Gallantry Awards

Recognition

Until 2004, the deeds of 21 BDS were not widely known and this part of the D-Day experience has received very little public recognition. However, at the time, the courage and bravery of the men who landed on Omaha Beach was appreciated, and a significant number of men were rewarded for their valour and their exploits on that day.

Four officers received the Military Cross and two non-commissioned men received Military Medals. These awards were published on 14th November 1944 together with the brief details of how they won their awards.

During the entire Second World War, a total of 10,386 Military Crosses were awarded. Few people will know that, of these, just 69 were awarded to Officers of the Royal Air Force. The fact that 4 of these were awarded to Officers of 21 BDS on D-Day, as well as 2 Military Medals is testimony to the bravery of these men.

Further research through the London Gazette and other official channels may identify more members of 21 BDS whose bravery was recognised, and further investigation will be necessary to complete this picture. The fact remains that, as far as is known, of the 69 Military Crosses awarded to RAF Officers during the entire Second World War, four MCs and two MMs were awarded on D-Day, all to members of 21 BDS.

Additionally, Flight Sergeant Muir Adair of the Royal Canadian Air Force was later awarded the Croix de Guerre for his bravery and exploits at the D-Day invasion and subsequent actions in France.

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