26 June 2009

Inter-Allied Victory Medal


First World War. There were many versions of this medal which were issued to qualifying participants from the victorious allies. Qualification for the British/colonial version was extensive and has been covered comprehensively by North East Medals. Essentially though, the award covered those who had been serving within a theatre of military operations between 4th/5th August 1914 and midnight on the 11th/12th November 1918. It was also awarded to members of the British Naval mission to Russia 1919-1920 and for mine clearance in the North Sea between 11 November 1918 and 30 November 1919.

Approximately 6,335,000 Victory medals were issued to British and Imperial forces.

36mm diameter bronze gilt finish suspended by a ring. Obverse: the standing figure of Victory holding a palm. Reverse: inscription 'THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION 1914-1919' appears within a laurel wreath. William McMillan (1887-1977) was responsible for the design which appeared on the British/colonial and South African version of the Victory Medal. The South African version carries a bilingual inscription: 'THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION' and, in Afrikaans, 'DE GROTE OORLOG VOOR DE BESCHAVING 1914-1919'.

Double rainbow pattern, graded and watered. From the centre the colours are: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

Impressed in sans serif capitals around the edge.

None issued with this medal.

Men who were Mentioned in Dispatches were awarded an Oak Leaf which was worn on the ribbon of the Victory Medal.

For other versions of the Inter-Allied Victory Medal, visit the Digger History page devoted to Allied Victory Medals from the Great War.

Image shows the medal group awarded to Captain William Balfour Campbell of the 8th Punjab Regiment. The oak leaf for his MiD is affixed to his Victory Medal ribbon (centre).

22 June 2009

British War Medal


First World War. Qualification for this medal was extensive and North East Medals has already published a wealth of information on this WW1 award. What follows below is a summary.

The original qualification was for officers and men of British and Imperial Forces who had rendered service between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918. This was later extended to include women who had served (subject to those qualifications which North East Medals outlines), and also the immediate post-war period 1919-1920 which covered mine-clearance operations at sea as well as operations in the eastern Baltic, Siberia, The Black and Caspian Seas, and north and south Russia.

6,390,000 silver British War Medals were issued with a further 110,000 bronze British War Medals issued mostly to the Chinese Labour Corps, Indian Labour Corps and Maltese Labour Corps.

36mm diameter silver or bronze (as above) with non-swivelling suspender. Obverse: King George V and the legend: GEORGIUS BRITT: OMN: REX: ET: IND: IMP: which is the abbreviated 1919 'txt' equivalent of "George V, omnipotent King of Great Britain and Emperor of India." The reverse of the medal depicts St George on horseback holding a short sword. His horse tramples his adversaries’ shield, to the left of which lies a skull and crossbones. 1914 and 1918 are recorded behind St George’s back and in front of the horse’s left fore-leg respectively.

Orange with, from each edge, blue, black and white stripes.

Impressed in a variety of styles.

Sixty eight naval bars and seventy nine army bars were proposed although ultimately the idea was abandoned and the medal was issued, in Frank Richards’ words, “bare-arsed".

Courtesy of John Duncan, taken from his excellent Newbattle at War website.

20 June 2009

'Missing' family medals

If not already in good hands within the family, I seek the medals for the following relatives:

3819 Pte Herbert Richard Hallam, 20th Hussars, later Z/211 Pte, Rifle Brigade.
My paternal great grandmother's brother, Bertrand Elam enlisted under the pseudonym, Herbert Richard Hallam, on 2nd November 1894. He earned the QSA with clasps 1901, 1902, Orange Free State and Transvaal whilst serving with the 20th Hussars, and during WW1 added the 1914 Star, and British War & Victory medals to his collection. He later served with the Rifle Brigade, Gloucestershire Regiment (pictured above) and Royal Defence Corps.

S/18321 Pte John Frederick Nixon, 8th London Regiment.
My great uncle, John F Nixon, was attached to the 8th London Regiment when he was killed in action on 3rd October 1918. Jack, as he was known to his family and friends, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois memorial in France. He was entitled to the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and a memorial plaque would also have been sent to his next of kin. In the undated photograph above, Jack Nixon stands next to his brother Sid. A photo of Jack in army uniform has recently come to light. See header on Army Ancestry Latest.

34714 Pte Alfred Arthur Nixon, Essex Regiment.
My great uncle, A A Nixon was entitled to the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the Territorial Force War Medal. The photograph above dates to 1916. Alf Nixon is flanked by his brothers Edgar Albert Nixon (RFC) and Walter Leonard Nixon (RGA). Walter Nixon was my grandfather.

DM2/137673 Private Charles Arthur Roberts, Army Service Corps.
My maternal great grandfather, Charles A Roberts was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal. The photograph above was taken "somewhere in France"; date unknown.

A/Capt Alfred Eldred Iliffe MC, Bedfordshire Regiment
Alfred Iliffe went to the Balkans in 1915 as 1630 Pte A E Iliffe with the 1/1 Suffolk Yeomanry. He was later commissioned into the Bedfordshire Regiment and would win the MC in 1918. I seek his 1915 Star (Suffolk Yeo), his British War and Victory Medals (Beds Regt) and his Military Cross.

Alfred is distantly related. His mother was a maternal great-grandmother's sister.

16 June 2009

1914-15 Star


First World War. Officers and men of British and Imperial Forces who served in any theatre of war between 5th August 1914 and 31st December 1915, but excluding those officers and men who were already entitled to receive the 1914 Star. No bars were issued for this medal.

The 1914-15 Star is similar to the 1914 Star. A bronze four-pointed star design, Wikipedia gives the dimensions as 50mm high and 45 mm wide. Obverse; the upper point is replaced with a crown and solid fixed suspension ring. Two crossed short swords are positioned between the arms of the star and a scroll, longer than that on the 1914 Star, and bearing the date 1914-15 passes around the centre of the swords. The central area is surrounded by an oak wreath bearing a King George V (GV) monogram on the lower point. Reverse: plain. Recipient’s details impressed on the reverse.

Red white and blue in shaded and watered stripes. The same ribbon is used for the 1914 Star.

Impressed in sans- serif capitals.

In total, around 2, 366,000 1914-15 Stars were issued. Men serving during WW1 and qualifying for this medal were also entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

The image above shows the 1914-15 Star court-mounted trio awarded to 236418 Sapper Henry Peirce of the Royal Engineers.

11 June 2009

Citations of the DCM 1914-1920

Citations of The Distinguished Conduct Medal in the Great War 1914-1920

The Naval & Military Press has this to say about this four volume set:

"This much-needed series lists the full citations of the Distinguished Conduct Medal (and second and third award bars) in the Great War. The DCM may not have the cachet of the VC, but the deeds told in the citations for the award are just as heroic and inspiring.

"Section 1 of the series lists DCMs won by members of the Royal Flying Corps and (from April 1918) of the Royal Air Force; the Foot Guards; and the Yeomanry and Cavalry. Section 2 covers the Line Regiments. Section 3 the Territorial Army Regiments including the RGLI/RNVR/RMLI and RMA; the Royal Engineers and the Royal Artillery. Section 4 covers the Corps and the overseas forces of the Crown in alphabetical order: Australia; the British West Indies Regiment; Canada; India; Newfoundland; New Zealand; Rhodesia; South and East Africa.

"The citations for DCMs are hard to find - unit histories often have no space for more than a brief mention; or just the bare fact of the award tucked away in an appendix. Others are lost in the labyrinth of small print in the official ‘London Gazette’. But, thanks to the research of Rob Walker, who compiled the citations, and the tireless work of Chris Buckland who oversaw the mammoth task of typing of all 25,000+ citations, the brave deeds which won the medals are here for all to see."

9 June 2009

1914 Star

Army Order 350, April 1917.

First World War. Officers and men serving with the British and Indian Expeditionary Forces in France or Belgium between 5th August 1914 and midnight on 22nd November 1914. (This included Naval personnel serving ashore between these dates). Also see Appendix A below.

Bronze four pointed star design, 62mm high, 44.5 mm wide. Obverse; the upper point is replaced with a crown and solid fixed suspension ring. Two crossed short swords are positioned between the arms of the star and a scroll bearing AUG 1914 NOV passes around the centre of the swords. The central area is surrounded by an oak wreath bearing a King George V (GV) monogram on the lower point. Reverse: plain. Recipient’s details impressed on the reverse.

Red white and blue in shaded and watered stripes. The same ribbon is used for the 1914-15 Star.

Impressed in sans- serif capitals.

A bronze clasp bearing the text 5th Aug – 22nd Nov 1914 was announced in 1919 for those who came under fire between those dates.

A total of 365,622 1914 Stars were awarded. As the ribbon was the same as that issued for the 1914-15 Star, men awarded the 1914 Star were permitted to wear a small silver rosette on their ribbon when not actually wearing the medals themselves. The bar and the rosette are referred to on medal index cards as "clasp and roses". The medal is also erroneously known as The Mons Star.

Eligible units:
In 1919, Appendix A of Army Order 361 listed the eligible units with which a man qualifying for the 1914 Star could have served. This list was later amended by Army Order 52 of 1920 and Army Order 70 of 1921 and it is this latter list (which removed some units and added others) which is published below. Links in the list will take you to an external page giving details about army service numbers in that particular regiment.


Household Cavalry
1st & 2nd Life Guards, Royal Horse Guards

Cavalry of the Line - Corps of Dragoons

2nd Dragoon Guards (The Queen's Bays)
3rd (Prince of Wales') Dragoon Guards
4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards
5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales') Dragoon Guards
7th (Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards
1st (Royal) Dragoons, 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)

Cavalry of the Line - Corps of Hussars

3rd (King's Own) Hussars
4th (Queen's Own) Hussars
11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars
15th (King's) Hussars
18th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Hussars
19th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Hussars
20th Hussars

Cavalry of the Line - Corps of Lancers

5th (Royal Irish) Lancers
9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers
12th (Prince of Wales' Royal) Lancers
16th (The Queen's) Lancers

Special Reserve Cavalry

North Irish Horse ('A' and 'C' Squadrons)
South Irish Horse ('B' Squadron).


Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars
North Somerset Yeomanry
Leicestershire Yeomanry
Northumberland Hussars
Northamptonshire Yeomanry


Royal Horse Artillery

'C', D', 'E', F', 'G', 'H', T, T, 'K', 'L', 'N', 'O' and 'Z' Batteries.

Ammunition Columns:
IIIrd, Vth VIIth, XIVth, XVth, Brigades.

Royal Field Artillery


Divisional Ammunition Columns:
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Divisions, Lahore Division, Meerut Division.

Anti-Aircraft Sections:
Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12.

Royal Garrison Artillery

Heavy Batteries (including Ammunition Columns):
24th, 26th, 31st, 35th, 48th, 108th, 109th, 110th, 111th, 112th, 113th, 114th, 115th, 116th, 118th, 119th.

Siege Batteries:
Nos. 1-8 (inclusive).

Anti Aircraft Sections:
No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 1st Pom-Pom Anti-Aircraft Section.


2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Aeroplane squadrons.


Field Companies:
2nd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 23rd, 26th, 38th, 54th, 55th, 56th, 57th and 59th.

Field Squadrons:
1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Fortress (Lines of Communication) Companies:
20th and 42nd.

No.1 Bridging Train, No. 2 Bridging Train.

The Royal Anglesey Royal Engineers, No 1 Siege Company.


1st, 2nd and 3rd Signal Squadrons, Cavalry, Corps Signal Squadrons.

lst-8th Divisional Signal Companies, 32nd and 35th Divisional Signal Companies.

"A" or I Corps Signal Company—"D" and "G" Airline Sections and "H" and "K" Cable Sections.

"B" or II Corps Signal Company—"E" Airline Section and "E", "O", "P" and "N" Cable Sections.

"C" or III Corps Signal Company—"F" Cable Section.

Sappers and Miners

No. 1 Field Troop, 1st Sappers and Miners.
Nos. 3 and 4 Companies, 1st Sappers and Miners.
Nos. 20 and 21 Companies, 3rd Sappers and Miners.


Grenadier Guards, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Coldstream Guards, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions.
Scots Guards, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Irish Guards, 1st Battalion.


Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 2nd Battalion.
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Border Regiment, 2nd Battalion
(Buffs) East Kent Regiment, 1st Battalion.
(Queen's Own) Cameron Highlanders, 1st Battalion.
Cheshire Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Connaught Rangers, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Devonshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Dorsetshire Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 1st Battalion.
Durham Light Infantry, 2nd Battalion.
East Lancashire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
East Surrey Regiment, 1st Battalion.
East Yorkshire Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Essex Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Gloucestershire Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Gordon Highlanders, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Hampshire Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Hertfordshire Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Highland Light Infantry, 2nd Battalion.
Honourable Artillery Company, 1st Battalion.
King's Own Scottish Borderers, 2nd Battalion.
King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 2nd Battalion.
King's Royal Rifle Corps, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion.
Leicestershire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Leinster Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Lincolnshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Liverpool Regiment, 1st Battalion.
London Regiment, 5th, 13th, 14th, 16th Battalions.
Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Manchester Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Middlesex Regiment, 1st, 2nd and 4th Battalions.
Monmouthshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Norfolk Regiment, 1st Battalion.
North Staffordshire Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Northamptonshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Northumberland Fusiliers, 1st Battalion.
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 2nd Battalion.
Rifle Brigade, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions.
Royal Berkshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Royal Fusiliers, 1st and 4th Battalions.
Royal Highlanders, 1st, 2nd and 5th Battalions.
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion.
Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1st Battalion.
Royal Irish Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Royal Irish Rifles, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Royal Lancaster Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Royal Munster Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion.
Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Royal Scots, 2nd and 8th Battalions.
Royal Sussex Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Royal West Kent Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Royal West Surrey Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Scottish Rifles, 1st, 2nd and 5th Battalions.
Seaforth Highlanders, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Shropshire Light Infantry, 1st Battalion.
Somerset Light Infantry, 1st Battalion.
South Lancashire Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
South Staffordshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
South Wales Borderers, 1st Battalion.
Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Welsh Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
West Riding Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
West Yorkshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Wiltshire Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Worcestershire Regiment, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions.
York and Lancaster Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Yorkshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion.


4th Cavalry, 15th Lancers, 20th Deccan Horse, 34th Poona Horse, Jodhpore Lancers.


6th Jat Light Infantry
9th Bhopal Infantry
15th Sikhs
34th Sikh Pioneers.
l/39th Garhwal Rifles
2/39th Garhwal Rifles
41st Dogras
47th Sikhs
57th Rifles (F.F.)
58th Rifles (F.F.)
59th Rifles (F.F.)
107th Pioneers
129th Baluchis
2/2nd Gurkha Rifles
2/3rd Gurkha Rifles
2/8th Gurkha Rifles
1/9th Gurkha Rifles


Headquarters, Lahore and Meerut Divisional S.T.
Lahore and Meerut Divisional Trains and Supply Columns.


lst-8th Divisional Cyclist Companies (inclusive)


Headquarters, Royal Army Service Corps, of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Divisions.

Drivers attached to 111th, 112th, 113th (less "A" Section), 128th, 129th and 130th Indian Field Ambulances.

Drivers attached to Nos. 2 and 3 Motor Ambulance Convoys. 90th Company (1st Auxiliary Mechanical Transport Company) and 91st (Motor Bus) Company.

Ammunition Parks and Supply Columns, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Divisions.

Divisional Ammunition Parks, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th. Divisional Trains and Supply Columns, lst-8th Divisions (inclusive).

19th Infantry Brigade Train.


1st-15th Mobile Veterinary Sections.


lst-7th Cavalry Field Ambulances:
lst-26th Field Ambulances.
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th Ambulance Trains.
Nos. 3, 4 and 6 Casualty Clearing Hospitals.
7th, 8th, 19th and 20th British Field Ambulances, (attached Lahore and Meerut Divisions),


Combined Field Ambulance, Indian Medical Service (originally designated 9th Cavalry Brigade,

Indian Field Ambulance, subsequently 141st Cavalry Field Ambulance). Indian Medical Units with Indian Troops:
111th, 112th, 113th (less "A" Section), 128th, 129th and 130th Indian Field Ambulances)

Servicemen who believed they qualified for the bar but who had not served with any of the formations listed in Appendix A were required to submit a certificate to that effect, attested by an officer, warrant officer or non-commissioned officer not below the rank of sergeant.

Description and Appendix A copied, with minor amends, from North East Medals. Image courtesy of Spink.

3 June 2009

Captain Arthur Prestwood, 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers

Medals held:
India Medal, 1st issue, plus three bars: Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Samana 1897, Tirah 1897-98; 1914 Star and bar, British War Medal and Victory Medal (Mentioned in Dispatches).

Arthur Prestwood was born in Shifnal Wellington, Shropshire on 24th February 1876. He joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers on 24th April 1894, his papers noting that he was 18 years and two months old and employed as an iron worker. He was given the number 4556.

Arthur's papers survive at the National Archives in London and therefore we have a pretty clear idea of his interesting military career with the Royal Scots Fusiliers. After enlisting, he remained in the UK with the 1st Battalion until 23rd September 1896. During this time he obtained his 3rd Class Certificate of Education (19th March 1896) and then his 2nd Class Certificate (22nd June 1896). Three months later, he sailed for India and would remain there until 8th March 1904, taking part in the campaigns on the Punjab Frontier (1897-98), Samana (1897) and Tirah (1897-98).

On 17th December 1898 Arthur was promoted to corporal and on 31st October 1900 he qualified as an assistant instructor in army signalling. The following year, on 11th May 1901, he was promoted to sergeant. It was whilst he was a sergeant and stationed at Allahabad, that he signed on to complete twelve years with the Colours. This was on 15th October 1902 and he was re-engaged at Allahabad on 17th November 1903.

He was back in the UK between 9th March 1904 and 14th February 1907 and then it was back to India again, this time for a shorter spell between 15th February 1907 and 10th January 1908. Returning to the UK that month, it would appear that Arthur had again extended his service as he was appointed Cook Sergeant on 2nd August 1908 and was passed by the School of Cookery at Aldershot on 19th April 1909. On 14th January 1910 he was promoted to the rank of Colour Sergeant.

It would appear that Arthur was then transferred to the Reserve,and on 15th August 1914, with the war against Germany less than a fortnight old, he was promoted to a commission with the 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers as 2nd Lieutenant. He arrived overseas on 15th September 1914.

On 3rd February 1915 he was promoted Lieutenant and it was whilst he was serving with the battalion that he received a severe gun-shot wound at Hooge on 16th June 1915. He returned to the UK on 4th July 1915 and after recuperating, was stationed with the 3rd Battalion at Fort Matilda in Greenock. On 22nd June 1915, The London Gazette noted that he had been Mentioned in Dispatches.

During his time with the 3rd Battalion, Arthur Prestwood held a number of appointments and he was promoted to captain on 1st January 1918. He retired on account of ill-health caused by wounds on 18th July 1921 but despite this, had a long life, dying at the age of 94 on 8th November 1970. There is a letter in his file dated 24th November 1970 in response to an enquiry from a Colonel C R Buchanan who was collecting information about Arthur's military career in order to write an obituary.

Arthur's papers also indicate that he originally recorded his next of kin as his father, James Prestwood, who was living at 34 Globe Buildings, Motherwell. Later however, Arthur marrried Louisa Bone, a spinster, the wedding taking place at St Mary's, Buriton, Hampshire on 27th January 1907. Henry Bone and Martha Robins were the witnesses on that day.

Arthur appears to have been a career soldier through and through, rising through the ranks from private to colour sergeant during a 16 year career and then serving for a further seven years as a commissioned officer from 1914. Apart from the addresses already noted, his medal index card at the National Archives also records an address at 83 Loughborough Park, Brixton, London SW9.

I've borrowed the image of the reverse of the India General Service Medal 1895 (showing the bars which Arthur Prestwood was entitled to) from Neate Medals in Suffolk.

India General Service Medal 1895: Casualty Roll

Definitive casualty roll of recipients of the medal arranged by clasp and by regiment. Seven clasps awarded: Defence of Chitral (1895), Relief of Chitral (1895), Punjab Frontier (1897-98), Malakand (1897), Samana (1897), Tirah (1897-98) and Waziristan (1901-02). Lists 2,400 officers and men. Re-published by the Naval & Military Press.

R/4232 Rifleman Harry E Hudson MM, 13th King's Royal Rifle Corps

Medals held:
Military Medal (Geo V), 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Photo and text to follow.

G/1559 Private Edward Plumridge, 8th East Kent Regt (The Buffs)

Medals held:
1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Edward Plumridge was a Kitchener volunteer who joined up in early September 1914 and lost his left leg a year later as a result of being wounded at the Battle of Loos. This is his story.

Edward was born at Bradenham, near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire in 1883. He was the son of Frederick and Sarah Plumridge and when the 1891 census was taken, was living with them in Bradenham. The household comprised, Frederick (head, aged 50, an agricultural labourer), Sarah (aged 40) and four children: Minna Plumridge (aged 11), Gertrude Plumridge (aged nine), Edward (aged seven) and Reginald Plumridge (aged three). The children and their mother had all been born at Bradenham but Frederick is recorded as having been born at Boullen End, Bucks.

Frederick does not appear with the family on the 1881 census but his wife is noted on it as a lace beader and she was living in Bradenham village with her 75 year old widowed father, Thomas Plumridge, and her one year old infant, Minna. Frederick may have been a patient in All Saints Convalescent Hospital, Eastbourne at the time. A married, 42 year old Buckinghamshire-born man by that name was certainly there in 1881, giving his place of birth as Poges and his occupation as railway plate layer.

In any event, by 1901 the family had somewhat dissipated. Sarah is recorded as a 50 year old widow on the census that was taken that year, visiting Henry and Sarah Wooster at their house in Bradenham. Minna had moved to London and was working as a 21 year old nursemaid for solicitor Henry Rawstone and his wife Madeleine in their home at 65 Queen’s Gate, Kensington, and I have been unable to trace Edward, Frederick or Gertrude.

Thankfully, Edward’s army service record survives in the WO 364 pension series so we are able to see that he attested with the East Kent Regiment at Battersea, London on 8th September 1914. He stated his profession as a male attendant at Tooting Bec Asylum and his age was noted as 30 years and 291 days. Edward had a sallow complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. He was five feet, five and a half inches tall and weighed 132 lbs. Four days later, Edward was posted to the 8th Battalion and promoted lance-corporal at the same time. He then remained in England until 31st August 1915 when he arrived in France, being promoted to corporal on the same day. He would not retain his stripes for very long.

A note on Edward’s service record for 16th September 1915 reads, “In confinement awaiting trial by FGCM [Field General Court Martial]. When on active service disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer. Sentence guilty. Reduced to the Ranks. Confirmed by Brig Gen commanding 72 Bgde.”

Edward returned to his battalion and was wounded and gassed at the Battle of Loos twelve days later. His service record states G[un shot] W[ound] leg & Gas. Next to the line, Effects of Wounds, is written simply, amputation. Rushed into action on the 26th September after lengthy forced marches, the division suffered terribly at Loos, Edward being one of more than 3,900 casualties.

On 10th October 1915, a telegram was sent from No 5 General Hospital Rouen stating that Edward was dangerously ill and that his relatives should be informed. He recovered sufficiently though to return to England 16 days later on the Hospital Ship George.

Edward would have been a stretcher case and appears to have been taken straight to the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth where he remained until 23rd March 1916. On his discharge from hospital he signed for one ankle boot, one cap, two pairs of woollen drawers, one jacket, one pair of puttees, one pair of service trousers, one waistcoat, one great coat, one kit bag, one pair of braces, one cap comforter, three shirts and three socks.

Edward returned to Bradenham until 14th August 1916 when he was admitted to Roehampton Hospital in London for the fitting of his artificial leg. He appeared before a medical board at The King George Hospital, Stamford Street, south east London (a clerk noting his name incorrectly as Edwin) and he was discharged from the army two weeks later on 7th October. He then appears to have spent time in a convalescent home in Devon (105 Barton Road, St Thomas’s, Exeter) and was certainly at that address on 15th October, writing to the officer in charge of records at Hounslow that he would like a silver war badge. This was duly sent to him (badge number 59999) on 4th December that year.

On 29th October 1916, Edward was awarded a pension of 25/ a week for two months and then 12/6 per week for life. He received his King’s discharge certificate on 22nd July 1918 and on 14th June 1920 was living at 113 Tooting Bec Road, Balham, London SW17.

Edward’s 1914-15 Star is inscribed to G-1559 L-Cpl E Plumridge, E Kent R (indicating that he must have been promoted after he set foot in France). His BWM and VM are inscribed to G-1559 Pte E Plumridge, E Kent R. His silver war badge is not in my possession.

Sub Conductor George A J Welch, Indian Army Ordnance Corps, formerly Yorkshire Regiment

Medals held:
Queen's South Africa Medal and three clasps (Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal), King's South Africa Medal and two clasps (1901, 1902), 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Delhi Durbar Medal 1911, Military Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

George A J Welch was born in Allahabad, India around 1880 or 1881. He appears on the 1891 census as a ten year old scholar; the eldest child of James and Lily Welch. James Welch, born at Shepton Mallet in Somerset, is recorded as a 39 year old quartermaster sergeant serving with the Yorkshire Regiment. His wife Lily is recorded as 31 years old; a British subject born in Burma. Apart from George, the other children are noted as John L Welch, a seven year old scholar born at Netley, Hampshire; Frederick H D Welch, a four year old scholar born at Richmond, Yorkshire; Thomas R Welch aged two, also born at Richmond; and Louisa M L Welch aged one month, born at Richmond. At the time the census was taken, the family was living at Allen Place, Richmond.

Neither George nor John appear on the 1901 census (both were away fighting the Boers in South Africa). The rest of the family though - including two additions - had moved to Potternewton in Leeds and was living at 18 Leopold Square. The household comprised James (head, aged 49, recorded as an army storekeeper and noted by the census takers as an army pensioner), his wife Lily (aged 41, this time recorded as having been born in India), and the couple's five children. They were: Frederick Welch aged 14, Thomas Welch aged 12, Louisa Welch aged 10, Isabelle Welch aged seven, and Herbert Welch aged five. Both Isabelle and Herbert had also been born in Richmond, suggesting that the family moved to Leeds some time after July 1895 (Herbert's birth was registered at Richmond in the September quarter of that year).

George's army service record does not appear to have survived, although his brother John's has. Like his elder brother, John Leeson Welch joined the Yorkshire Regiment, initially serving with the 3rd (Militia) Battalion during the Boer War and then joining the regular Yorkshire Regiment on 15th June 1903. Enlisting for a period of 3 years with the colours and nine on the reserve his approving officer wrote, "Smart lad. Served two and a half years in S Africa with 3rd Yorkshire Regt. Has father and brother in Corps. Has been employed in an office and will prob[ably] soon develop. Is a drummer and bugler. Character exemplary. Corps [unclear but possibly "advised"] to obtain him." John would extend his service with the Yorkshire Regiment, serve overseas in India and again in South Africa, transfer to the Reserve in 1911 and then be recalled to the colours on 5th August 1914. Exactly two months later he would land in France, remaining there until wounded in 1917. He would return there in May 1918, this time with the Coldstream Guards, finally earning his discharge in 1919. John's medal group would have been almost identical to George's, the absence of the Transvaal clasp on his QSA and no Delhi Durbar medal being the only difference.

So George was certainly still with the Yorkshire Regiment in 1903 but by 1911 he'd transferred to the Ordnance Department. His Delhi Durbar medal is inscribed to O Sub Condr G.A.J. Welch, Ordnance Dept.

George's First World War medal card (below) makes no reference to an award of a 1914-15 Star so I am currently puzzled how this forms part of his group. Like the British War and Victory medals it is inscribed to Sub Condr G A J Welch, I.O.D. Finally, George's QSA is inscribed to 4596 Cpl G Welch, Yorkshire Regt, whilst the KSA is inscribed to 4596 Serjt G Welch, York Regt. His Military Long Service and Good Conduct medal is inscribed to Staff Serjt G.A.J Welch.

236418 Sapper Henry Peirce, 353rd Electrical and Mechanical Company, Royal Engineers

Medals held:
1914-15 Star, British War Medal, British Victory Medal.

Henry Peirce was born in the village of Cowfold, Sussex in 1889, his birth registered in Cuckfield in the September quarter of that year. He appears on the 1891 census living with his family at Edwards Cottages in Nutfield, Surrey. The household comprised Philip Peirce, aged 37, a domestic gardener born in Petersfield, Sussex; his wife Mary Peirce, aged 35, born in Cowfold, and their five children: James Peirce (aged 11), Anne Peirce (aged nine), Phillip Peirce (aged eight), Esther Peirce (aged three) and Henry (aged one). All of the children are noted as having been born in Cowfold.

By the time the 1901 census was taken, the family had moved and grown. Philip Peirce was now living at Avenue Cottage, South Nutfield with his family. James, now 21, is recorded as a labourer, his brother Philip recorded as a domestic under gardener. Thirteen year old Esther is noted as a scholar whilst Henry, who must also have been at school, has nothing recorded against his name. There were also four other siblings, all born in Nutfield. In age order they were Fred Peirce (aged nine), Charles Peirce (aged five), William M Peirce (aged three) and Catherine Peirce (aged one). The family surname is recorded incorrectly as Pearce on the 1901 census.

Henry’s service record, if it survives, does not exist in the WO363 or WO364 series held at the National Archives. We do know however that he enlisted in September 1914 in Redhill, Surrey with the 16th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (The Church Lads’ Brigade). Indeed, his number C-30, suggests an enlistment into this battalion on the day it was formed: 19th September 1914. He may have been married at the time of joining up but if he wasn’t, he certainly was by the time he was killed in action in 1918. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records the additional information that he was the son of Philip Peirce and the husband of Flora E M Peirce of 44 Earlsbrook Road, Redhill, Surrey.

Henry arrived in France on Christmas Eve 1915 and if he was still with the battalion in 1916, almost certainly took part in the Somme battles later that year. At some point though, he transferred to the Royal Engineers and it was whilst serving with the 353rd Electrical and Mechanical Company that he was killed in action on 19th August 1918. He is buried in Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery in France. Soldiers Died in The Great War notes Henry’s place of birth as Horsham, Sussex which goes against the information recorded on the 1901 census. Nevertheless, the name H Peirce does appear on the Horsham town memorial.

Henry’s brothers also served during the First World War. Fred served with the London Regiment, William served with the Royal Field Artillery and Philip served with the 11th Middlesex Regiment. Like Henry, he too lost his life in the service of his country; killed in action on 12th May 1917 he has no known grave and is commemorated on the war memorial at Arras.

Henry and Philip Peirce are both recorded on the war memorial in South Nutfield, the war memorial in the parish church – Christ Church - at South Nutfield and the war memorial in Nutfield High Street. Additionally, photographs of all four brothers appeared in a album kept by the vicar of Christ Church. When I visited the church in September 2008, I met the current vicar, the Reverend Trevor Kemp, and he kindly dug out acetates of three of the Peirce brothers: Henry and Fred photographed together (above; Henry, standing) and their brother Philip. Henry and Philip were also both mentioned by name in the South Nutfield Parish Magazine.

A memorial plaque (also known as dead man’s penny) would also have been sent to Henry’s wife some time after his death, but if it exists still, it is not in my collection.

228 Quartermaster John Keatinge, 1st Battalion, 8th Regiment of Foot (King's Liverpool Regiment)

Medal held
India Mutiny Medal with two clasps: Delhi / Relief of Lucknow

John Keatinge was born in Ireland around 1827. He appears on the 1861 census stationed with the 1st Battalion, 8th Regiment of Foot at Gosport Barracks, Alverstoke, Hampshire. He is noted as quarter master and the 33 year old head of a small family: Eliza Keatinge (wife) aged 25, born in Sunderland, and two sons: George Keatinge aged four, born in Jullundur, East Indies (India) and A S J Keatinge aged one, born in Fort William (Calcutta).

By the time the 1861 census was taken, John Keatinge had been with the regiment for 15 years and spent most of that time in India. He had enlisted as a private in the 8th Regiment of Foot (King’s Liverpool) on 7th April 1846 and shortly afterwards, 228 Private John Keatinge sailed with his regiment for Bombay.

He was in India when the sepoys mutinied in 1857 and served with the regiment as a colour-sergeant during the Indian Mutiny campaign of 1857-59. (It was whilst the regiment was stationed at Jullunder in 1857 that his son George was born). He was present at the siege, assault, and capture of Delhi and took part in the battle of Agra and other actions of Colonel Greathed’s column. He was present at the relief of Lucknow, at the actions near Cawnpore on 2nd and 6th December 1857; at the action of Khuda Gunj on 2nd January 1858. He took part in the operations at Oudh between 18th October 1858 and 2nd February 1859 (and was appointed quartermaster-sergeant on 19th November 1858). He received the commission of quartermaster on 23rd September 1859.

John Keatinge was awarded the India Mutiny Medal with two clasps: Delhi and Relief of Lucknow. (Note, the illustration above is taken from the website of North East Medals and is not John Keatinge’s medal).

In 1863 a memorial commemorating the services and deaths of the 243 officers, NCOs and men of the 8th Regiment of Foot during the Indian Mutiny was erected at 1863. In 1877 it moved to Chelsea and then, finally in 1911, to its present location in Whitley Gardens, Liverpool.

The India Office collection at the British Library notes that a 44-year-old John Keatinge, Qautermaster with the 63rd Regiment of Foot, was buried at "Hazarebangh" on 22nd March 1872, having died as a result of fatty degeneration of the heart the previous day.  This is possibly the same John Keatinge who served in the 8th Regiment of Foot; certainly the age at death and the army rank are consistent with the information I have.   The 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot ad the 96th Regiment of Foot would later amalgamate and become the Manchester Regiment in 1881. Coincidentally, in 1758 it was the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Regiment of Foot which formed the 63rd Regiment of Foot. Modern day Hazaribagh is situated in the Indian state of Jharkhand.

721276 Bombardier John Gracie, Royal Field Artillery

John Gracie, Royal Field Artillery

From left to right, British War MedalVictory MedalTerritorial Force War MedalTerritorial Force Efficiency Medal and Efficiency Medal.

The Territorial Force War Medal is the least common of the Great War campaign medals. Instituted in 1920, some 33,944 TFWMs were awarded to members of the Territorial Force and Territorial Force Nursing Service. To qualify, servicemen and women had to either be members of the Territorial Force when war was declared on 4th August 1914 or members who had completed four years' service or more prior to August 4th 1914 and who had rejoined before September 30th 1914. In addition, they had to have a) volunteered to serve overseas before September 30th 1914 b) actually served overseas between 4th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 c) did not qualify for the 1914 Star or 1914-15 Star.

John Gracie's medals are impressed as follows:

British War Medal and Victory Medal (3050 GNR. J. GRACIE. R.A.), Territorial Force Medal (3050 DVR. J. GRACIE. R.A.), GVR Territorial Force Efficiency Medal (721276 BMBR. J. GRACIE. R.A.), GVR Efficiency Medal (721276 B.Q.M.SJT. J. GRACIE. R.A.).

John Gracie also served during the Second World War with the 74th Field Regiment. He was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, served in North Africa in 1942 and was captured in June of that year. He spent the rest of the war as a PoW and was entitled to the 1939-45 Star, Africa Star with 8th Army clasp, and War Medal 1939-45. He retired from the army in 1954, latterly working as a policeman. He died in 1963.

William Balfour Campbell - 8th Punjab Regiment

Medals held:
1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and MiD, General Service Medal 1918 (clasps Kurdistan and Iraq), India General Service Medal (clasp Waziristan 1921-24).

This from the medal dealer's write-up at the time of purchase in March 2008:

A fine Officer casualty 'MID' group of 5: Major W.B. Campbell, 2nd Battalion 8th Punjab Regiment late 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders

- 1914-15 Star (Lieut W.B. Campbell, Gord Highrs)
- British War Medal 1914-18 (Capt W.B. Campbell)
- Allied Victory Medal. With oakleaf emblem for a Mention-in-Despatches (Capt W.B. Campbell)
- GSM 1918. GV first type with 2 clasps 'Kurdistan' & 'Iraq' (Capt W.B. Campbell)
- IGS 1908. GV type I & clasp 'Waziristan 1921-24' (Capt W.B. Campbell, 2-8 Punjab R)

Note: The group professionally court mounted by Spink

William Balfour Campbell, was born 20 July 1894, at 120 High Street, Leslie, Fife, Scotland. His father was described as being a 'Railway Engine Driver'. His family later moved to St.Andrews, where the family resided at 158, South Street. Notwithstanding the prevailing social discrimination that worked against giving men from 'working class' backgrounds a commission, the onset of the Great War quickly challenged old attitudes to class and William Campbell was commissioned into the British Army on 4/12/1914, and appointed to serve with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders. He first entered France and Flanders on 4/10/1915. He remained in France until 2/4/1916, on which date he was wounded in action by 'GSW' near St.Eloi, while serving as the battalion 'Bombing Officer' in charge of the 'Grenade Section' - a singularly hazardous appointment in any B.E.F. battalion. Indeed his section had been in action in the early hours of 2/4/1916 in a series of counter-attacks to regain a prominent position on the salient. 1/Gordon's battalion war diary for the period refers;

" Three attempts were made in early morning to get back point 64 which the enemy was still holding. Canadian and Royal Scots bombing parties took part but attempts failed owing to the enemy occupation of a shallow trench in rear from which he could bomb 64 thereby preventing our occupation. There was some heavy shelling during the day. 2nd Lt. W.B. Campbell was wounded."

William Campbell served just over 6 months in France and Flanders, before being invalided back to Scotland suffering from the wounds he had received in action. While in Scotland recovering, he applied for a transfer to the Indian Army. On 31st July 1917, his application was accepted. He embarked on a troopship for India on 11 October 1917 as a probationer for the Indian Army. He subsequently served in Mesopotamia from 15/5/1918 through to 1920. He was Mentioned-in-Despatches (MID) for his distinguished services in Iraq, the MID notification being published in the London Gazette of 9/9/1921. He appears to have retired from the Indian Army, with the rank of Major by 1930

With various copied research papers, including his Officers papers for the 'British Service' and the application/referrals for a commission in the 'Indian Army'

Condition: GVF

The above text supplied by Aberdeen Medals.

7162 Private Alexander Burns - 1st Royal Highlanders

Medals held:
Queen's South Africa Medal and three clasps (Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal), King's South Africa Medal and two clasps (1901, 1902), 1914 Star and bar, British War Medal, Victory Medal, King George VI Defence Medal.

This was the first group that I bought and there is still a lot of research to be done.

Alexander Burns's service record does not appear to have survived in the WO 363 and WO 364 series at the National Archives. His number indicates that he joined the Royal Highlanders in late 1898 or early 1899 and he may have been with the original draft when the 2nd Royal Highlanders embarked for South Africa from Tilbury Docks on 22nd October 1899. The battalion comprised 29 officers and 887 men and they sailed aboard the SS Orient. Alexander's Boer War medals are inscribed to 7162 Pte A Burns, 2nd Rl Highlanders.

When the First World War was declared, Alexander Burns should have completed his seven years with the Colours and five on the Reserve. It seems possible though that he either extended his service before war was declared or rejoined his old regiment and was allowed to retain his earlier number. Certainly, by 26th August 1914 he was in France albeit with the 1st Battalion Royal Highlanders rather than his old battalion. His medal card indicates his entitlement to the three WW1 medals noted above, as well as the clasp and roses. He was also entitled to a silver war badge (not in this collection) and was discharged from the army as no longer physically fit for war service, on 9th August 1915.