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.

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