D.F.M. (GV) group with B.E.M. & G.S.M. Iraq (M.I.D.) D.F.M. an award for Iraq 1922

Item type:

Product code: A8124

Item condition: G.V.F.

Our price: £4,600.00

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Medal Description

 

Distinguished Flying Medal,  G.V. (L.A.C.  R.A.F.), British Empire Medal, (Civil) GVI), 1st issue, G.S.M.  clasp, Iraq, M.I.D. Oak Leaves (L.A.C. R.A.F.).

A. E. White. R.A.F. (Albert E. White on B.E.M.)

Mounted as originally worn.

D.F.M. L.G. 6/6/1924.

‘For distinguished service rendered during operations in Iraq in 1922.’

B.E.M. L.G. 8/6/1950 (Skilled Fitter, Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company Ltd. Chippenham Wiltshire).

M.I.D. L.G. 28/10/1921:

‘For distinguished service in a despatch received from Lieutenant-General Sir J. A. L. Haldane, K.C.B., D.S.O., General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force.’

Albert Edward White was born in Wallington, Surrey, 1901, and joined the Royal Flying Corps as a Boy in January 1918 (aged 17) occupation shown as 'Turner'. Fitter, A.C.2. in January 1919, and  A.C.1 to 55 Squadron in February 1920. The Squadron formed part of Q Force in Mesopotamia from July 1920 operating DH.9's based at Mosul.

An uprising in Iraq in May 1920 united Sunni and Shia briefly against the British. It was put down, but required the deployment of more than 100,000 British and Indian troops. Thousands of Arabs were killed. Hundreds of British and Indian soldiers died. The military campaign cost Britain tens of millions of pounds - money it could not afford after the Great War.

A new way of controlling Iraq was needed. Churchill had to square huge military budget cuts with British determination to maintain a grip on its mandate in Iraq. The result became known as "aerial policing". It was a policy Churchill had first mused on in the House of Commons in March 1920, before the Iraqi uprising had even begun.

"It may be possible to effect economies during the course of the present year by holding Mesopotamia through the agency of the Air Force rather than by a military force. It has been pointed out that by your Air Force you have not to hold long lines of communications because the distance would only be one or one-and-a-half hours' flight by aeroplane. It is essential in dealing with Mesopotamia to get the military expenditure down as soon as the present critical state of affairs passes away."

The defeat of the Iraqi uprising was credited in part to the deployment of RAF bombers. The embryonic RAF - attempting to carve out a permanent role for itself and avoid being consumed by the other armed services - took on command of all future military operations in Iraq.

When troubled flared again, villages held by rebellious tribes were attacked from the air.

British RAF armoured cars and bomber planes on duty in Iraq during the Mesopotamia conflict
The Air Minister, Lord Thomson, detailed how one district of "recalcitrant chiefs" was subdued in the Liwa region on the Euphrates in November 1923.

He wrote: "As they refused to come in, bombing was then authorised and took place over a period of two days. The surrender of many of the headmen of the offending tribes followed."

As far as the British government was concerned, the strategy was a pragmatic success. Iraq was subdued by a handful of RAF squadrons and a small force of troops. The RAF maintained its military control over Iraq until World War Two, even after Iraqi independence in 1932.

14 D.F.M.s in total were awarded for operations in Iraq between 1922-1929, 5 of which were awarded in 1922. 

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