WW1 Medal mystery?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Highflight, Jun 26, 2010.

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  1. Can anyone help me?.

    I have a small black and white photo of my grandfather in his Royal Flying Corps uniform, with a group of other RFC men (7 in total). There are 2 sergeants, 1 corporal and 4 privates, one of which is my grandfather. The photo is made as a postcard.

    My question is; my grandfather is the only one wearing a medal ribbon on his left breast. The photo is poor, so nothing can be read from it as to identify what it is. All I can tell is that it is light coloured in the middle with dark edges.

    Why is my grandfather and no-one else wearing a medal ribbon and what could it be? He ended the war as a corporal and was an 'air mechanic' by trade.

    I have no idea when he joined, but I very much doubt he volunteered and he was probably called up (1916?).

    I have tried the medal card records and RAF Records all with no luck.

    Can anyone deduce why he has it??

  2. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Sounds like a War Medal but why the others do not have theirs I can't think. The Medal Index is great but with five million cards in it I wouldn't be too surprised if the odd one went missing, or failed to get microfilmed or scanned.
  3. oldbaldy

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

    Medal cards can have transposition errors as well. Took me ages to find my grandfather because of that. So make sure when searching you take that into account.
  4. The medal is probablly a 1914/15 star awarded to those who were serving at the time (The Old Contemptables) However if it is he volunteered before the conscription act of 1916. Many of those in the RFC were former Infantry who were invalided out of front line service.
  5. Thank you for all your replies to my problem. I have searched the medal card online and cannot find even a close match, which may possibly be him. None show RFC service with his surname.

    As I said, I am pretty sure he did not join up as a volunteer, which makes him post 1916. Even if he was a volunteer, why is he the only one with medal ribbon amongst all seven of them, some of which are SNCO's and a JNCO?. Why is there only the one ribbon?

    It is a mystery and now that he and my father (WW2) are gone, I kick myself for not taking more of an interest when they were alive.

    Looks like it will remain an annoying mystery.
  6. This might be a foolish question, but surely your grandfather's WW I medals are still extant and are still with the family? :? If so, certainly it would be simple to figure out which one was being worn on his uniform in the old picture.

    His likely medal entitlement for WW I service would have been the 1914 Star (or 1914-15 Star), British War Medal, and Victory Medal. If he entered the service in 1916 or later then he wouldn't have been given the Star but just the BWM and the Victory.
  7. PM me the details I will see if I can find him

    Full name DOB and if you have his regimental number, also place of enlistment, birth, cheer P
  8. The first issue was the 1914/15 or ´Mons Star´ but the others who arrived later got a similiar star,the other 2 medals were awarded later, the War Medal and the Victory Medal so most soldiers would have only worn the `Star` ribbon.Not all the Army were sent straight to France the other soldiers could have been recently arrived from Blighty,India or from most corners of the World.More rank doesn´t automatically mean more time in theater!

    Llech,thanks for the pic!
  9. Sorry you are wrong the so called "mons star" was the 1914 star, most of which went to the pre-war army and had the clasp August to November, they served on the retreat from Mons, these troops were called the "old contemptables" the 1914-15 star was issued to those who entered france in 1915. 1914 star and bar ribbon was issued to troops in 1918.
  10. _Chimurenga_

    _Chimurenga_ LE Gallery Guru

    Did your grandfather have any prior service ?

    The only other medal with a light middle and dark edging would be the Kings South Africa Medal of 1902.
  11. try and put the phot up see if us spoters can properly ID it
  12. Could be but I´ve got my grandad´s medals and the Star is missing only the uniform ribbon remains,he didn´t get the Mons Star and if he got the medals together the later Star should still be with them?Still,even if the others around him had more rank that still didn´t mean that they´d automatically have more medals or served longer in theater?Would the 1915 ribbon have been issued and worn before the soldiers got their medals in 1918 remembering that most wouldn´t have lived to collect them anyway?

    A piccy would help!!
  13. If he transferred into the RFC/RAF, wouldn't his medal records have been maintained by the RAF. In other words, are you looking in the wrong place?
  14. Thank you all for your replies. A few points in answer to your replies:-

    I have searched RAF records thru' Innsworth (as it was then). No trace.
    A substantial number of records were destroyed in the blitz in WW2, so his may have been amongst them. It is also likely that, as he was not an officer, record keeping was somewhat sparce at times.

    He had no prior military service before WW1, so he either volunteered or was called up.

    I have no idea where his medals are. He died some time ago and I don't remember my father having them. So where they went is a mystery.

    I do seem to remember that he said that he was in the army before the RFC, but I am talking about a conversation over 30 years ago. Unfortunately, I have left this rather late to try and solve this problem. My fathers WW2 medals were stolen, but I do have copies of his, so it is a question of either 2 or 3 copies of my grandfathers medals, to make a family set from WW1 and WW2.

    I have tried scanning the photo, but it is very poor. It would be of no use. Even under a magnifying glass it is hard to make out what the ribbon is, only that he has it on his chest, that the others do not have.

    I quite understand now, how the others in the photo may not have the '1914' or '1914/15 Star', even if they are SNCO's, as they may, for example, been regulars transferred into the RFC and not served in theatre at that time.

    The bottom line seems to be that it could be be the 1914/15 Star. I cannot see how it could be anything else. However, that is not proof and I would hate to make a set up, with a medal he was not entitled to. Conversely, I would not want to do him a disservice by not including it.
    Not a huge problem, but nevertheless an important one for our family history.
  15. Not wanting to be a pedant but the 1914 star didn't always have the clasp. The "5th Aug - 22nd Nov 1914" clasp was awarded to those that served under fire.

    I concur with previous posters that in all probability it is a 1914/1914-15 Star ribbon.

    As to the comment regarding the Kings South Africa Medal - it would always have a Queens South Africa Medal with it so unlikely.