War Office and Ministry of Defence: Military Secretary's Department: Recommendations for Honours and Awards for Gallant and Distinguished Service (Army)
This series contains surviving successful recommendations (often referred to as citations), forwarded from theatres of operations, for awards to British army personnel and those of the dominions. Also included here are papers concerning awards to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force of decorations administered by the War Office, and records relating to the exchange of decorations between British and allied armies. There are awards made during campaigns, for 'non-operational' gallantry, and those announced in half-yearly honours lists.
Until the mid-1950s, procedures in the Military Secretary's department of the War Office provided for the removal of the recommendations from the pertinent correspondence and their inclusion in a numbered series which was accessed by means of a card index. Thus, it is unusual for registered files relating to honours and awards announced prior to 1950 to have survived; those that have are included in this series.
The date range given for some items refers to the date that the award was announced in the London Gazette, not the date of the action or deed which earned the award.
Pieces 146 and 147-191 are not available on microfilm.
Please Note: Digital copies of records of the Recommendations for Honours and Awards in WO 373 can be searched and downloaded.
WO 373 is also available as part of the Digital Microfilm project.
Recommendations in this series have been arranged by category of award as: combatant gallantry awards; non-combatant or 'civilian' gallantry awards; meritorious service awards; mentions-in-despatches; allied awards to British army personnel; British awards to allied army personnel.
The recommendations on the microfilms for WO 373/1-106 are not in chronological order within the microfilms as some of the documents were misplaced in the boxes prior to microfilming.
Except in the case of recommendations in surviving files, those from the numbered series have been arranged, prior to transfer to the PRO, to coincide with announcements in the London Gazette. These can therefore be accessed using the London Gazette index.
War Office, Military Secretary, 1904-1964
With the exception of mentions-in-despatches, for which very few recommendations survive, awards were made under the statute or royal warrant of the order or decoration concerned. Commanders-in-Chief in the field were usually given delegated powers to make awards within a 'scale', based on the number of troops under command over a given period. As recommendations moved up the chain of command it was not unusual for them to be altered to reflect senior commanders' views, either on the level of award or whether the award should be for gallantry in the face of the enemy or for 'meritorious service'.
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