The Mention in Despatches (MID) is the oldest British award and was a device used by commanders at sea or in the field to bring the services of deserving officers to the attention of higher authority.
The MID was instituted in Australia in 1920 and took the form of a small oakleaf device. Many Australian Defence Force personnel received an MID during World War I and II and their names appeared in the London Gazette. Only one device was awarded irrespective of the number of times an individual was mentioned.
Following World War I the device was fixed at a low angle to the centre of the ribbon of the Victory Medal which was awarded to all personnel who served in any operations or at sea. For those awarded during World War II, the device is placed at the centre and at 60 degrees on the ribbon of the 1939-1945 War Medal.
The MID continued in Australia until the end of the Vietnam War and was phased out with the introduction of the Australian system of honours and awards in 1975. Over 15,000 Australian Defence Force personnel received the MID and records can be viewed at the Australian War Memorial website.
The MID is the only form of recognition, apart from the Victoria Cross (VC), that could be made posthumously for gallantry or distinguished service in action or on operations. It is not included in the Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards published by Government House.