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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

MM Award

A Powell

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I've attempted to research my Great, Great Uncles war time service and with help from this forum and others I've discovered that he was awarded the MM sometime in April 1918. I've never been able to find out why he was awarded the MM and the South Staffordshire Regiment Museum could also only confirm the details I'd kindly received from this forum. I haven't looked any further but I've seen a book entitled In "Honours and Awards The South Staffodshire Regiment 1914-1918" by J.C.J. Elson which listed the action a soldier was awarded his MM. I'm wondering does anyone have this book and would they very kindly check if my relative is listed:

Zachariah Tolley

Pte 38443

South Staffordshire Regiment

4th Battalion

The Museum was very helpful and stated that 10 men from the 4th Battalion of the South Staffs were all awarded the MM on the same day and I know Zachariah was also wounded around April 1918. I've just recently been contacted by Zachariahs' family who have passed on photos' etc and given me a real insight into the man behind the photos'.

Any help would be fantastic and much appriciated.



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38443 Z Tolley appears in the list of MM awards in the 25th Division history for the period from 21st to 29th March 1918 (pages 181 to 187, his entry is on page 187)

4th South Staffords awarded the M.M. in that period per the 25th Division history:

48986 Pte A Adams

36960 Pte R Birch

38968 Pte H Drabble

31963 Pte E Fearnley

203588 Pte H Foster

39330 Pte I L Fox

30667 Cpl S Gibbons

28513 Sgt F J Hare

40123 Pte S Hill

26153 Pte G Hoare

38443 Pte Z Tolley

35826 Cpl A Tolley

36695 Cpl T W Vaughan

Link to Gazette of 27-6-1918:


Also awarded to the 4th South Staffords:


2nd Lt H L Bell

Capt L G Carr

Capt (acting Major) C E W Charrington

Capt F C Nicholls (RAMC attached to 4th South Staffords)

Capt R D O Oldham


20153 CSM S Clowsley

12005 Sgt A Titley


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(Sorry the Forum editor is playing up so this posting is a mess)<br /><br />Adrian,  &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;I cannot directly help, but would point out that you need to recognise possibly at least four different dates:&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;1) The date of the action when he earned the MM.  This may be difficult to identify, but if you can identify it, the battalion war diary may give more details (but probably not names).&lt;br /&gt;2) The date it was announced (in the London Gazette) that he had been awarded the MM.  Note that awards are usually published in &amp;quot;supplements&amp;quot; to a Gazette of a particular date.  Confusingly the supplements are published on dates later than the main issue - and carry announcements dated prior to publication!&lt;br /&gt;3) Possibly a date when he received the ribbon - possibly &amp;quot;in the field&amp;quot; from a senior officer - my &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.faulder.org.uk/genealogy/?p=26#more-26&quot;&gt;Great Aunt&lt;/a&gt; received hers from General Sir Herbert Plumer (another member of the forum pointed me to a film record of this held at the IWM)&lt;br /&gt;4) Possibly a date when he received the actual medal - I am not sure if MMs may have been posted out; I know some were awarded in person - my Great Aunt received hers from the King in the Quadrangle of Buckingham Palace (but awards to women, being much rarer may have lead to such award ceremonies - certainly too many were awarded in total for the King to hand them all over).&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;HTH&lt;br /&gt;David

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Looking at your other topics, I can confirm that he received his MM whilst wearing his "hospital blues" uniform.

Link to the photo in the previous topic:


This from the 25th Division history....

post-6536-098630100 1293970976.jpg

The only fly in the ointment being that there were two Tolleys awarded the MM with the battalion in this period!!! Forunately it seems that "A Tolley" was a Corporal so it seems likely that the Private Tolley above is Zachariah.


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Many thanks guys for the information it's just fantastic how much you help others.

I will pass this information onto Zachs' family who will be thrilled.

Sadly I never had chance to meet Zach who died in 1975 but his name will never be forgotten.

All the best for the New Year.


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I would suggest looking into the War Diary for the 4th Battalion in case he is mentioned in it. I have had a number of South Staffords MMs in the past and the WDs can often shed light as to why the MM was awarded. I do have an index to the War Diaries of all South Staffords Battalions that saw active service between 1914 and 1918. However, at the time of writing this post I do not have it to hand. When I get chance I will have a look for you.


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I've purchased the war diaries from the National Archive and I'm gripped reading them (real piece of history).

A relative of Zach sent me a copy of a letter Zach received from his Officer while recovering in hospital and given the information you kindly found out for me I think the pieces are starting to come together.

Dear Tolley,

Pleased to receive your letter, informs that you are doing quite well. I happen to be on a course at present and that is the reason i have not received your letter sooner. I am afraid that poor Adams was taken prisoner when we had to leave the trenches just before you were hit. I never saw him wounded. One of the fellows here tells me that he was reported prisoner of war . I hope he is alright. You might want to find me his home address. You will perhaps be pleased to know that i am now a Captain and have managed to get a Military Cross. I am enclosing £1 for a few cigarettes. Dont be in a hurry to come back and at present the Battn is not being made up just yet.

very best wishes


I hope you wont need my home address all th same it is -

4 Alexandra Rd

Burton on Trent


In the letter it mentions a fellow called Adams and from the information you gave I see a Pt Adams also received the MM from Zach's Battalion so maybe it was the same fellow.

In the war diaries for the 24th March entry it mentions digging into trenches but later on that same day they were forced to leave them due to heavy enemy action. In the letter it mentions having to leave the trenches and poor Adams was wounded and was left behind but It seems Zach was also wounded around the same time but managed to get out.

Amazing stuff.



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