Mentioned in Despatches (M.I.D.)



It has long been the practice of commanders in the field to write accounts, or despatches to their superiors, of their campaigns and to include the names of those soldiers who gave distinguished service. Originally it was nothing more than a method of bringing the names of deserving officers to the attention of higher authorities. Gradually a system of orders and decorations evolved to give a tangible reward for bravery and service. Being "mentioned in despatches" became part of this larger honour system. The names of those "mentioned" were always published in the London Gazette.

At the start of the Great War, being "mentioned in despatches" was, with the Victoria Cross, the only two awards that could be given posthumously.

The Massive scale of operations during the Great War demanded the enlargement of the honour system and several new orders and decorations were instituted. The "mentioned" remained part of the system but it was not favoured by the Canadian Expeditionary Force and certainly not by the men largely because there was no real material reward involved. More Canadians received the Military Medal than were mentioned in despatches.

Names brought to notice of the secretary of State for War (A and B Lists)

A List
In January 1917, the recipients of a new award were listed in the London Gazette. This was a list of persons who were "brought to notice of the Secretary of State for War for distinguished services in connection with the war". This award was generally for services on the home front, for services not in the face of the enamy and for services whilst prisoners of war. These were what came to be called "A List" and was the equivalent in all respects to a mention in despatches and the people on this list had their names published in the London Gazette.

B List
There was another "brought to notice" list usually shown as "for valuable service" as opposed to "distinguished service" both in England and Canada initiated during the War and this list was refered to as the "B List" or Press Mentions. These people on the "B List" had their names published in The London Times only and were not Gazetted.


In May 1919, Army Order 166 authorized the award of a certificate for everyone who was "mentioned in despatches" or had their "name brougt to notice" (A List). A seperate certificate was issued for each A List award or mention and all individuals received a note in their file. People who had press mentions only (B list) were not issued certificates but did receive recognition by virtue of an entry in their record of service.


In January 1920, Army Order 3, authorized a bronze "oak leaf" to be issued to those who had been mentioned in the late war between August 4, 1914 and August 10, 1920. It was to be worn on the ribbon of the Victory Medal or, on the ribbon of the War Medal if no Victory Medal had been issued. Only one emblem could be worn no matter how often one had been mentioned and if no medals had been issued, as in the case of civilians, then it was worn directly on the lapel of the jacket. Those who had their "names brought to notice" (A List" were also eligible to were the "oak leaf". The A list "name brought to notice" was equal in all respects to a "mentioned in despatches". The B List "name brought to notice" were NOT eligible to wear the oak leaf.

The emblem worn on the full sized medal was 1.375" by .375" (34.5 x 9.5 mm) and was to be worn in the centre of the ribbon on a sixty (60) degree anglr with the stem to the wearer's right . When service dress ribbons only were worn, a smaller emblem, 1.0" by .250" (25.4 x 6.4 mm), was worn centred on, and straight across the medal ribbon. Both issues were secured to the ribbon by "bend over" pins on the back of the emblem. Various strikes of these emblems exist, some with finer details than others and small replicas were made for wear with miniature medals.


The question is often asked as to the existence of citations for MID's and the short answer to that is no. It would appear obvious that to be mentioned at all, someone would have to do something "gallant" in order to be included in the any after battle report. Certainly there were no citations forewarded as in the cases of the Victoria Cross, Military Crosses, Distinguished Conduct Medals and in many cases Military Medals. The battle reports which filtered up the chain of command were combined and amalgamated until, in the case of the CEF, it reached Sir Douglas Haig's report to the King. In this report, mentions were reduced to a simple "submitted names-deserving of special mention". It is therefore difficult to determine just where a description would be dropped in favour of a name only. If an MID citation ever existed, one of the most promising places to look would be the individual's battalion war diary. These were the responsibility of the Regimental Adjutant. If they were not recorded there, it is likely that the description of the actual act has been lost forever.