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The London Gazette
The London Gazette was first published (as the Oxford Gazette) in 1665. It is essentially a newspaper for official information and record. Published from Monday to Friday, it can be a useful tool for researchers and family historians. You can search the London Gazette by individual name, issue number or a specific date.
What you can expect to find
The London Gazette is most widely used to search for recipients of military honours and awards, but it also contains information on many other subjects. These include
- Corporate and personal insolvency notices
- Companies information eg. winding up notices
- Planning and transport notices
- Personal legal notices e.g. changes of name, deceased persons’ estates
- Queen’s Birthday and New Year’s honours lists
- Civilian awards
- Premium bonds prize draw numbers (separate supplement)
- Naval, military and Royal Air Force appointments and promotions
How to search the indices
Indexes are published quarterly; therefore it is necessary to search each quarter within each annual bound volume. The indexes are themselves split into sections such as ‘State Intelligence’; ‘Honours, Decorations and Medals’; ‘Mentions in Despatches and Commendations’; ‘Naval Appointments, promotions etc’; ‘Military Appointments, promotions etc’; ‘Air Force Appointments, promotions etc’ and ‘Advertisements’.
If you find a relevant entry in an index make a note of the year of the index and the number given beside the entry. The latter is the page number on which that entry can be found in the London Gazette.
Mentions in Despatches
An index to the names of recipients appears from 1916 (iv) onwards. Prior to this, it is necessary to know the appropriate despatch date and then to search within the despatch for the name, but this can be very tedious.
From 1916 (iv) – 1941 (iv) names appear in the ‘State Intelligence’ section under the headings ‘Admiralty’; ‘Air Ministry’ and ‘War Office’.
From 1942 onwards, names are listed in their own section ‘Mentions in Despatches and Commendations’.
It is worth noting that Mentions in Despatches will only provide a list of names of the people being commended. They do not give any individual citations or information as to why an individual was Mentioned, only where and when.
Citations for military honours and awards
Even if a person has been ‘Gazetted’ for a particular award or honour, it does not necessarily follow that there will also be a citation recording the details of the event. More detailed information about awards can be found in Abbot & Tamplin’s British Gallantry Awards.