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Medals sent out?

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Medals sent out?

Postby ermin79 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:18 pm

Is there any way of telling if medals from WW1 were sent out (or indeed returned to the War Office?)
Jesse Hewis was a Corporal in the Royal Berkshire Regt (21685) during WW1 but no medals ever seem to have been known of within the family. I wondered if the soldier had died in the meantime were medals still sent out to the family? He died of influenza whilst serving in Ireland, not killed in action.
His service record has not survived so I have no details of where exactly he served. I think he was entitled to the War and Victory medals, he is on the Medal Card Index but there is no correspondence on the back of the card which could give me a clue.
Many thanks for any help
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Re: Medals sent out?

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:54 pm

"Other Ranks" (i.e. not officers) got their campaign medals automatically - even if deceased, though there the medals would have been sent to the next of kin as recorded on their papers.

If someone appears in the Medal Index Cards, they (or their NoK) *would* got the medals, unless....
1. They had moved and were not traceable.
2. Ditto for their NoK.
3. They got lost in the post - but they were signed for, so the Army would have known this.

Also consider:
4. The NoK may not have been who the family expected.
5. The recipient might have disposed of them in their grief.

I have no idea if there is a normal place for recording correspondence about returned medals. Either on the MIC or in the soldier's papers, I guess but which? I have an idea that I have seen correspondence about returns on the MIC but I could be wrong and I certainly haven't seen enough to be sure. MICs don't seem big enough for anything other than a quick note. I've certainly seen some correspondence in soldier's papers.

Don't know if anyone else can think of any other possibilities.

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Re: Medals sent out?

Postby ermin79 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:11 pm

Thanks Adrian. His next of kin as named on the effects records on Ancestry, and on the will Jesse made, was his sister. She never married and had no children, so I can only assume that the medals were either returned by her or their father, who was still living, or they were sold by the family later on.

On a tangent slightly, on the other side of my family there was the story (duely copied by a local historian into a book on a history of their village) that the father of a soldier sent back the son's medals in his grief and that they "are now in the Imperial War Museum". However that is not the case according to the museum and as (no disrespect intended) my relative was an average recruit, not awarded the VC or other medal for bravery for example, I did wonder why they were likely to have them in the first place. I suspect in that case it looked nicer in print than the truth.
ermin79
 
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Re: Medals sent out?

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:16 pm

I suspect a lot disappeared into the pawn shop. The British War Medal has a high percentage of silver in it.

Re your tangent - Yes, I don't wish to burst anyone's bubble and absolutely no disrespect is intended, but the fact is that most county and regimental museums have stacks of pairs and trios of WW1 campaign medals and they simply don't want any more.

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Re: Medals sent out?

Postby peter kent » Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:31 pm

I suspect a lot disappeared into the pawn shop


Absolutely! Some people seem to forget that the war was followed by depression. Unemployment was over 10% in 1921.

The current day value of a basic Victory Medal by the way is less than a fiver.
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