29 December 2016

4042, later D/20999 Squadron Sergeant Major Frederick Allsopp, 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons

Medals sought, please, for the man pictured above. His name was Frederick Allsopp and in the undated photograph above he wears the following medals:

Distinguished Conduct Medal
QSA with clasps for Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Belfast, Cape Colony and Orange Free State
KSA with usual two clasps
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Inter-Allied Victory Medal
Delhi Durbar Medal
Long Service & Good Conduct Medal

Frederick was born in 1878 and enlisted with the 6th Dragoons on the 12th October 1898 having previosuly served with the 3rd (militia) Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. He extended his service in 1904 to complete eight years with the colours. extended aagain in 1906 to complete 12 years with the colours and then re-engaged in May 1910 to complete 21 years. By the time he was discharged in November 1919 he had soldiered in South Africa, Egypt, India and France and Flanders. He had three children, all born in India, two of whom died in infancy.

Frederick Allsopp's DCM was gazetted on the 26th June 1918. His son, a veteran of the Second World War, is now hoping to find his father's medals. Please contact me if you can help.

20 December 2016

Philip Burman RIP

Very sorry to see that Philp Burman died on the 13th December at the age of eighty-four. I never met him but I have bought medals from him and he was well respected in the medals trade.  The photo on this post appears on Philip's site - http://www.military-medals.co.uk/ - which notes that the business has been closed until further notice. RIP Philip Burman.

18 December 2016

The Great War Medal Collector's Companion

I see that my old mate Howard Williamson is selling his essential three-volume Great War Medal Collector's set at bargain prices via eBay. Volumes I and III are being offered at £25 and volume II at £20. These would normally cost £150 for all three and so this really is a give-away. Each volume is comprehensively illustrated and contains a wealth of information that really is not found anywhere else. For the medal collector I would argue that these volumes are as essential as British Battles & Medals and the annual Token Medal Yearbook. Here's the eBay link.

10 November 2016

Military Medal 1914-1920

Findmypast has added the Military Medal 1914-1920 to its growing collection of medals and citations. It has also re-organised medals into a single search under the title: Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards.

Clicking on the link above will take you directly to the main search screen. Use the "Browse medal Type" filter to narrow down the search to a particular medal or medals.

The Military Medal 1914-1920 collection is the most comprehensively indexed version online and there has been a good deal of clean-up on the regiments that is missing from, for instance, the National Archives' version. Registration paper, schedule, reference, and gazette date have all been indexed and are all searchable fields using the "additional keywords" field on the main search screen.

And if you're quick, for this Remembrance Weekend only, all military records are completely free on Findmypast.

13 October 2016

34113 Pte Albert J Hall, 13th & 3rd Hussars

I recently picked up Albert Hall's First World War campaign medals and school attendance medals. The First World War medals are unremarkable but in cracking condition, as are the school medals which I had not seen before.  Together, I think they make an attractive display, and as the sale price was under £50 I thought they were also something of a bargain.

I don't know anything about Albert, and no service record survives for him. The school attendance medals, issued by London County Council, cover the period 1906 to 1911. Assuming that 1911 was the last year that Albert was at school, and assuming that he left school at the age of 14, a birth year of about 1896 or 1897 would seem reasonable.

Albert's regimental number with the 13th Hussars dates to between March and April 1917, although it is possible that he could have attested earlier under the Derby Scheme. Again, an enlistment year of 1917 suggest to me a younger man, maybe someone born in between 1897 and 1899.

The problem of course is that Albert Hall is a common name but there are potentially two candidates on the 1911 census: Albert Joseph Hall, a 15-year-old printer living with his parents in Hoxton and Albert Joseph Hall, a 12-year-old schoolboy living in Bow with his parents and three siblings. Of the two, and bearing in mind that in 1911, the fifteen year-old was working and not at school, I think that The Bow boy is the more likely candidate.  Then again, there is the possibility that Albert J Hall was only recorded as "Albert Hall" on the census return...

Either way, the collection of medals is uncommon and makes a nice addition to my own archive.

10 September 2016

Replica medals anyone?

I am often asked if I can recommend a good replica medals' provider. The honest answer is, I cannot.

By replica medals I mean replacement medals; copies of campaign and gallantry medals to replace originals that have been lost or sold over the years.

The truth of the matter is, I just cannot see any reason why anyone would want to go along this route. Neither would I advocate buying original medals which have had the recipient's details erased - neatly or otherwise. To me, that is vandalism and desecration which simply encourages more vandalism and desecration.

I rule out the replica/replacement/copy/fake - call them what you will - medals, simply because they are not the originals. Furthermore, from what I have seen, the vast majority look and feel awful.

For me, as a collector, I give myself two options: 

1. Post online appeals and create web pages for medals in the hope that one day someone might read that post or web page and recognise those same medals in their own collection
2. Buy identical contemporary medals

I recently purchased the campaign pair and Rifle Brigade cap badge to S-28524 Pte Leonard Thomas Bouchard. In due course these will go into a display for my great uncle, Rifleman John Frederick Nixon, who was killed in action in October 1918. Jack had attested under the Derby Scheme in 1915 and been mobilised in 1916 - so had Private Bouchard. The fact that the two men served in different battalions of the Rifle Brigade - albeit both service battalions - is irrelevant to me, although had I been more pedantic I might have held out for a closer medals-match.

Neither does it matter to me that when ultimately mounted in a display case alongside Jack's photo and identity tags, I will know that the medals next to him are not his. To me, displaying the medals of a contemporary is far preferable to displaying poor copies. For all the claims by medal companies, I have yet to see any produced with the toning that comes with decades of being hidden away in a drawer - as in the British War Medal example above. Buying another man's medals also enables me to take on another research project and to remember another man alongside Jack. Once the medals have been mounted I will record a brief service history on the back of the frame.

Finally there is the matter of cost. I note that one copy medal specialist by Royal Appointment, sells a First World War medal pair for a little over £55 (including VAT). The nasty modern shine on both medals comes free of charge. I paid £55 on eBay for the Bouchard pair, and furthermore have what looks like an authentic Rifle Brigade cap badge to boot. 

If Jack's medals ever do turn up I would of course remove Leonard Bouchard's pair and display these separately. Until that time though, I will be happy to honour both men's service for King and Country.

24 July 2016

Medals sought: 7896 Pte William Reid, 2nd A&S Highlanders

I completed some research for a client this week who would dearly love to trace her grandfather's medals and, if possible, a photograph of him. 

William Reid served with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and was entitled to a QSA with clasps for Transvaal and South Africa 1902 (7896 W Reid) . He also served during the First World War and earned a 1914 Star (7896 Pte W Reid, 2nd A&S Highlanders) claiming his clasp and roses in May 1921, and the British War and Victory Medals (201536 Pte W Reid, A&S Highlanders).

William Reid was born in 1882 and served almost continuously in the regiment between 1900 and 1919 when he re-enlisted with the Royal Engineers (613164) presumably to complete 21 years and qualify for a pension. 

Please contact Heather Fuller at hmafuller001@hotmail.co.uk if you are able to assist.

29 May 2016

9738 Pte Richard Watling, KOYLI

I picked up another 1914 Star trio PoW group this morning to 9738 Pte Richard Watling, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. There's plenty of research potential here, particularly as Richard's group also came with his son's Second World War medals.

Richard Watling was born in Heigham, Norwich on the 3rd February 1888 and joined the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on the 11th June 1908. He was the son of William and Elizabeth Watling and by 1891 was the second youngest of seven children.

He entered France with the 2nd KOYLI on the 14th August 1914 and, according to his entry in the 1914 Star medal roll, was captured on the 30th December 1914. This is clearly incorrect as he appears on my Princess Mary tin database of men captured up to and including the 25th December 1914 and, furthermore, was reported as missing in The Times list published on the 26th October. He was certainly held at Sennelager PoW camp for some of his time in captivity and was repatriated in 1918, arriving at Hull on the 27th November. He was discharged on the 23rd March 1919.

By the time the 1939 Register was taken, Richard was living with his wife Maud (nee Parker) and two sons, Richard Herbert Arthur Watling (1920-1985) and Reginald D Watling (1924-1991) at 19 Salford Street, Norwich.

Richard Watling died on the 3rd May 1964 at the age of 76, probate of £1184 being granted to his son, Richard, insurance agent. At the time of his death his home address was recorded as 17 Woodcock Close, Norwich.

1 May 2016

Liverpool Pals and Sportsmen

The London Medal Company has some nice items on this week's list. There are a couple of Liverpool Pals badges up for grabs, as well as the nice 24th Royal Fusiliers (2nd Sportsmen's) tribute medal below.

I don't suppose these will be around for very long. The Liverpool Pals' badge in particular would make a nice addition to a medal group to an original battalion member.

14 March 2016

Delhi Durbar re-unite

Here's a potentially nice re-unite for a Delhi Durbar medal with a 1914 Star and Victory Medal. eBay has the Delhi Durbar medal for 2nd Lt Geoffrey Dyett Abbott, 1st Connaught Rangers, who would later be killed in action on 2nd November 1914.

Geoffrey Dyett Abbott was born at Srinagar, India, on 12 October 1891, the son of Colonel Frank Abbott, 37th Lancers and a grandson of Lieutenant-General H. D. Abbott, C.B., and of Major-General J. C. Berkeley, C.I.E. He was educated at Cheltenham College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was gazetted to the Connaught Rangers in March 1911 and served with the 1st Battalion in India. Promoted to Lieutenant in June 1914, he entered the France/Flanders theatre of war on 26 September 1914. He was killed in action at Laventie, France, on 2 November 1914. His company commander sent the following account of the circumstances: ‘On the 2nd instant [November, 1914] we went to relieve the 2nd Gurkhas and came under rather heavy fire crossing an open place. It was in the above open place he was killed.’ Geoffrey Abbott was buried in the Royal Irish Rifles Graveyard at Laventie.

Lt Abbott's 1914 Star and Victory Medal were sold by Dix Noonan Webb in March 2010 for £460 (estimate £200-£250) and the italicised text above is from the DNW site.

6 March 2016

Loved to death, battered, brooched

Sold today on eBay, this Indian Mutiny Medal and sometime brooch, originally awarded to Robert Smith of the 71st Highlanders. It was sold for £125, a bargain to some and a waste of £125 to others, depending on where you sit when it comes to medals that have obvious damage and/or a history.

I was watching this, interested as much as anything, to see what the final price would be. I like the medals I buy to be in as good a condition as possible and so I don't have obviously damaged medals in my collection. Nevertheless, I can see the merits of buying medals like this one, although I would probably have preferred to purchase it in its secondary brooched status. These re-purposed medals are not uncommon and have the advantage of being, for the most part, quite reasonable to acquire. I suppose an undamaged Indian Mutiny Medal to this regiment would fetch around £400, but I quite like Victoria's facial scars, and the impressed naming in the usual roman capitals, is both lovely and unblemished.

All in all then, I would say that this is a good buy, although I can't imagine that researching the recipient, Robert Smith, will be an easy task.

21 January 2016

Charles Stanley George Ralph - where's the QSA?

3857 Pte Charles Stanley George Ralph, 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards; later 5101 Pte, 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons was born in Wandsworth, London and was a butcher by trade when he enlisted in London on the 15th July 1891. His stated age was 18 years and two months which suggests that he was born around May 1873. His birth though, was registered in the third quarter of 1874 and the 1881 census also records him as a six year old. He was thus probably 17 years old when he enlisted, and not 18.

Charles enlisted for a period of seven years with the colours and five years on the reserve albeit, according to clause 18a, “if, at the termination of such period of Army Service, you are serving beyond the seas, then for the first eight years in the Army Service and for the remaining four years in the 1st Class of the Army Reserve.” He indicated at the time of his attestation that he wished to serve with the 4th Dragoon Guards.

He served with the regiment in India from September 1894 until February 1899, earning the India Medal 1895 with clasps for the Punjab Frontier 1897-98 and Tirah 1897-98 in the process. He was transferred to the Army Reserve in February 1899 but recalled to the colours that same November when he was transferred to the 6th (Inniskilling Dragoons). He subsequently served in South Africa and added two more campaign medals to his collection. He was discharged to the Army Reserve for a second time in August 1902 and finally discharged on the 14th July 1903, exactly twelve years after he had first enlisted.

Charles Ralph's QSA and KSA appeared in a collectors' sale auction at Truro Auction Centre on the 23rd May 2014 (lot 582). However, the KSA had already appeared, on its own as item 651 at the same Truro Auction Centre on 7th March 2014. QC Militaria subsequently had the QSA up for sale in July 2015.

I'm at a loss to understand how the KSA appeared as a single medal two months before both medals were offered, and also, of course, why the medals were split after being together for over a hundred years. There also remains the matter of the missing India Medal 1895-1902. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the QSA and IM, or can offer an explanation for the sequence of events above, please leave a comment or contact me directly via the research tab. A client in Australia holds the KSA - or at least a KSA with Charles Ralph's details impressed.

The photograph on this page is an edited compilation of images which appear on Dix Noonan Webb's website.

17 January 2016

Baltic Medal


Granted to officers and men of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines for operations in the Baltic against Russia at the same time as the Crimean War. One hundred and six medals were also issued to men serving with the Royal Sappers and Miners (British Battles and Medals lists these men by name).

36mm diameter silver medal. The obverse portrays the diademed head of Queen Victoria, the legend VICTORIA REGINA. The reverse depicts Britannia seated, holding a trident. Behind her are the fortresses of Bomarsund and Sveaborg. The word BALTIC is above, with the dates 1854-1855 in the exergue. The obverse of the medal had been designed by William Wyon RA (1795-1851) and the reverse by his son Leonard Charles Wyon (1826-1891).

33mm wide; yellow with blue edges.

An ornamental swivelling suspender.

Medals were issued unnamed except those to the Royal Sappers and Miners. These medals were impressed in block capitals.


Image courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb.