The South Atlantic Medal without Rosette.
Changes to Eligibility.
The postie brought me this letter today (19 Feb) in response to my letter of 15th Feb.. My application direct to the Medals Office (see below) has achieved the response reproduced below. Do watch this space for any developments, I know the medals are being distributed but I fear after RFA(Pers) “help” we will be “tail end charlies”. If you have anything to contribute, tales of woe, tales of sucess please frop me a dit. The Medals Office are being really helpful but, and this is a very BIG we must not take our eyes off the ball considering the setbacks we have already suffered..
The South Atlantic Medal without Rosette.
Changes to Eligibility.
Cast your mind back to 18th Aug 2014. That was the day of the first posting on the RFAA website of the changes in eligibility for the South Atlantic Medal.
The next posting was on the 28th August 2015 (Sitrep 1) wherein I had been instructed, quite strongly, by RFA(Pers) that RFA(Pers) were the only coordinating authority. This was when I offered to co-ordinate and collate the applications.
Onwards to the 28th September (Sitrep 2) where I identified different groups of claimants and where they should make their claims.
And finally 4th October (Sitrep 3) where I offered further guidance as to where claims should be made.
RFA(Pers), in accordance with instructions from the Medals Office stated that no matter when received the applications to be submitted to them (at their insistence see Sitrep 1) could not be submitted by them until October and that they would be processed and forwarded to the Medals Office, by them strictly in the order they received them. This appears to be where the wheels fell off the project.
On Thursday (12 Feb) I thought 4 months have elapsed I should have heard something by now so I phoned RFA(Pers) for an update. The person who mans the Medals Desk (among other things) was off sick and I spoke to her boss….her quite rude boss instead who told me in no uncertain terms that they had more important things to do than these medal applications and that the applications would be processed in due course and it would take just as long as it takes. Did I say “quite rude” earlier, I think I should have said “Very rude”.
Following that phone call to RFA(Pers) I thought it wise to check so I phoned the Medals Office on their Freephone number (0800 085 3600) and they were quite helpful. They checked my application (as a specimen check) and couldn’t find it so they suggested I emailed the main department (DBS-MODMOHonoursandAwards@mod.uk) which I did at around 22:00 on the 12th Feb. I received an automated “We are Very Busy etc.” reply. Expecting a long wait for a reply I opened a bottle of “Ovaltine” and snuggled down with the latest edition of “50 Shades of Pusser’s Grey”, in my day it was called BR875.
The following morning I checked my emails and there was their reply, now that’s what I call service. But, and this is a very big BUT… well read for yourselves.
My email to them
Quite a number of former RFA personnel, including one now retired Commodore, applied for the SA Medal Without Rosette as instructed by the Office of the Commodore RFA (COMRFA). My application was posted to
them on the 12th September 2014 (I do know that applications were not being accepted until October). The application was accepted by CSO(Pers), COMRFA’s personell section and they agreed it was in an acceptable format. Since then I have heard absolutely nothing.
I spoke today to a most helpful person on the JPAC 0800 085 3600 and she attempted to track the progress of my application without success and suggested that I email you. I have attached a copy of my application
with the supporting evidence for your perusal.
I have also spoken to the desk dealing with medals at CSO(Pers), West Battery Whale Island and they were quite unhelpful to the point of being quite rude. (That is being dealt with). But what was said was that “it will take as long as it takes” and they have “more important things to deal with”.
So what now concerns me is whether or not my application has been submitted, would it be possible to check. I am using my application as a test case as there are, as I have already mentioned quite an number of
others who have applied for the said medal.
Please feel free to contact me if you need any more information or if I can help in your investigations, you have my email address and my phonenumber is 01833 640045
Captain Pat Thompson OBE AFNI RFA(Retd)
Deputy Chairman RFA Association
They replied the following morning (Friday 13th Feb):-
Dear Captain Thompson,
Thank you for your email regarding the South Atlantic Medal 1982 without Rosette. I have checked our system and I am unable to trace a record for you so it appears that we did not receive your original application. I have attached an application form for completion and return Please note that the declaration box (part 4 of the form) must contain your signature. Please return the form via email or by post to the address below. (Please do not send it to COMRFA).
The qualifying period for the award of the South Atlantic Medal 1982 without Rosette has been extended from 12 July 1982 to 21 October 1982. Applications for the South Atlantic Medal, under the new time extension, will be assessed in date order.
The assessment of medal claims is a very skilled and time-consuming task involving reference to personal service records recovered from archives. There can be no shortcut to reading these records, as the aim is to ensure that each individual receives only the medals to which he or she was entitled.
Every effort will be made by the small team involved to speed up the processing of claims, but as a result of the volume of applications, we ask for your patience and understanding as it may take some time before the assessment is complete.
DBS-MODMO Projects Research E1h
Postal Address: MOD Medals Office, Innsworth House, Imjin Barracks, Gloucester, GL3 1HW.
So where does that leave us, the words “Up s**t creek” and probably “without a paddle come to mind”, however the very helpful people at the Medals Office have given us a new way forward (vide their email, above) so you can download the application forms in both MS Word and PDF format from the bottom of this page. I do suggest that you re-submit your application is as soon as possible with the required evidence of eligiblilty and post it directly to the MOD Medals Office (address above) using recorded delivery. If you want to check if your original application via RFA(Pers) has been submitted to the MOD Medals Office you can either write to that address or email them at DBS-MODMOHonoursandAwards@mod.uk
This whole business has been more than unfortunate and I feel we have been let down quite badly but we must look forward and sort the mess out. I am also quite sure that RFA (Pers) will not like this page but from where I am sitting that is what happened.
SA Medal Application as a PDF:- SA Medal Application (PDF) (31.36 kB)
SA Medal Application as a MS Word Document:- SA Medal Application (MS Word) (385.5 kB)