Vernon Smith of the McCollah crew was awarded the DFM in May 1945 at the same time that many of his exceptional crew received awards. The paperwork for the medal recommendation is very interesting, as is the faint trace of Bennett’s signature giving final authorisation for the award.
Vernon received a very good write-up in his local Canterbury paper. He was by then a civilian again, working as a tanner at St Mildred’s Tannery. Although there is no date on the newspaper clipping, the date of the article must be 1947 as it refers to Vernon having been demobbed in December 1946.
It is intriguing that Vernon did not receive the official medal and ribbon until this late date, nor did he have the chance to collect it from Buckingham Palace as so many aircrew did during the war. The reason for this is not known, and we are wondering how many other aircrew waited two years.
Can the time lag be something to do with there being two medal types, the large official medal which was engraved with the recipient’s name and the smaller one, not engraved and generally worn at social occasions, which could be easily replaced? Any suggestions?
Photographs and information courtesy of Lorraine Brown.