Mention in Despatches Oakleaf
During a campaign, a commander in the field wrote back to his higher authority informing them what was happening - who had attacked who, how many casualties had been received, what was the effect of his latest manoeuvre etc. He also mentioned officers and soldiers who had carried out a gallant action or who rendered distinguished service. To be so mentioned was to have been "Mentioned in Despatches”.
The despatches were usually printed in the London Gazette, but up to the World War 1 being mentioned in a despatch did not result in the officer or soldier receiving any visible mark (for example a medal) to show that he had been mentioned. It was only after the Great War had finished that it was decided to issue a small bronze oakleaf to any officer or soldier who had been mentioned in a despatch. This emblem was usually worn on one of the medal ribbons that he had been awarded.