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Clasps to the Africa Star

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by brianw, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. brianw

    brianw Member

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    Hello again everybody. I do hope that everybody is still doing OK.

    I must apologise for not being around on the group for quite some time, I've been involved with other projects, not least researching and writing my father's RAF service. For those who might be interested, you can find it at:-

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ghz11fjlmr5ij31/Dave%20Walters%20RAFVR.pdf?dl=0

    I do have one question though, regarding the Africa Star, or more particularly about the "clasps" to it. I know that he didn't qualify for the 1st or 8th Army clasps, but would he have qualified for the "North Africa 1942 - 1943" clasp? He was posted to RAF Khartoum in April 1942 and returned to the UK in September 1943. While he was en route to the Sudan he spent a short time at RAF Kasfareet, Ismailia, and that is in North Africa.

    I have a small card with his other documents which lists his entitlement to wear the Africa Star, it also mentions the word "Bar".

    The official information about the clasp shows that it was awarded for service in "specified areas" in Africa, but I'm unable to ascertain exactly where those areas were.

    I've emailed the Medals Office to see if they can throw some light on this and I'm waiting for a reply, but I would be grateful for any information which members can furnish. I'd also welcome comments about my booklet about my father's service.

    Service card.jpg
     
  2. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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  3. brianw

    brianw Member

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    Thanks for your input, the point which is confusing me is that for the clasp, Air Force service must be in specified areas from 23 October 1942 to 12 May 1943 inclusive. My father arrived at RAF Khartoum on 27th April 1942, so the short period at Kasfareet wouldn't qualify. So here I must presume that Khartoum and the Sudan was one of those "specified areas", even though it was 1000 miles south of El Alamein.
    It's a good thing that I've already started the purchase of a replacement North Africa 1942-1943 clasp, just in case. (Ebay to the rescue!)
     
  4. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran

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    Brian

    i hope that the following article, first posted on ww2talk com, will better explain the complexities of the 1st & 8th Army clasps:

    This might help you to understand how entitlement to a Africa Star was based purely on the date when a serviceman/woman was in a particular area of combat. Notice the dates highlit in red.

    Back in the early days of the BBC WW2 website there was a thread running to do with the entitlement of a clasp to the Africa Star, either of the 1st or the 8th Army type.

    I had already posted a photo of my medals to accompany an article and someone spotted (see BBC - WW2 People's War - Stick it in your Army.....Album! <http://www.bbc.co.uk...a2612567.shtml>)
    that my medals lacked the 1st Army Clasp despite the fact that I had written about arriving in Algeria on the 23rd of April 1943 well before the campaign finished on the 12th of May of the same year.

    I was being pestered by other site members with would-be helpful hints of the "you should have received a clasp" variety and so to settle the matter I wrote to the relevant MOD department and received the following reply:

    Dear Sir
    Thank you for your letter received 7 September enquiry as to the progress in your application for the supplementary award of the clasp ' 1st Army" to the Africa Star.
    To qualify for the clasp 'Ist Army" personnel are required to have served between 8 November I942 and 12 May 1943 on the posted strength of. or attached for duty to. a formation or unit which appeared on the Order of Battle of the First Army. I can confirm that 49 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (49 LAA Regt) appears on the relevant Order of Battle and so earns the clasp. However, available official documents show that on disembarkation in North Africa you were placed into the unposted reinforcement pool and remained so until being posted to 49 LAA Regt on 22 May 1943.
    You will appreciate that as you only performed service on the strength of an operational unit after the final qualifying date, you are not entitled to the clasp ' 1st Army.
    I am sorry to forward such a disappointing reply
    Yours faithfully
    ***********
    Officer in charge Division 3

    Although I had realised from day one that I was not entitled to the 1st Army clasp I was still amused to think that although we were subjected to air raids during our stay in Algiers (awaiting posting to our various Regiments) had we been killed our heirs would have been entitled to our medals but sans the appropriate clasp

    Good luck with your research !

    Ron
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
    green slime, ColHessler and lwd like this.
  5. brianw

    brianw Member

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    Thanks for your input, Ron.

    My father was in the RAF and served at RAF Khartoum, so he could never have qualified for either the 1st Army or the 8th Army clasp.

    I have been in touch with the MOD Medals Office and they have told me that they're going to have to dig deeper into the facts, largely because the "qualifying rules" weren't formalised until 1948, and many personnel records could often indicate conflicting information. The fog of war?

    Anyway, I've got all the required information ready to post up to Imjin Barracks in Gloucester.

    Maybe then I'll have a definitive result.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018

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