR. Controller CYC. Cyclist
D. ADTR. Deputy Administrator D. COMM. Deputy Commissary
D. CTR. Deputy Controller D.H. Deck Hand D. HD. Deck Hand
D.M. & LIEUT. Director of Music & Lieutenant D. RDR. Despatch Rider
DENT. SURG. Dental Surgeon DISPENSER Dispenser DK. ENG. Deck Engineer
DK. STD. Deck Steward DKYN. Donkeyman DMR Drummer DNKYMAN Donkeyman DR. Driver DRDG. MTR. Dredging Master DRESSER Dresser
DRM. MJR. Drum Major DVR-A. WHL. Driver Acting Wheeler DVR. Driver
DWR. Driver DYMN. Dairyman
E.A. Electrical Artificer E. ERECTOR Engineer Erector
E.L. & ST. S. MJR. Engineer Ledgerkeeper & Storeman Serjeant Major
E.M. Electrical Mechanician E.R.A. Engine Room Artificer
E. ST. S. MJR. Engineer Storekeeper Serjeant Major ENG. CAPT. Engineer Captain
ENG. COMMR. Engineer Commander ENG. CR. Engineer commander
ENG. DVR. Engine Driver ENG. DVR. Engine Driver ENG. LT. Engineer Lieutenant
ENG. LT. CR. Engineer Lieutenant Commander ENG. S. LT. Engineer Sub Lieutenant
ENGN. Engineman ENGR'S. STRKPR Engineers Storekeeper ENGR. Engineer
ER-SGT. Engineer Serjeant EX. CHEF Extra Chef
EX. S. MJR. Experimental Serjeant Major
F. CADET Flight Cadet  F.M. Field Marshal
F. OF W.S. MJR. Foreman of Works Serjeant Major FAR. CPL. Farrier Corporal
FAR. CPL. MJR. Farrier Corporal Major FAR. S. MJR. Farrier Serjeant Major
FARR Farrier FARR. S/MAJ. Farrier Serjeant Major FLR Follower
FLT. S. LT. Flight Sub Lieutenant FLWR. Follower FMN. Fireman
FRGMN. Forgeman FSHMN Fisherman FSR Fusilier
FT. PAYR. Fleet Paymaster FT. SURG. Fleet Surgeon FTR. Filter
FWN. Forewoman
G.M. SRVT. General Mess Servant G.R. CK. Gun Room Cook
G.R. STD. Gun Room Steward G.R. SVT. Gun Room Servant
GARR. Q.M. SJT. Garrison Quarter Master Serjeant
GARR. S. MJR. Garrison Serjeant Major GDMN Guardsman
GEN. SVT. General Servant GENERAL General GN. Gunner
GNGMN. Gangman GNR Gunner GNR-A. BMBR. Gunner Acting Bombardier
GSR. Greaser GUARD Guard
H. CPTR. Head Carpenter H. KDR. Head Conductor H. KPR. Horse Keeper
H. SMITH Head Smith H. WCHMN. Hydraulic Winchman H. WDR. Headman Warder
H/SMIT Shoeing Smith HD. Hand HD-TRANSLATOR Head Translator
HDMN. Headman HDMN. S.B. Headman Stretcher Bearer HKPR. Housekeeper
HMRMN. Hammerman HON. LT. Honorary Lieutenant
HOSP. ATT. Hospital Attendant HRDSMN. Herdsman HSMN Horseman
I. AGENT Intelligence Agent I.BEARER Indian Bearer
ICE MECH. Ice Mechanic ILLALO HDMN. Illalo Headman
INSPR. Inspector INSTR. CKY. Instructor of Cookery
INTER. Interpreter INTERP. Interpreter INTR. Interpreter
J.R. Junior Reserve J.R.A. Junior Reserve Attendant
K. DMR. Kettle Drummer
L. & S. INSP. Land and Ship Inspector L-CPL Lance Corporal
L-DFDR. Lance Dafadar L. BMBR Lance Bombardier
L. CK. MTE. Leading Cooks Mate L. CPL. Lance Corporal
L.D.H. Leading Deck Hand L.M. Leading Mechanic
L.P.M. Leading Patrol Man L. PTR. Letter Painter L.S. Leading Seaman
L. SIG . Leading Signalman L. SJT . Lance Serjeant L. STO. Leading Stoker
L. TEL Leading Telegraphist L/C Lance Corporal LABR. Labourer
LG.BTN. Leading Boatman LG. C. CREW Leading Carpenters Crew
LIEUT. Lieutenant LNMN. Lineman LPTMR. Lamptrimmer LT. Lieutenant
LT. COL. Lieutenant Colonel LT. CR. Lieutenant Commander
LT. GEN. Lieutenant General
M.A.A. Master At Arms M.B. Motorboatman M. CYCLIST Motor Cyclist
M.E. Mechanical Engineer M.G.P. Machine Gun Porter M. GNR. Master Gunner
M.M. Motorman Mechanic M. MECH. Motor Mechanic
M.S. FMN. Machine Shop Foreman M.S. MJR. Mechanist Serjeant Major
M.T.S.T.C CLK Motor Transport Supply Corps Clerk
M.W. TEL. O. Marine Wireless Telegraph Operator MAH Orderly
MAJ. GEN. Major General MAJOR Major MASON Mason MATRON Matron
MEC Mechanic MECH. Mechanic MECH. S. SJT. Mechanist Staff Serjeant
MESS MARSHAL Mess Marshal MESS STD. Mess Steward MID Midshipman
MIDS Midshipman MLDR. Moulder MLWRGHT. Millwright
MMN. Machineman MR. Mister MR. GR. Master Gunner
MSTR. MECH. Master Mechanic MT. DVR. Mechanical Transport Driver
MTE. BKR. Bakers Mate MTR. Master MTR. BOY Motor Boy
MUS. Musician MUSN. Musician N. CONST. Native Constable
N. NURSE Nursing Nurse N. ORDERLY Nursing Orderly N. SERJT. Native Serjeant
N. SISTER Nursing Sister NAFAR Private NSG. SISTER Nursing Sister
NURSE A.I.F. Nurse
O. BDR. Lance Bombardier O.C. Officers Clerk O.C.S. Officers Chief Steward
O. KPL. Lance Corporal O.R. SJT. Orderly Room Serjeant
O. TEL. Ordinary Telegraphist O/SERS Lance Serjeant OFF. CK. Officers Cook
OFF. ST. Officers Steward OFFICE SUPDT. Office Superintendent
OILER & GR. Oiler & Greaser OPTR. Operator
ORD. Ordinary Seaman ORD. CLK. Orderly Clerk OVERSEER Overseer
OX. DVR. Ox Driver
P.A.T.I.G. Personal Assistant to Inspector General P. AGENT Political Agent
P. FLT. OFFR. Pilot Flight Officer (Probationary) P.H. SUPDT Superintendent
P.M. SJT. Provost Marshal Serjeant P. MATRON Principal Matron
P. MJR. Pipe Major P.O. Petty Officer P.O. CK. Petty Officer Cook
P.O.M. Petty Officer Mechanic P.O. MTR. MECH. Petty Officer Motor Mechanic
P.O.S.M. Petty Officer Stoker Mechanic P.O. TEL. Petty Officer Telegraphist
P. STD. Pantry Steward P/NURSE Probationary Nurse P/NURSE Probationary Nurse
PAYM. Paymaster PAYR. LT. CR. Paymaster Lieutenant Commander
PAYR. S. LT. Paymaster Sub Lieutenant PBY. NURSE Probationary Nurse
PEON Peon PILOT Pilot PILOTS ASST. Pilots Assistant PIPER Piper
PKRMN. Packerman PATER Plater PLATER LABR. Plater Labourer
PLM. Plumber PLTR. Plater PNR Pioneer PNR. CPL. Pioneer Corporal
PNR. SJT. Pioneer Serjeant PORTER Porter PROF. Professor
PROV. SERS. Provost Serjeant PTE. Private PTR. Painter PTYMN. Pantryman
PURSER Purser PYMSTR. Paymaster Q.M. Quarter Master
Q.M. & CAPT. Quarter Master & Captain
Q.M. & LIEUT. Quarter Master and Lieutenant
Q.M. CPL. MJR. Quarter Master Corporal Major
Q.M. SJT. Quarter Master Serjeant Q. SIG. Qualified Signalman
R. ADMIRAL Rear Admiral R.K.M.S. Regimental Quarter Master Serjeant
R.M. & LIEUT. Riding Master and Lieutenant R.P.O. Regulating Petty Officer
R.S. MJR. Regimental Serjeant Major R. WDMR. Reserve Wardmaster
READER Reader REF. ENG. Refrigeration Engineer
REFG. GR. Refrigeration Greaser RES. WD. MTE. Reserve Wardmasters Mate
RES. WDMSTR. Reserve Wardmaster RESVT. Reservist REV. Reverend
RFLM. Rifleman RFMN Rifleman RFN. Rifleman RFM. Rifleman
RT. REV. LORD BISHOP Right Reverend Lord Bishop RVTR Riviter
S. & C. SMITH Shoeing and Carriage Smith S.A. SGN. Sub Assistant Surgeon
S. ASST. SGN. Sub Assistant Surgeon
S. A. S. I. M. D Sub Assistant Surgeon Indian Medical Department
S. ATTDT. Smoke Attendant S.B.A. Sick Berth Attendant
S.B.P.O. Sick Berth Petty Officer S.B.S. Sick Berth Steward
S.B. STD. Sick Berth Steward S. BR. Stretcher Bearer
S.C.P.O. Stoker Chief Petty Officer S.C.P.O. Supply/Stores Chief Petty Officer
S. CONDR. Sub Conductor SD. S. SJT. Saddler Staff Serjeant
S. HD. Spare Hand S.LT. Sub Lieutenant
S.M.P. Special Military Probationer S. MJR. Serjeant Major
S. MJR. (A.C.) Serjeant Major Artillery Clerk
S. MJR. INSTR. Serjeant Major Instructor S.O.O. Ship's Ordnance Officer
S.P.O. Stoker Petty Officer S.Q.M. SJT. Staff Quarter Master Serjeant
S.R. Senior Reserve S.R.A. Senior Reserve Attendant S.R.N. SISTER Nursing Sister
S.S.A. Ships Stewards Assistant S.S. ASST. Ships Stewards Assistant
S.S. MJR. Staff Serjeant Major S. SERS Staff Serjeant S. SJT. Staff Serjeant
S. SJT. MJR. Staff Serjeant Major S. STH. Shoeing Smith
S.T. MKR. Saddle Tree Maker S. TAALIM Battalion Serjeant Major
S. TAYIN Battalion Quarter Master Serjeant S. TYPIST Steno Typist
S.V. Staff Nurse S/MAJ Serjeant Major S/NURSE Staff Nurse
SADR Saddler SAIL MTE. Sailmakers Mate SALN. BRMN. Saloon Barman
SAN. INSPR. Sanitary Inspector SAR. Sarwal SAWAR Sower
SCHOOLMASTER Schoolmaster SCMN. Sculleryman
SD.Q.M.-CPL. SGT. Saddler Quarter Master Corporal/Serjeant
SDLR. Saddler SEEDIE Seedie SEN. RES. Senior Reserve SEP. Sepoy
SERS. Serjeant SGLN Signalman SGLR Signaller SH. CPL. Ships Corporal
SH. STD. Ships Steward SHAWISH Serjeant SHMKR. SJT. Shoemaker Serjeant
SHPT. Shipwright SHPT. APPC. Shipwrights Apprentice
SHPT. LT. Shipwright Lieutenant SHUNTER Shunter SIG. Signaller
SIG. BOY Signal Boy SISTER Sister SJT. MECH. Serjeant Mechanic
SKP. Skipper SKTR. Skutter Rifleman SLMKR. Sailmaker
SLMKR. MTE. Sailmakers Mate SMITH Smith SMN. Seaman
SMN. RIGGER Seaman Rigger SNR. Signaller SOL. CLERK Soldier Clerk
SOWAR Sowar SP. AM. MTE. Supply Armourers Mate SPR Sapper
SQ. CPL. MJR. Squadron Corporal Major
SQ. Q.M. CPL. Squadron Quarter Master Corporal
SQ. Q.M. SJT. Squadron Quarter Master Serjeant
SQ. S. MJR. Squadron Serjeant Major
SR. ASST. SGN. Senior Assistant Surgeon SRN Sarwan
SR. N. SISTER Senior Nursing Sister SRGT. Serjeant SRVR . Surveyor
SRVT. Servant ST. PAYR. Staff Paymaster STD. Steward
STDESS. Stewardess STEW BOY Steward Boy
STH. Q.M. SJT. Smith Quarter Master Serjeant STKPR. Storekeeper
STKR. Storekeeper STN. MR. Station Master STO. Stoker
STO. P.O. Stoker Petty Officer STORES SUPDT. Stores Superintendent
STPR. Strapper STRKPR. Storekeeper STRMN. Storeman
SUB. CDR. Sub Conductor SUB. CONDR. Sub Conductor
SUPDT. Superintendent SUPDT. CLK. Superindending Clerk
SUPT. Superintendent SUPVR. Supervisor SURG. CAPT. Surgeon Captain
SURG. GEN. Surgeon General SURG. LT. Surgeon Lieutenant
SURG. PROB. Surgeon Probationer SWPR.
T-NURSE Temporary Nurse T.2. CPL. Transport 2nd Corporal
T. ATDT. Transport Attendant T.C. CTR. Temporary Chief Controller
T. ORD. Telephone Orderly T.Q.M. DAF. Transport Q.M.Dafadar
T. SJT. Transport Serjeant T.W.O. CL.1. Transport Warrant Officer Class 1
T/CPL. Transport Corporal T/SGT. Transport Serjeant TE. Telegraphist
TEL. Telegraphist TKT. CLK. Ticket Clerk TMPY. NURSE Temporary Nurse
TP. Q.M. SJT. Troop Quarter Master Serjeant TP. S. MJR. Troop Serjeant Major
TPR. Trooper TR. Trimmer TR. CK. Trimmer Cook TR. DR. Transport Driver
TRP. CK. Troop Cook TURNER Turner TYPIST Typist
U-ADTR. Unit Administrator
V-ADMIRAL Vice Admiral V.A. Victuallers Assistant V.ASSTT Vetinary Assistant
V.A.R.N. Victuallers Assistant R.N. V. ADMIRAL Vice Admiral
V.C.P.O. Victualling Chief Petty Officer V. CAPT. Veterinary Captain
VEN. ARCHD. Venerable Archdeacon VETY.ASST Vetinary Assistant
VLCNZR. Vulcanizer VOL. Volunteer
W.O. CL.1. Warrant Officer Class 1 W.O. CK. Warrant Officer's Cook
W.R. CK. Ward Room Cook W.R. OFF. SVT. Ward Room Officers Servant
W.R. ST. Ward Room Steward W.R. STD. Ward Room Steward
W.R. SVT. Ward Room Servant W. SRVT. Ward Servant
W.T.O. Wireless Telegraph Operator W/SERS Acting Serjeant
WATER CARR. Water Carrier WCHMN. Winchman WGHMN. Weighman
WGNR. Wagoner WHLR. Wheeler
WHLR. Q.M. SJT Wheeler Quarter Master Serjeant WKR. Worker WMN. Wireman
WR. Writer WR. CK. A. Ward Room Cooks Assistant WSHRMN Washerman
WT. Warrant Electrician WT. ENG. Warrant Engineer
WT. MECH. Warrant Mechanician WT. TEL. Warrant Telegraphist
WTCHMN Watchman WTK. Mechanic WTR. Writer
Y.S. Yeoman of Signals YEO. OF SIG. Yeoman of Signals

27 December 2011

Order of wearing and post-nominals

I'm often asked about the order of wearing of medals and the meaning of post-nominals (the letters after a persons name). I thought the best way to answer this was to reproduce the relevent document from the its an honour web site as published by Government House. The text didn't quite cut and paste well so I've aligned the award with the post-nominal.


Honours and Awards listed in the Schedule and Annexes in BOLD print are:

·         those within the Australian System of Honours and Awards;

·         those conferred by The Sovereign in exercise of the Royal Prerogative;

·         those within the Order of St John; and

·         foreign awards, the acceptance and wearing of which have been authorised by the Governor-General.
-                all imperial British awards made to Australian citizens after 5 October 1992 are foreign awards and should be worn accordingly.

Those Honours and Awards listed in the Schedule and Annexes in UNBOLDED print are Imperial awards.

VICTORIA CROSS  (1)           VC

George Cross                           GC
CROSS OF VALOUR              CV
Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath    GCB
Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George   GCMG
Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire     GBE
Companion of Honour      CH

Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath    KCB/DCB

Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George  KCMG/DCMG


Knight/Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire  KBE/DBE

Knight Bachelor (NB: Confers title of “Sir” - no postnominals)
Companion of the Order of the Bath    CB

Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George  CMG

Commander of the Order of the British Empire     CBE
Companion of the Distinguished Service Order        DSO
Officer of the Order of the British Empire    OBE
Companion of the Imperial Service Order    ISO
Member of the Order of the British Empire   MBE

Royal Red Cross (1st Class)     RRC

Distinguished Service Cross    DSC

Military Cross     MC
Distinguished Flying Cross   DFC
Air Force Cross    AFC
Royal Red Cross (2nd Class)    ARRC
ORDER OF ST JOHN  (3)                                                                                            
Distinguished Conduct Medal       DCM
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal    CGM
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying)  CGM
George Medal      GM


Queen's Police Medal for Gallantry     QPM
Queen's Fire Service Medal for Gallantry    QFSM
Distinguished Service Medal        DSM
Military Medal    MM
Distinguished Flying Medal    DFM
Air Force Medal        AFM
Sea Gallantry Medal     SGM
Queen's Gallantry Medal    QGM
British Empire Medal    BEM
Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service  QPM
Queen's Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service      QFSM
Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct
War medals, campaign medals, active service medals and
    service medals
(see Annex 1)
Polar Medal
Imperial Service Medal
Coronation, Jubilee, Remembrance and
    Commemorative medals
(in order of date of receipt)  (see Annex 2)


Long Service Medals  (6)
Independence and Anniversary Medals (in order of date of receipt)
Foreign Awards (in order of date of authorisation of their acceptance and wearing)


1.                  Refers to the Imperial Victoria Cross and the Victoria Cross for Australia.

2.         Provision for further awards at this level within the Order of Australia was removed
by Her Majesty The Queen on 3 March 1986 on the advice of the Prime Minister.

3.         Listed to indicate where any awards within the Order of St John should be worn; however, the Service Medal of the Order of St John should be worn as a Long Service  Medal after all other Imperial Long Service awards. Post-nominals within the Order of St John are not recognised as notified in the Governor-General’s media release of 14 August 1982.

4.         The Australian Antarctic Medal was known as the Antarctic Medal until
18 December 1997.

5.         Clasps to these medals should be worn on the ribbon in order of date of receipt
commencing from the bottom of the ribbon.

6.         Includes Imperial efficiency and long service awards.

General Notes:

The Unit Citation for Gallantry, the Meritorious Unit Citation and the Group Bravery Citation are not positioned in The Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards.  For members of uniformed services, they should be worn in accordance with the dress rules of the particular Service concerned.  Civilian personnel awarded the Group Bravery Citation should wear the insignia on the left lapel or left breast.  Should other honours or awards have been awarded, the Group Bravery Citation should be worn centrally, approx 10mm above these.

The insignia for The Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct is worn directly on the coat after any medal ribbons.

The Mention in Despatches is an Imperial award.  It is not positioned in the Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards.  The Department of Defence provides advice on the wearing of the emblem.

Annex 1 to
Schedule on the Order of Wearing
Australian Honours and Awards


AND SERVICE MEDALS  (1901 onwards)

South African War

Queen’s South Africa Medal
King’s South Africa Medal

World War I

1914 Star
1914-15 Star  (1*)

British War Medal

Mercantile Marine War Medal

Victory Medal

Naval General Service Medal 1915-62  (2* & 3*)
General Service Medal 1918-62  (2* & 3*)

 World War II

1939-45 Star
Atlantic Star  (4*)
Air Crew Europe Star  (4*)
Africa Star
Pacific Star  (5*)
Burma Star  (5*)
Italy Star
France and Germany Star  (4*)
Defence Medal
War Medal, 1939-45

Post-World War II


Korea Medal

United Nations Service Medal for Korea  (6*)

Naval General Service Medal 1915-62  (2* & 3*)
General Service Medal 1918-62  (2* & 3*)
General Service Medal 1962  (3*)


Annex 1 (continued)



1*.        Recipients of the 1914 Star are not eligible for the award of the 1914-15 Star.

2*.        The order of wearing of the Naval General Service Medal 1915-62 and General Service Medal 1918-62 (Army and Air Force) will vary from person to person depending on when the person earned the first clasp.  If the first clasp relates to service between World War I and World War II, the medals should be worn immediately after World War I war medals.  If the first clasp relates to service after 2 September 1945, the medals should be worn immediately after the United Nations Service Medal for Korea.

3*.        Clasps to these medals should be worn on the ribbon in order of date of receipt.

4*.        Only one of these three Stars could be awarded to an individual.  Should a person have qualified for two of these awards, the Star first earned is worn with the Clasp of the second Star.  Only one Star and one Clasp may be worn even if the person qualified for all three Stars.

5*.        Only one of these two Stars could be awarded to an individual.  Should a person have qualified for both the Pacific Star and the Burma Star, the Star first earned was awarded together with the appropriate Clasp denoting the service that would have qualified for the other Star.

6*.        Uniquely, although a foreign award, the United Nations Service Medal for Korea is worn immediately after the Korea Medal.  All other foreign awards for which official permission has been given to accept and wear are worn as Foreign Awards.

7*.        A person who has been awarded the Vietnam Medal, or who is eligible for the award of the Vietnam Medal, is not eligible for the award of the Vietnam Logistic and Support Medal.  These medals are of equal status.

Annex 2 to
Schedule on the Order of Wearing
Australian Honours and Awards