Great War: 17Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers - Military Medal Citation ?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Goatman, Nov 29, 2010.

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  1. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Now I know someone is going to say ' post in the Great War Forum old top? ' - but I have enough stuff on my computer without joining yet another fascinating working-time sink......Erin Dawes would shoot me some more and then possibly eat what was left.

    Title says it all really - Straight question for any switched on WWI researcher - my dad's Uncle was in 17 Bn RWF and is now recorded as such on the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's website - Serjeant,died of wounds rcvd, 1920.

    Dad is adamant that he received the Military Medal...and I know many such claims within families turn out to be , er,mistaken.

    But I'd like to get a copy of his citation, if indeed he received the award.

    Grateful for a bit of authoritative advice on potential sources for this info if possible please.


    Don Cabra
  2. Actual citations for the MM are difficult, if not impossible to find.
    The award of the MM itself can be found by using the search engine in the London Gazzette site This usually throws up a result, but be prepared to be creative with your search criterion, ie name variations etc.
    If nothing found there try a search at the National Archive, this should get you his basic Medal Card, there is often a seperate card for MM and MID etc.
    Best of luck, if you need any other help PM me.
  3. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer


    many thanks - very helpful. I went to the National Archive site and have downloaded a copy of his medal card.

    Unfortunately, it does not give a date of Gazette just 'NO 58'

    But even this is confirmation that my Great Uncle was awarded the Military Medal - and whilst they may have been common as during WW1 , that makes me very proud and I know my dad will be chuffed.

    Will continue search for citation...but appreciate his actual Record of Service may be lost.

    The card indicates 17Bn (S) R.W.Fus - presumably this means it was a 'Service' Battalion - but not sure what that actually means?

    VMTs for yr kind assistance

  4. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    Service Battalions were the unit formed in the "Kitchener" Army IE. not regular,TA, or reserve, but complete units made up only for the period of the War.Made up with a cadre of people from the other battalions of the regiment.

    The RWF had

    Regular 2 Reserve 1 Territorial 4 2nd Line 4 3rd line 4 service11 service reserve 5

    Ref "The British Army Handbook 1914-1918"
  5. Was going to say "Service" means his Battalion was a New Army or "Kitchener's Army" unit, but jim24 beat me to it. :) If you can get in to the National Archives it might be a a good idea to have a trawl through the Battalion War Diary. I don't think it will give you a citation as such but my grandfather's Diary (13th (Service) Bn., KRRC) had a summary tacked on at the end of each month that listed the recipients for awards along with killed wounded, postings nd so on. You might also find his name in the normal entries if he did something especially spectacular.

    Hope this helps, and good luck with it,
  6. Goats, have you tried the Regimental Museum in Caernarfon Castle? They may have something in their archives...
  7. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Diolch yn fawr - next port of call.

    Given that the Gazette only appeared in 1919 I'm assuming it was MM 'for services rendered' rather than any act of outstanding gallantry....but will see what I can find anyway.

    Thanks guys.

  8. Goats,
    If you want to PM me his service details, ie name, rank, number etc, I will have a rummage around in Ancestry etc where I already have accounts. This may well throw up his service or other records.
    There is also a possibility that the war diary for the unit might be available at the National Archive, its VERY unlikely that it will mention the old fella by name, but you can work out what the unit was up to on or around the dates of the award.
    As far as the London gazette is concerned, post 1918 they had a sweep up of the awards made during the busy times of the war, this is called the "Peace Gazette" or similar and contains details of thousands of MM and MID etc from the previous years.
  9. Goatman (&jcm649); the National Archives does hold the 17th (Service) Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers War Diary, catalogue ref is WO95/2561, covering the period December 1915 to April 1919. It'll be in several volumes, latterly on specially printed forms I should think.

    Ref the Diary holding your relatives name, jcm649 is prolly right in thinking that it's unlikely he will figure in the entries; my grandfather didn't. OTOH he wasn't awarded the MM, and his unit War Diary lists 164 men with Reg numbers & full names who were so awarded between May 1917 and November 1918, in the end of month summaries I mentioned. I dunno if these summaries were universal but IIRC they began when the specially printed forms came into use, and I assumed it was part of a general regulation as it appears at the end of every month after May 1917, even when there wasn't much going on.

    all the best,
  10. The point about name variations is a good one. My grandfather was a regular who was awarded the DCM in 1914. He had a very Irish surname but this was badly misspelled in the London Gazette. For the sake of argument, let's say he was Bombardier Patrick O'Dougherty. The citation as per the London Gazette was for "Bombardier O.O.Dohertey". The medal itself was engraved correctly.
  11. The recording of awards for gallantry in Regimental War Diaries was very much an individual unit's preference. As a guideline in some diaries I have seen at Kew, names of officers actions, including those subsequently killed or wounded, are recorded, but rank and file are just listed by numbers of casualties. However, other diaries list names of men awarded gallantry awards and the action for which they were nominated. Its very much a hit and miss affair. They will obviously give you a good indication of the actions in the Battalion took part together with supplementary information leading up to and post commital to battle. My Great Uncle was killed on the Somme in 1916 fighting with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, and the details of that Battalion from embarkation in 1914 until his death in 1916 are extremely detailed. His details, however, are not recorded as he died of wounds in a British Casualty Clearing Station two days after the battle. My Grandfather's Battalion, 1st Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, War Diary, is extremely detailed but again does not record the actions of individual rank and file.
  12. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Once again many thanks folks.

    Ex Mercian - good stuff. I will follow up if I would be good to actually read the Unit War diary if I could get permission ......not sure if the Public Record Office at Kew still holds this sort of material.

    If there is mention of Granpa's older brother, I will pass along to Dad...before he passes along .

    jcm - cf PMs ;-) oh well, what the hell !

  13. If you haven't already tried go on the medal forum; British Medals Forum • Index page
    There are some incredibly knowledgable people on their re medal research, and very helpful. I take it you don't have the medals in your possession then?
  14. No bother Goatman, hope it helps. Ref the bolded bit, Kew do hold stacks of this stuff from both World Wars which is a goldmine of info. As I mentioned above the catalogue ref for your relative's War Diary is WO95/2561, and you don't need permission either. Just take some ID (the National Archives website lists what they accept), they issue you a Readers Ticket and away you go. As jcm649 and Hiighlander Spy have said, you may well not find any ref to your relative in the Diary, but it will give you a pretty clear idea of where he went and what went on at the very least.

    all the best,
  15. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Nah.....suspect is either with my Aunty in Cairdiff or a cousin who lived with Serjeant I.'s two younger sisters before they passed on.

    If I get any more info on his medal from Kew I will take a dekko in medals forum.