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Forfeit of medals


jeremym
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I have just seen a copy of a letter issued to a demobilised soldier postwar (1921) by an Infantry Records Office which reads '...in consequence of your conviction by F.G.C.M on...you forfeit all medals. Amended instructions are however being issued and should they be favourable to your case, you will be duly notiified.'

What were the amended instructions and when were they issued? Were they general in character, for example affecting certain categories of Court Martial convictions? Could soldiers who had forfeited their medals apply to be reinstated?

jeremym

(Jeremy Mitchell)

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I have just seen a copy of a letter issued to a demobilised soldier postwar (1921) by an Infantry Records Office which reads '...in consequence of your conviction by F.G.C.M on...you forfeit all medals. Amended instructions are however being issued and should they be favourable to your case, you will be duly notiified.'

What were the amended instructions and when were they issued? Were they general in character, for example affecting certain categories of Court Martial convictions? Could soldiers who had forfeited their medals apply to be reinstated?

jeremym

(Jeremy Mitchell)

Jeremy

There were cases where soldiers were imprisoned for a range of offences (such as desertion) where they forfeited their medals, however if they were released from prison, returned to active service (in the trenches) and thereafter served well (or at least normally) the medals were reinstated. I don't think a simple application by the soldier could get the medals re-instated as a general rule.

Gunner Bailey

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Jeremy

There were cases where soldiers were imprisoned for a range of offences (such as desertion) where they forfeited their medals, however if they were released from prison, returned to active service (in the trenches) and thereafter served well (or at least normally) the medals were reinstated. I don't think a simple application by the soldier could get the medals re-instated as a general rule.

Gunner Bailey

A sad example of this was for 301 Pte John Ward, 2nd Manchester's he had his DCM, MM and 1914 Star trio forfeited, he did a stint in the glass house then they commuted his sentence to send him to Iraq and never awarded him the GSM either. He was found guilty by Field C M of two counts of disobedience that we know of from his CM papers. Another soldier in the same battalion had the same medals forfeited but wrote to the King who re-instated his DCM and MM his name was Curran. Myself and his family wrote to various M.P.'s, the MoD, Secretary for Defence and finally the Queen but they would not sanction the award of the GSM with bar Iraq...............We did not have all the facts I am sure but a soldier that went right through the war it seemed pretty harsh. His family thought that the acts of miss-conduct related to orders to clear a battlefield of debris and body parts near the end of the war.

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Hello Jeremy,

I will try to keep this short, so will have to leave out some details. The amended regulations probably referred to are A.C.I (Army Council Instructions) 75 of 1921. These allowed any man who had forfeited his medals to apply for their re-instatement. The man himself had to apply and many men did not bother. In almost all cases the medals were re-instated. Most cases of desertion for instance, got their medals back. I have not yet checked to see if men sentenced to death got their medals returned but I would assume not.

I will give you a couple of examples of Medal Index Cards you can look at on Ancestry. Pte. William Boulton 8822 Worcestershire Regiment, had his medals forfeited for desertion. They were originally authorised on L/2/3 page 6 (This is the usual Roll number for almost all 2nd Bn. 1914 Stars) . As you will see from his MIC he lost them. They were re-instated in February 1921 on L/2/132 page 141 (These are the supplementary pages of the 1914 Star Roll). Similarly Pte. George Smith 9367, on his MIC it says "Forfeited for desertion". They were returned on L/2/132 page 142. I have seen many such cases of the re-instatement of medals but no point in going on.

Regards Mike Jones

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I have also seen notes on MICs showing the medals being reinstated. So much depended upon the man himself making the application and, as with the clasp for the 1914 Star, they just did not bother.

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Many thanks for all this information, especially about ACI 75 of 1921. The example I gave was of a soldier who had been convicted of steaing coal, which seems to have been treated as a very serious offence. I don't know whether he ever applied for his medals back after the issue of ACI 75.

jeremym

(Jeremy Mitchell)

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