A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

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The Social Survey
N.S. 78

How to claim a medal

1. The service, which is recognised as a qualification for the Defence Medal is defined in D.M.1. It must have been performed during the years (3.9 ‘45-8.5. ‘45) in one or more of the categories shown in para. 15. A total of three years’ service qualifies. Less does not, unless:

  1. (a) it has been terminated by death or injury while on duty, or

  2. (b) the applicant has been gazetted for his service.

(These special qualifications are so rare that no questions are asked about them in the schedule. But you should make a note of them at Qn. 10 if they are mentioned). Dismissal of discharge for misconduct disqualifies.

Every claimant whose most recent qualifying service was not rendered in category 1 or 2 must complete and submit a D.M.2. Anyone can obtain D.M.1 and D.M.2 at any post office.

If his/her most recent service is a sufficient qualification, he needs no other form. He completes sections A, B, and C, and then forwards the D.M.2 to the appropriate authority for certification either at E or F. After certifying, the authority forwards the D.M.2 to the authority empowered to issue the ribbon; and in due course the claimant receives the ribbon or notification that his claim has been rejected.

If the claimant needs to mention any previous service or services to implement his qualifications, he must obtain D.M.3 or D.M.4 (possibly more than one of either, (or both). He must complete all such forms as he needs and forward them for certification. After certification they are returned to him. He attaches them to his D.M.2 and starts them all off together on the route appropriate for the D.M.2.

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2. The main objects of the enquiry

The Defence Medal Authorities, who will be the main users of the reports on this enquiry, are principally interested in knowing approximately how many D.M.2s. will be initiated. This will help them in making arrangements for handling the forms and issuing the ribbons and the medals.

There is supplementary interest in the questions:

  1. (a) How effective was the publicity given to the D.M.? Did it reach the qualified civilians and induce them to apply?

  2. (b) Do difficulties in the claim forms deter such people from submitting claims?

  3. (c) Do claim forms go astray?

Information which will help to answer these questions can be obtained from estimates.

  1. (a) of the total number of civilians who have the necessary qualifications

  2. (b) of the total number of D.M. 2s which will be initiated

  3. (c) of the number which will have attachments

  4. (d) of the number which will go to each class of certifying authorities shown in para. 15 of D.M.1.

These estimates should be obtaineable by analysing the information supplied on the schedules.

It is not an object of the investigation to let any informant know whether he or she is qualified for a medal.

Apologies are due for the present form of the schedule. modified in the light of pilot experience, which was obtained too late. Experience so far suggests that the publicity given to the Defence Medal has left a large number of qualified people uninformed and uninterested. Sufficient allowance has not been made in the form of the schedule for the difficulty of getting such people to talk about their qualifications. Instead, allowance has been made below, in the instructions on giving Qns. 9 and 10.

3. The order of the questions

The answers to the classificatory questions may be obtained at any convenient stage in the interview. The order of the remaining questions should be followed as closely as possible. It is given by the numbers in the column on the right hand side:


First give the explanation to Section I. Then ask Qn. 1. If the answer is ‘Yes’, ask Qn. 2 as shown in the sequence column. If ‘No’, the explanation to Section II and go on to Qn. 9. Similarly, if the informant gives either of the first two answers to Qn. 4, the interview can be stopped. Many interviews should come to a stop before Section III is reached.

4. Detailed instructions on the explanations to be given and the questions to be asked .

The survey must be explained with great care, or the answers will be biased. You should tell the informant that the survey is being done for the Defence Medal Authorities (interrupt your explanation at the first possible moment to put question 1 and add, if you need to, that you are collecting the opinions of the public about Defence Medal to help the authorities in making arrangements.)

In explaining the survey to managers it may be necessary to tell them something about the Defence Medal if they have not heard of it (c.f. Section II, below). But the less said, the better. Managers must not be allowed to pick informants who are specially likely to be qualified for the Defence Medal (because we need a valid estimate of the number of qualified people); and they must not pass on any information about the Defence Medal before the interview takes place. Informants should be told that they are wanted for a brief interview.

Throughout the interview, be strictly impartial. Do not seem to expect any particular answer. This is a survey in which your explanation or tone of voice may easily put pressure on the informant. Show that you want to know what people really will do about the medal; otherwise the survey will be useless.


Qn. 1 (and Qn. 2 if it applies) should follow as soon as possible after you first mention the words “Defence Medal”, and in any case without any more explanation than what has been described above. Get the answers for this section before answering any question about the Defence Medal that the informant may ask you. Above all, do not let the informant corner you with questions that will lead you to bias his subsequent answers.

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After Section I has been completed, you should explain, to those who have not heard of it, that the Defence Medal is being given to some Civil Defence workers, and to some people who did other kinds of special war service, and to all that the Defence Medal Authorities have to estimate how many people will claim. You can add now or later that this will show what arrangements will have to be made for dealing with the claims and providing the medals.

Then ask the questions in Section III which follow in sequence.

The answers to Qn. 4 should help to reveal what are the chief difficulties likeiy to arise in completing the forms. These should be specified whenever they have prevented the informant from completing the form.

Some informants may give a naive ‘Yes’ in reply to Qn. 5, although their answers to Qns. 6 and 7 and the Qns. in Section III show that they have not thought very much about it. The interviewer should code their response as ‘Yes’, and not re-code it in the light of information subsequently obtained, e.g. in answer to Qn. 17.

Qns. 6 and 7 are asked to find out how much people who say they intend to obtain the forms have thought about what they will have to do to get them. An answer to Qn. 6 which indicates a definite intention is any which shows that the informant has reserved a definite part of his available time to fetch the forms. An answer which shows only that the informant has time available does not indicate intention.

Specify answers to Qn. 8.

Qn. 9 is not to be asked. Behave as if everyone to whom it would apply has agreed to discuss his qualifications, and proceed directly to Section III. If, as a result of your opening questions on Section III, you find that codes 3 or 4 of Qn. 9 apply, code appropriately and stop the interview.

In dealing with any questions the informant may raise when you begin discussing his qualifications, remember that you have not been empowered to issue medals, and must not trespass on the authority of those who have. If any informant asks you whether you think his qualifications are sufficient, your main line of defence must be “That is not for me to say”. You may also refer him to D.M.I.

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(For the shortened form of Section III which applies to informants who have answered ‘No’ to Qn. 1, see below).

To informants who have answered ‘Yes’ to Qn. 1 : Show D.M.I. and D.M.2 before asking any of the questions in this section. Explain that these are given to all civilians who want to claim a medal.

Begin by showing the informant the list of eligible categories in para. 15 of D.M.1. Ask him “Were you in any of these services?” and if he says ‘Yes’, ask “Which was the last you were in before. V.E. day? (8.5.’45)”. Put the name of the service opposite A under the heading ‘Service’ in Qn. 10, and its category number, as shown in para. 15 of D.M.1., under the heading ‘No,’ on the same line.

If the service was with the Forces or the Home Guard (category 1 or 2), stop the interview, and tell him that these are not the forms he will need. (Army form B.2068 for the Army, A.T.S., or Home Guard is also obtainable from Post Offices).

If the service was in any other category, ask “When did you enter it”? and enter the approximate date under ‘FROM’. Then ask “When did you leave it?”. If on V.E. day or after, enter 5.45 under the heading ‘TO’. Enter another date only if the service ended before V.E. day. Reckon how long the service continued from these two dates, and enter it in the TOTAL column. If the informant cannot give dates FROM and TO, but can give the TOTAL (excluding any service after V.E. Day) enter the TOTAL as given.:

Some informants may have been in the same service (e.g. Fire Guard) under different authorities at different times. Each such service must be entered separately, the most recent being entered first (i.e. opposite A).

If your entry in the TOTAL column opposite A is less than three years, ask:

“Were you in of these services before that?”


“When did you enter it?”

“When did you leave?”

if appropriate, and enter the replies as before; but treat categories 1 and 2 like the others. Do not enter two or more services if they were performed at the same time.

Continue with similar questions until the informant has completed his account of his services or until the TOTALS you have entered amount to three years altogether. Then add up years altogether. Then add up the TOTALS and enter the sum in the space in the TOTAL column.

Make notes to Qn. 10 if necessary (c.f. para. 1 of these Instructions).

Next show the informant which parts of D.M.2 he will have to complete and show him D.M.3 (and/or D.M.4 if he has included previous in category 1 or 2) if he needs them too to make a claim.

Then show him the parts of the form or forms which will have to be completed by the certifying authorities, and ask Qns. 11, 12 and 13 with reference to each of them.

Finally use the letters A, B and C in the first column of Qn. 10 as a grading scale: If the informant followed your explanation of what he has to do to submit a claim.

immediately ring A;
if only after repeated explanations. ring B;
if he still failed to follow ring C.

Qn. 14 should provide the corresponding subjective estimate made by the informant of the difficulties he expects to encounter.

Qn. 15 and 16 are intended to gauge the informant's estimate of the value of the Defence Medal. Be prepared to receive wild answers. If he says “One million” and neither more nor less in answer to Qn. 15, code 2; if “Two million”, code 3, etc. If he says “One quarter” and neither more nor less in answer to Qn. 16, code 6; “Half”, code 7, etc.

In asking Qn. 17 and terminating the interview, bear in mind the instructions given in Qn. 9, and say nothing to influence the informant's decision, beyond referring him again, if necessary, to D.M.1.

To informants who have answered No to Qn. 1: ask “Did you do any kind of Civil Defence work, or were you in any of the other war-time services?” Prompt, if necessary till you are sure the informant has mentioned any service he did. Put any further questions you may need in order to complete the entries in Qn. 10. You may show him D.M.1, if it helps you to do so; but do not show him D.M.2. After completing Qn. 10, stop the interview. Bear in mind the instructions to Qn. 9.


This section must be completed in every case.

Town, Urban and Rural : In a rural district, record the name of the town from which the quota is done, as given on your quota sheet.

Status: Widowed includes separated or divorced.

Occupation : For definitions see Sampling instructions.

Occupation of C.W.E. This is a check on the economic group of the C.W.E. Please get exact occupation - his occupation group (e.g. clerical) is not sufficient.

5. Queries

Those about the sampling should be addressed to Mr. Gray, or failing him to Mr. Thomas. Those about the schedule or the instructions should be referred to Mr. Slater.

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