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WW1 Medal Question


100 years ago my Grandfather was aboard HMS Romola. His diary for today reads:- Weather fair, at sea escorting oiler left harbour five o'clock. Returned to Scapa Flow 9 o'clock. Alongside oiler all night. For tomorrow it reads in part :- Voting for medals in Flotilla. Can anyone shed light on "Voting for medals" please?

Hi John25,

My own Google attempts have drawn a blank on 'Voting for Medals' but @Seaweed may be able to offer some background.

Incidentally, I recently read one of the many accounts of HMS Camblelown's March 1942 St. Nazaire raid (Operation Chariot) following which apparently a similar ballot resulted in the posthumous award of Able Seaman William 'Bill' Savage's VC, just one of the five VCs earned at that Operation.

[A childhood hero of mine, Bill Savage was a friend and work colleague of my parents at Mitchells & Butlers vast Cape Hill Brewery in Smethwick, Staffs. That brewery site has since been re-developed for a housing complex which, I'm pleased to record, includes a Wiliam Savage Way.]


Thanks for that, I sort of guessed that the ship's companies were asked to vote, so not only did you have to be lucky to be seen committing an extraordinarily brave act, but lucky to get voted for the medal too.

On the other tack, being a Stourbridge lad, M&B was my first ale! I still visit occasionally although almost all the pubs I knew are demolished, Indian restaurants, Wetherspoons or theme pubs.


War Hero
Finding the information may be a little difficult. AFAIK, it is only certain decorations that can be awarded following a ballot, and the circumstances in which a ballot can be held are specified in the Royal Warrant creating the decoration in question. IIRC, there's a specific balloting provision in the VC warrant, and I've been out so long I've forgotten which naval publication would have the details. There's also the possibility that the Royal Warrant may have been amended from time to time.


Hi John

My grandfather also served on the Romola ,I'm interested to exchange any info you have on the service record , my grandfather was a stoker - not a good place to be if the ship goes down . I do know as he told us himself that they were at Scappa when the german fleet was scuttled and I believe they was part of the escort that brought the german navy to Scapa , apart from that he only said they spent most of there time during the war chasing shadows .

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100 years ago my Grandfather was aboard HMS Romola. His diary for today reads:- Weather fair, at sea escorting oiler left harbour five o'clock. Returned to Scapa Flow 9 o'clock. Alongside oiler all night. For tomorrow it reads in part :- Voting for medals in Flotilla. Can anyone shed light on "Voting for medals" please?

View attachment 27401
In the selection of the Men to receive the Victoria Cross Rule thirteen was not strictly adhered to. It is believed that it was the intention to award one of these awards and it is clear that only one ballot took place. The evidence being the results of the vote by the members of the 4th Battalion.
Two men were awarded the Victoria Cross in a ballot held on the 26th April at the Royal Marine Depot at Deal. The ballot contained both Officers and Men of the 4th Battalion, contravening Rule 13 of The Royal Warrant for the Victoria Cross, dated the 29th of January 1856.
The men were assembled on the Parade ground, where slips of voting paper were handed to those present. (It is not known whether the hospital wounded voted or not, but it is known that they were included in the ballot.)
The ballot results, shown below, included the names of both officers and men. The two VCs being awarded to Sergeant Norman Finch with 91 votes and Captain Edward Bamford with ?? votes. The sheet shows Bamford having 34 Votes then crossed out and adding 64 Votes. The reasons for the alterations are not explained.

On the 22nd and 23 of April 1918 a battle took place at Zeebrugge in Belgium. It was mounted by two thousand men of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir Roger Keyes.
This port was a base for German submarines, from which they attacked and sank Allied shipping. They accounted for over a third of all the tonnage sunk in World War One. Over two thousand five hundred allied ships sent to the bottom.
It was vital that this port was denied to them and this raid was to ensure that it was. Three ships were sunk across the entrance to the harbour; rendering the trapped submarines useless.
The battle was fierce and the attacking force faced fierce opposition and suffered heavy losses. Marines and Sailors landed on the Mole and stormed the enemy defences. Whilst the fighting was in progress three 'blocking' ships were scuttled; they were the HM Ships Thetis Intrepid and Iphiginia and also HM Submarine C3.
Such was the bravery during this action that it was found difficult to award honours for valour. So many men, both sailors and marines so distinguished themselves in battle. that a ballot was used to make the awards for bravery. For the Royal Marines the following men were recommended to be entered into the ballot for the Victoria Cross:.


Finch (Sgt. RMA)
Dewhurst (Cpl.)
Walker (C Co.)
Thomas (1Plt.)
Horton (12 Plbt.)
Holdridge (1Plt.[MG Iris])
Hopewell (9 Plt.)
Bessant (B Co.)
Press (B Co.)
Smith (11 Plt.)
Radford (C Co.)
Bamford (Capt.)
Sutton. (RMA)
Broom (C Co)
Martin C.H.
Thompson (MG.)
Cook (Lt.)

The Two Marines that actually received the VC'c were Captain Bamford and Sergeant Finch
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