Along with his grandfather’s blood-stained wings, Richard sent me this photo of his grandfather’s war medals.
On the left we see the Africa Star…
The next medal is the 1939-1945 Star…
Then the Air Crew Europe Star…
The Defence Medal…
Finally the War Medal 1939-1945.
Each one has a meaning. Here is the description of the Africa Star.
The Star was awarded for one more day’s service in North Africa between 10th June, 1940 and 12th May, 1943, both dates inclusive.
The Star was awarded for the following qualifications and operations:
Navy and Merchant Navy – Any Service at sea in the Mediterranean between 10th June, 1940 and 12th May, 1943, and or service in support of the campaigns in Abyssinia, Somaliland and Eritrea. Naval service ashore in the same areas as the army would also qualify. Members of the Merchant Navy who took part in the operations off the coast of Morocco between 8th November, 1942 and 12th May, 1943 would also qualify.
Army – The qualification is the entry into North Africa on the establishment of an operational unit. Service in Abyssinia, The Somaliland’s, Entitres, Sudan and Malta.
R.A.F – The qualification was to have landed in, or flown over, any of the areas previously mentioned (except West Africa), or territory occupied by the enemy.
Since the Africa Star was awarded for one more day’s service in North Africa between 10th June, 1940 and 12th May, 1943, both dates inclusive, this means that Arthur David Bishop was in North Africa sometime between 10th June, 1940 and 12th May, 1943, both dates inclusive, before being posted to an Initial Training Wing, then to No. 14 P.A.C.T. which opened in June 1943.
No 14 Centre, Preliminary Air Crew Training Wing was formed on 20 June 1943 at Cheltenham and presumably disbanded on 2 March 1945. (Source)
Since Arthur David Bishop was born September 24, 1925. He probably enlisted on September 24, 1942 when he was 17 years-old unless he lied on his age and enlisted earlier. My guess is that he enlisted in the RAF as a ground crew, served in North Africa, and then asked for a transfer for air crew training.
Without his record of service there is no way of knowing.
Next time, this medal will shed more light on what happened to this unsung Mosquito pilot…
The Air Crew Europe Star
Order of wear
Campaign medals are not listed by name in the order of wear prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, but are worn in order of the date of the campaign for which awarded.
The order of wear of the Second World War campaign stars was determined by their respective campaign start dates and by the campaign’s duration. This is the order worn, even when a recipient qualified for them in a different order. The Defence Medal and War Medal are worn after the stars.
- The 1939–1945 Star, from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945, the full duration of the Second World War.
- The Atlantic Star, from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Battle of the Atlantic and the War in Europe.
- The Arctic Star, from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Arctic Convoys and the War in Europe.
- The Air Crew Europe Star, from 3 September 1939 to 5 June 1944, the period until D-Day minus one.
- The Africa Star, from 10 June 1940 to 12 May 1943, the duration of the North African Campaign.
- The Pacific Star, from 8 December 1941 to 2 September 1945, the duration of the Pacific War.
- The Burma Star, from 11 December 1941 to 2 September 1945, the duration of the Burma Campaign.
- The Italy Star, from 11 June 1943 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Italian Campaign.
- The France and Germany Star, from 6 June 1944 to 8 May 1945, the duration of the Northwest Europe Campaign.
- The Defence Medal, from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945 (2 September 1945 for those serving in the Far East and the Pacific), the duration of the Second World War.
- The War Medal, from 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945, the full duration of the Second World War.