WW1 medals.....

Bit of a long shot, but my Dad lost my Great Grandfathers WW1 medals, i am going to buy some replacements from somewhere(?) and get them mounted, as they are the sort of thing i would like to pass down when i have kids (Curse the day) along with his papers. I was hoping someone could tell me what medals they got for standard service? There were 3 medals there that is all I know....

Bloody long shot i know....


Everyone who served (whether they survived to the end or not) got the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Those who fought in 1914 or 1915 (before conscription came along - i.e. the Volunteers or those already serving) got the 1914/15 Star.

I know this because I had two rellies die in WW1 - one in 1916 on the Somme and one in 1918 in Salonica, whose medal roll entries I have from the Public Record Office (not the medals sadly :( ) and these were the medals they were listed as having.

I assume we are talking someone who served in the British Army here? Not sure if the above applies to other services as outside my experience.

I'm a bit of a spotter on tracing WW1 rellies details if you want any further help.... :D

Thanks guys.

scaryspice you were spot on, the third was a star come to think of it. Any help would be welcome, i think he died in the war but i am not sure.

Try putting his name into the database on this site and you'll find out if he died or not:


Copies of WW1 service records are more difficult. About 60% were destroyed by fire in the blitz of WW2 (there's irony for you) and to find if his survived you need to go to the PRO in London (or pay a researcher to do it for you) and look in the indexes. The surviving records have all sorts of great stuff like original attestation docs and so on.

There is also a CD-ROM "Soldiers died in the Great War" which gives limited info like date and place of enlistment, regiment served in ,etc. I don't have a copy but I have a mate who does. If it turns out your GF did die in action and you want to PM me the details I'll ask him to look for you.

To get an accurate record of service I would suggest going to the Public Record Office. If you grandfather's records were not destoyed in the blitz, then it is a straighforward (but time consuming) matter of scrolling through the microfiche rolls to find his medal card.

For a government agency the Public Record Office is really well run and very helpful; it will even give you a short tutorial on how to use its services. It has a restaurant and bookshop which (given the resurgent interest in WW1) has many books on the various campaigns. Well worth a visit; if you can find your grandfather's details they are easily printed off; you can then stick them on the back of the frame.

Standard medals were 1914/15 Star (red, white & blue ribbon). If he served before November 1914 he would also have received a bar to it (an Old Contemptible).

The War Medal (blue, black, white, orange, white, black & blue ribbon)
The Victory Medal gold in colour with a winged angel (the design on the reverse differs depending on the theatre where the recipient finished his service) (purple, green, yellow, orange, red, orange, yellow, green & purple ribbon).
Those who fought in 1914 or 1915 (before conscription came along - i.e. the Volunteers or those already serving) got the 1914/15 Star.
There were actually two medals the 1914 star who's qualification dates were between 5th August 1914 and Midnight on 22nd/23rd November 1914. A bar was also awarded to those that had been under fire during the qualifying period, it appears to have only been issued to the army.

The 1914/1915 Star was awarded to all members of the forces not eligable for the 1914 star which included the Royal Navy. The qualifying dates for the 1914/15 star are 5th August 1914 to 31st December 1915.
Both medals are essentially the same to look at other than the fact the date's are different on the scroll in the centre of the medal.

There are then two further campaign medals the British War Medal which was issued to everybody, with qualifying dates 1914-1920.
And Finally the Victory Medal which was issued to commemorate the end of the war. Qualifying dates 5th August 1914 to 11th November 1918.

If you are interested I have a copy of the Soldiers That Died CD which List's slightly different information the CWGC.

Right now time to take off my anorak and put my big book of trains away :D
Blackcat wrote:
I have a copy of the Soldiers That Died CD
Blimey Blackcat you're an even bigger spotter than I am!

Percy wrote:
If you grandfather's records were not destoyed in the blitz, then it is a straighforward (but time consuming) matter of scrolling through the microfiche rolls to find his medal card.
You can get the medal card even if the personal records were destroyed. My G/Uncle's records didn't survive, but I still have a copy of the medal rolls for his regiment (KRRC), which give his name, service number, date of death and list the battalions he served in, as well as details of the medals he was entitled to. You can also get the war diaries for the relevant unit which make interesting (if somewhat harrowing) reading. The incident in which my great uncle died is described thus "heavy shelling, many casualties" - needless to say he was only (!) a Rifleman - officers get mentioned by name.

(Just to prove what a spotter I really am!)
Thanks alot for all the info! He was either



Not sure, if i could find out there ages and who the medal was given to in there absents, as it was given to his sister (as his parents died when they were very young) and he was only between 16-19 i would guess.

I think it is more likely to be C H Coffin, but cannot be sure, which sounds abit cold. Bloody hell, that name still makes me laugh!
Soldiers That Died Lists the following

Cecil Harvey
2nd Bn Queens (Royal West Surreys)
Born: Woking, Surrey
Enlisted: London
Residence: Woking, Surrey
(This chap lived not a million miles from me!)

At the time of this guy's death the Bn were part of 22nd Brigade 7th Division.

Cecil James
21st (County of London) Bn (1st Surrey Rifles)
Born: Southampton
Enlisted: Winchester
Residence: Southampton

Additionally I can tell you that 21st bn (1st Surrey Rifles) were one of the Bn's of the TA London Regiment. The Bn were originally based in Flodden Road, Camberwell.

It's alway's worthwhile checking out the battalion diary's I had no luck finding my grandfathers detail's , but by sheer luck found a mention (quite a lengthy one infact) in a battalion war diary, it's not just officer's that get mentioned you do get O/R's as well (it really depends on the officer who's filling in the report)

Where's my flask of milky tea gone ?. :D

Only way you'll know for sure which one is yours is to trace back your family tree - start with your father or mother (whose ever side it is?) birth certificate and work back until you get to your grandfather's birth cert - this SHOULD have the full name of your Cecil Coffin (his father) on it, then you'll know which one he is. If it doesn't have his full name then you need to go back one step further to Cecil's marriage cert.

Easy to do yourself but does cost a few quid for the certificates - depends how much you want to know!

Other source - are there any photos or old postcards (often had posed photos taken of the men in uniform before they went away) anywhere? This might show the cap badge he was wearing.

I want to know a lot, but i dont speak to my Farther and my Grandad is long gone. Bit of a bugger.....

The birth certificate idea should work, so i better get me arrse moving and doing some research!

Thanks alot
Also Maddog if you know the general area that your relatives come from you can do a check on the 1895 census section of the PRO website which list's all the members of the household's all over the uk, hence if he had any brothers or sisters and you know there names you can by a process of elmination work out which is the right one.
Becareful though there are some errors with some of the entries of the orginal census e.g names and ages being mixed up between household members.
I found him.

Cecil Harvey
2nd Bn Queens (Royal West Surreys)
Born: Woking, Surrey
Enlisted: London
Residence: Woking, Surrey

That is him and no mistake.

Thanks a lot guys, i have my foot in the door now.
Now if this isnt an indication of the help and camaradia(sp) that can be aquired on this site nothing is , well done all of you for helping maddog in his search.
Maddog said

I think i should get a black medal for pointing this out... no?
Only if Blackcat and me get spotters medals as well.

War diaries are at the Public Record Office at Kew. They have an on-line searchable database of their holdings (takes a bit of getting used to) at www.pro.gov.uk

I got a researcher to find the diaries and copy the pages I wanted as I can;t easily get to London during PRO opening hours. As your man died very early on, you wouldn't need that much copied. If you have the time/opportunity then go up there and do it yourself.

The 1901 census only has one Cecil Coffin born in Woking. He's ten years old and living in Lambeth. You have to pay to see the actual entry so I'll leave that to you! You can use a credit card to pay, but note that there's a minimum charge so you might as well look up all the Coffins you can find while you're about it!

It's really well worth the trip to the PRO, but remember to take two forms of ID and take the tour they do.
Also it would appear to me that he was killed during the first battle of ypres. Check out this link to a first class WW1 site has loads of info

Also the Queen's (Royal West Surrey's) museum was at clandon park house, and was run on a donation basis, I'll try and find out if it's still there or if they moved. They used to hold nominal rolls for many of the surrey regiment's that fought during the 14-18. From the number and the fact that the battalion was in south africa when war was declared I would have said that your man was a regular than a territorial or a reservist,(I maybe wrong though).

With regard to an arrse gong would it have a notepad with a crossed biro and thermos flask and would the ribbon be made from the finest pac-a-mac?. :lol:

Similar threads

Latest Threads