Researching medals and service WWI and WWII

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Potential, Mar 7, 2010.

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  1. I've recently (finally) managed to take pictures of the medals awarded my great-grandfather in WWI and my grandfather in WWII (they have unfortunately been inherited by another member of the family). Any information anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    I know that my great-grandfather was gassed in WWI and medically discharged, although I don't know where he saw active service. His name, rank, regiment and (I'm guessing) army number are engraved into some of his medals and there is also a pin which has a different number on the back of it.


    My grandfather served in Burma and I know that he was on a glider into Burma but apart from that my knowledge of their service is limited. There is no information engraved on the medals. His name was T.C Lewis.

  2. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    WW1: Those are Pip, Squeak and Wilfred aka the 1914/15 Star, the War Medal and the Victory medal. They show he served right through the war. The Silver King's Badge was awarded to people who were invalided so that they could wear it on civilian clothes and people would not push white feathers at them.

    WW2: War Medal, Defence Medal, 1939-45 Star and Burma Star. They show service right through the war including service in Burma. For exact terms of each award, Google. I think the War Medal was earned by 6 weeks service in uniform. WW2 medals were not engraved with the name but had a chit sent with them showing the entitlement.

    NoK can send for copies of service papers but WW1 papers might not be available because a large proportion were lost due to an air raid and subsequent (rather wet) firefighting.
  3. World War 1 medals are; (as per first photo left to right)

    1914/1915 Star

    British War Medal 1914/1920

    Victory Medal 1919
  4. With regards WW1 they are the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory medal. The badge is a Silver War Badge (sometimes known as a silver wound badge) which was issued to men discharged before the end of the war due to injury, wounds or illness. The badge came about due to men not in uniform being given white feathers by women in the streets. The badge marked out that a man had already served his country and been invalided out. The medal index card (which will contain information about the thr=eatre he served in and what battalion he served with) for your Great Grandfather can be found here. A digital copy is available on payment of £3.50. His service record may (I say may as some were destroyed during the blitz) be available on microfilm at the National Archive in Kew. Using the medal index card you should be able to determine the battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. You can then obtain the war diary for the unit(s) he served with which will tell you what the battalion was doing on any particular day. The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers were probably the most written about unit in the war. Their battalion MO edited an account called 'The war the Infantry Knew'(compiled by a few members of the battalion) which covers its activities right throughout the war. Another account was written by one of the 2nd battalion men called Frank Richards and published as 'Old Soldiers Never Die'. Both books are excellent and I would recommend them to you. The battalion also features in 'Goodbye to All That' by Robert Graves and also in works by Siegfried Sassoon.

    Your Grandfathers medals are the 1939-45 star, Burma Star, Defence medal and War Medal. They will be unnamed as issued and therefore research will be more difficult.
  5. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    PS WW1 medal index cards are on the inetrnet. If you get anywhere near Kew you can chase more info on this including (perhaps) correspondence about War Pension etc. Also try RWF Museum ( (NB spelling). If your ggpa was gassed I THINK this only happened on the Western Front but there are better military historians than me on this site by a long chalk who might like to comment on that.
  6. MittMayo is the expert of all things shiny on here. You might want to PM him.
  7. I think the British used gas in the battle of Gaza, Palestine.

    Choo woo is that the 7.05 from cricklwood :D
  8. Just to pip in on the Wound Badge - that is an official issue number on the back - no relation at all to your Great-Grandfather's service number. Basically, so that if a suspected malingerer was found with one, they could track it back and find out where it had come from.
  9. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    Found his medal Card Potential, Pm your email address & I'll send it.
  10. OB out of interest does his MIC indicate what battalion he was?
  11. PM sent
  12. Was going to say where was he from, usually a good indicator of what battalion he ended up in.
  13. BTW the WW2 medals look to be mounted the wrong order.
  14. He lived on the Wirral. Medals were re-ribboned after my granddad died and have not been worn by anyone since - they're pretty much on the bars to keep them all together...although if you know the right order then I'll pass it on! :)
  15. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    You have mail.

    No Battalion number on the record. His New Army number is though.

    Can't find his Army Record or Pensions record.