Mentioned in……Twitter? Facebook? RSS?

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In times past, well in reality in past conflicts, a soldier whose actions merited serious some recognition by his home countrymen and women could be Mentioned in Despatches. This tradition arose from Commanding Officers of various units reporting their actions back to their head-quarter elements; due to the clipped nature of military communications, it was extremely rare (and thus extremely noteworthy) that an individual might be mentioned by name. 

 

Such instances of being Mentioned-in-Despatches as they became known were recorded in the London Gazette and were a source of solace for families and communities who had a loved one serving in a conflict. A physical recognition of MiD was issued in the form of a small addition (in the UK, it was a bronze oak leaf) where a medal was also won. A formal citation was also issued on paper.

 

But in the modern era, with society’s drive toward the ‘paperless office’ and electronic mail, blogs (I appreciate the irony inherent by making my own argument via the blogsphere!) and social media, are we running the risk of devaluing or perhaps even losing the respect due to a soldier awarded a Mention in Despatches?

 

In the future will a mention on Sky News, or to briefly trend on Twitter or to be rapidly sent (and rapidly ignored) to the multitude on their smartphones? With the move toward Cyber War and 5th Generation Warfare, does the society that sponsor’s war risk destroying the personal integrity of our soldiers and importance attached to acts of heroism and bravery? In many ways this shift could be far more dehumanising than the rise and rise of drone warfare.

 

http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/Medals_Booklet.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentioned_in_dispatches

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About eamonntgardiner

I am a PhD Student at the National University of Ireland, Galway. I am conducting research into links between wartime traumatic-neurosis and evidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst British First World War veterans serving as Auxiliary Policemen in Ireland during the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921. I have previously conducted research into local Irish Volunteer/Old IRA units in Munster as well as British responses to popular insurgencies in areas they administered. I have previously published a book on the British Counterinsurgency responses to the IV/IRA conflict in Ireland, 1919-1921, entitled 'Dublin Castle and the Anglo-Irish War: Counter Insurgency and Conflict.' I have also published papers on various aspects of that war and also on other insurgencies. I write a regular blog on those and other related matters, which can be read at https://eamonntgardiner.wordpress.com/ My research interests include Feminism and De-Colonialisation/Post-Colonialism, Insurgency, Police and Military Histories, Institutional Histories. Subaltern Studies, International History of the 20th Century, Modern Irish History, Historiography, History of Conflict, Peace Keeping/Enforcement/Protectorates, Spheres of Influence, Hegemonic Theories, Old and New Terrorism.
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