Document-18.    


BOBHSOC

AIR MINISTRY ORDERS REGARDING 
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN CLASP 

A.M.O. A.544/1946 
Section 12 
CLASP TO THE 1939-45 STAR
Issues of silver-gilt rose emblems denoting a clasp to the 1939-45 Star  may be made to flying personnel who flew in fighter aircraft engaged in the  Battle of Britain  between  10th July 1940 and 31st October  1940.  Issues  to  be confirmed to those who operated with the under mentioned squadrons:-  
Nos. 1, 17, 19, 23, 25, 29, 32, 41, 43, 46, 54, 66, 72, 73, 74, 79, 85 87, 92, 141, 145, 151, 152, 213, 219, 222, 229, 234, 235, 236, 238, 242, 248, 249, 253, 257, 264, 266, 302, 303, 310, 312, 401 RCAF, 501, 504, 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 607, 609, 610, 611, 615, and 616.  
Service with the fighter interception unit will also qualify.  

The following details must be inserted in line 2 of the claim form for claimants for this emblem.  
(a)   Squadron and Station.  
(b)   Dates of qualifying service.  
(c)   Date of one sortie during (b) above.  

C.Os are not to admit claims for this highly prized emblem which are open to any possible doubt. The clasp is not available for personnel who flew in aircraft other than fighters, notwithstanding that they may have been engaged with the enemy during the qualifying period.

A.M.O. N.850 
BATTLE OF BRITAIN 
A.344696/60/S.7  -  9th November 1960 
 
 
1.The 20th anniversary of the Battle of Britain has prompted the publication of the following list of operational units that took part in the battle between 10th July 1940 and 31st October 1940:-  
Squadrons: 1, 3, 17, 19, 23, 25, 29, 32, 41, 43, 46, 54, 56, 64, 65, 66, 72, 73, 74, 79, 85, 87, 92, 111, 141, 145, 151, 152, 213, 219, 222, 229, 232, 234, 235, 236, 238, 242, 245, 247, 248, 249, 253, 257, 263, 264, 266, 302, 303, 310, 312, 401(1 RCAF Sqn), 501, 504, 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 607, 609, 610, 611, 615 and 616.  
Flight Nos. 421 and 422 also to be included.  
Fighter Interception Unit.  

2. Aircrew who flew at least one operational sortie in fighter aircraft of these units during the period shown in (1) above, may submit a claim for a silver gilt rose emblem denoting a Clasp to the 1939-45 Star.  The Clasp will not be issued to aircrew who did not fly in fighters even though they may have been engaged with the enemy in the air during the qualifying period.



It will be noticed from the above, that three Coastal Command Squadrons were included with the squadrons that were able to claim the Clasp to their 1939-45 Star. It can only be assumed that these Coastal Command squadrons flew on operational duties with Fighter Command and therefore their personnel were entitled to the Clasp. 

Although the Fleet Air Arm Squadrons 804 and 808 were omitted from the above listing, I have since found out that both these squadrons were added at a later date, and therefore their aircrew were entitled to wear the Clasp. 

2,936 airmen flew and took part in the Battle of Britain. It is only natural to assume that the majority were of British nationality, there were in fact 2,340. Other airmen of different nationalities that took part were: 

Poland 145;  New Zealand 127;  Canada 112;  Czechoslovakia 89;  Belgium 28;  South Africa 25;  Australia 32;  France 13;  Ireland 10;  United States 9;  Southern Rhodesia 3;  Jamaica 1; 

These figures are the known, most recent account that was made by F/Lt John Holloway after extensive research, and his listing of Battle of Britain aircrew and their nationalities have now been adopted by the Air Historical Branch and the Airmen's Records Establishment of the Ministry of Defence. This listing now belongs to the historian of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association which was handed to them after the death of F/Lt John Holloway. 

In Francis K.Mason's book Battle over Britain, it is stated that 22 Australians took part. This could be taken as understandable at the time. But over sixty years on historians are still digging deep into the archives and updates are often being made to the total figures. Even Holloway's original list can be termed as being out of date, Ken Wynn's "Men of the Battle of Britain" comes close, but there are still a number of errors.

The question will always remain, "how do you determine a pilots nationality?" Is is the country of his birth? If that is the case then what about those pilots that were born in a foreign while on a short visit. Or how about if the parents were overseas and their child was born in that country. A good example was one pilot who was born in Germany to British parents, so does that make him a German?

Another war would be to determine his nationality by the country that issued his passport. The problem here is if a pilot had been taken to another country such as Canada or Australia by his parents and as a child he travelled on either his fathers or mothers passport, what nationality is given to that child. And to further complicate matters, what if the patents or the child for that matter held passports of two countries. A good example of this is Richard Hillary, born in Sydney Australia. His father was sent to London as the Australian High Commissioner and naturally took his family, Richard included. Up to now Richard is an Australian, but if he was issued with a British passport as well, did that automatically make him British.

No one seems to know the answer because some books identify Richard Hillary as being Australian while others state that he is British. That is only one example and there are many many more, one pilot was listed as an Israeli, other books later changed this to 'Palestinian' now it seem he is British because the latest aircrew listings do not show any Israeli's or Palestinians. So while we can say that nationalities are about 90% correct, fursther research and comfirmation still needs to be done to provide us with an accurate history. 


AUSTRALIANS IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
In the list supplied by the Australian Archives, we find that there are 52 names of Australian pilots that served with Fighter Command in 1939 and 1940, yet only 21 are officially listed as being Australian, the others are recorded as being British. The main reason for this is that many that went to England to serve a short service commission with the RAF, they travelled on British passports which in those days the majority of residents either, from British families, coming from a British family, or as many Australians preferred to at the time, hold a passport of the mother country. 

In this case, the RAF when establishing an airman's nationality were guided by the issuing authority of each airman's passport, and not the country of birth. Also, a number of airmen, although born in Australia and other commonwealth countries, lived in England for a number of years prior to the outbreak of WWII. A good example of this was F/Lt Richard Hillary, he was born in Sydney Australia but travelled to England with his father (a government official) when he was only three years of age. Here it is possible that he travelled to England on his fathers passport and was therefore regarded as a British citizen. It is unfortunate that the official records state that he is British, as Australians will always regard him as an Australian.



The Battle of Britain - 1940 website Battle of Britain Historical Society 2007