Emails: The Disrespect the MOD Medal Office Treated My Great Grandfather With (29.11.2021) – and Subsequent Apology (10.12.2021)

The MOD Referred Me To My Own Document Regarding the Medal Entitlement of My Great Grandfather – Archibald Britton Wyles!!

From: DBS-Medals (MULTIUSER) <DBS-Medals@mod.gov.uk>

To:Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD <chandao@fastmail.fm

Subject:RE: Medal Eligibility: Archibald Britton Wyles (F38863) – Royal Navy Air Service (1917-1919)

Date:Monday, 29 November 2021 13:37

Dear Adrian

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately the MOD Medal Office do not hold WW1 records of medals, and can only see those held at the National Archives in Kew, which appears to be the same as the document you have already supplied.

I am sorry I cannot be of further assistance.

Kind regards

Mrs Trisha Sherwood |C2 | DBS MilPers-MODMO Policy SO2 | MOD Medal Office, Innsworth House, Imjin Barracks, Gloucester, GL3 1HW  | email: DBS-Medals@mod.gov.uk

Fron: Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD <chandao@redmetta

To:DBS-Medals (MULTIUSER) <DBS-Medals@mod.gov.uk>

Subject:Re: Medal Eligibility: Archibald Britton Wyles (F38863) – Royal Navy Air Service (1917-1919) – Deficient Response

Date:Monday, 29 November 2021 15:27

Dear Mrs Trisha Sherwood

Thank you for your email.

You may rest assured that its ‘helpful’ nature will be reflected in my assessment of it.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Adrian Chan-Wyles

From: Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD <chandao@fastmail.fm

To:DBS-Medals (MULTIUSER) <DBSMedals@mod.gov.uk>

Subject:COMPLAINT: Medal Eligibility: Archibald Britton Wyles (F38863) – Royal Navy Air Service (1917-1919)

Date:Monday, 29 November 2021 15:49

Dear DBS-Medals

The MOD (and its predecessors) has coordinated the recruitment, training, deployment and sacrifice of our ancestors in the military service of Great Britain throughout the numerous national mobilisations this country has experienced as part of its long history, and fights for survival. Although my great grandfather – Archibald Britton Wyles – was an ordinary person, we as a family value his military service greatly and would appreciate that the MOD reflects this ‘respect’ within communications instead of dismissing our enquiries with indifferent ‘standard’ responses. 

Thank you for your time in this matter.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Adrian Chan-Wyles

From: Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD <chandao@fastmail.fm>
Sent: 26 November 2021 11:35
To: DBS-Medals (MULTIUSER) <DBS-Medals@mod.gov.uk>
Subject: Medal Eligibility: Archibald Britton Wyles (F38863) – Royal Navy Air Service (1917-1919)

Dear Medal Office

The RAF Museum has advised me to contact the ‘Medal Office’ with regard to my question concerning what WWI Medal(s) my Great Grandfather – Archibald Britton Wyles (F38863) – may be entitled due to his military service in the Royal Navy Air Service.

Thank you for your time in this matter.

Best Wishes

Adrian Wyles

A Valuable WWI Document Concerning My Great Grand-Father!

Dear Doctor Chan-Wyles,

As Head of the MOD Medal Office and Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, your email of 29 November has been passed to me for a response. From the outset, I apologize that the quality of our reply fell below the standard we aspire to, and this is echoed by the member of staff who initially dealt with your enquiry.

To answer more fully, I am afraid that we are unable to carry out formal medal assessments for those who served in the First World War. The vast majority of medals for that conflict were issued in the immediate aftermath, based on records that existed at the time. Since then, most surviving records have been transferred to The National Archive, and the records of many of those who served were damaged or destroyed in the Second World War ‘blitz’. Consequently, we do not have any consistent source of data beyond that already available to members of the public nor, the specialist historic skills necessary to interpret individual and unit records from the period to make assessments as to what medals an individual might have been eligible for to the degree of certainty that we usually operate to. This contrasts with the Second World War where the medallic recognition was not finally decided until 1948 and the onus thereafter was on individuals to apply for medals; hence there were many thousands who did not claim their medals and we maintain a constant service of assessment and issue based on records that are still mostly held by the MOD and the Services and for which we have a team of trained specialist assessors. I know that will be little consolation in your particular case, but I include it to demonstrate that the limits on our services are driven more by the simple practicality of being able to deliver to a consistent standard rather than any devaluation or lack of respect for those who served in past conflicts.

A Very Important Document for ArchiBald Britton Wyles!

As my colleague mentioned, our official access to records at The National Archive would produce only the same copy of the service record that you have already obtained. To make amends for our overly brief initial reply, however, I have asked a colleague in a different department who has access to the commercial Ancestry system to conduct a search for me. That has turned up a copy of the same Royal Navy record of service that you have, together with a brief summary of RAF service and very sketchy original document (copy attached). We have also found a medal roll card (also attached) that indicates that one medal was issued to AC3 (Aircraftman 3rd Class) Archibald B Wyles with the correct Service Number, which the annotation of ‘B’ would indicate was the British War Medal. That would suggest that he also received the Victory Medal, but there is no record of that on this particular document (which has other recipients annotated with ‘V’ which might indicate the Victory Medal). Notwithstanding Mr Dennis’ comment below, the international Medal Yearbook confirms that the Victory Medal was issued to ‘most’ of those who had the War Medal, so the two are not always combined. That does not constitute an official assessment of entitlement, of course, but will hopefully add to what you know already.

Again, I am sorry that our initial reply was so short; we get many hundreds of letters and emails around Remembrance season and, in attempting to provide prompt responses to them all, we fell below our own standards. I hope that this more fulsome response explains the background and provides at least some new information.

Yours sincerely

Clive Montellier

Group Captain (Retd) C A Montellier OBE FCIPD FCMI RAF | DBS(Mil Pers) AHd JCCC & MOD Medal Office   

Innsworth House, Imjin Barracks, Gloucester, GL3 1HW  

Tel Mil: 95471-7058 | Civ: 01452-712612 Ext 7058 | Skype tel: 0300 1629713  

Email: clive.montellier100@mod.gov.uk 

As an advocate of flexible working, I will often send messages early or late in the day, but there is no expectation of a response or action outside your own working hours.

An Valuable WWI Document About My Great Grand-Father!

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