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Lieutenant H G Hands Royal Engineers MC


dannyhill86
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Hi Pals,

I am looking into the contents of an old ww1 Officer's chest that appeared at a school locally recently and trying to fing out as much about the owner as possible. The chest contains a wealth of ww1 material ranging from his officer's uniform (1st Lt Royal Engineers), complete with MC, 1914/15 star, BWM and VM ribbons, various newspapers (from Serbia, Egypt, France) and a fair few trench maps.

Various pieces of the uniform are marked H G Hands RE. I was wondering if anyone can help tie down a few details about this soldier? I have found an MIC for a Howard G Hands RE (74534) who first served in Egypt in 1915 and appears to have been commissioned in 1917, but the MIC shows no metion of an MC. I have also found a telephone directory entry for the location where the chest turned up showing a Howard G Hands living in the area in the 1930's so believe the name is correct.

Any information about the man, or his service would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully there are a few RE experts out there with a good knowledge of signals officers. From his map case it seems he was a Signals Officer for A Corps.

Many thanks,

Dan

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His MC was a New Year's Honour so unlikely to have a printed Gazette citation. London Gazette #31092, 1st January 1919, Page 26. Link....http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/31092/supplements/26

T./2nd Lt. Howard George Hands, "A" Corps Sig. Co., R.E.

Regards

Steve

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great! thanks steve. Can I ask the difference between a stndard award and a new years honour? Presumably just the actual awaard ceremony? Would it mean that he was physically awarded it by the King? Looking at the date would it be possible to guess as to the date/location of whatever he did that he was given the MC for? His uniform shows 1st LT rank, can anything be inferred from the fact that he was temp 2/Lt at the time?

Any other ideas would be appreciated.

Dan

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The New Year and Birthday Honours awards were usually for sustained good performance, rather than individual acts of gallantry - hence the comment about no citation.

For details of what the Signal Service got up to (though focussed on the Western Front) see the book mentioned in http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=117874

Looks like he might have a service record in WO 339/36082

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  • 2 months later...

I knew Howard from the early 1960's being an infrequent visitor to the Hands Trailer factory, the main division of Hands (Letchworth) Ltd, before and after it's sale to Hawker-Siddeley; but I knew his wife Doris (Dot) better.

(There is a brief mention of his business here http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Letchworth)

He was a cadet engineer for the better part of the 1914-1918 War and was, according to her, promoted first to Corporal and thence t/2nd Lt and was indeed decorated by George V. She never mentioned any subsequent promotion from t/2nd Lt. The uniform she showed me after his death overseas in 1964 was still of that rank, with REME shoulder flashes.

The photographs she showed me of his time in conflict had him either on horseback or on a motorcycle in both Egypt and, later, on the Western Front.

If it's of any interest, I understand that his grandchildren Jenny and George still live in or around Letchworth and therefore might be interested in your find from both an historical and a personal perspective.

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Hi s-evans,

Thanks very much for your interesting response. I have found Howard's Obituary at the local museum and was very interested to hear your details of his life. The chest I speak of holds various bits and pieces relating to his WW1 and post war service. Interestingly, the uniform is that of a 1st Lt (2 pips) and ribbon bars show MC, 1914/15 star, BWM, VM. The tunic buttons indicate RE, although no shoulder flash. It was clearly donated to a school in Letchworth some time ago, possibly by Howard's children. My particular interest is that I took it to work to be authenticated (a military museum), who confirmed it was all authentic and in good condition.

I would be very interested to speak to Jenny or George if you have contact details for either of them. My contact e-mail is dannyhill86@gmail.com

I hope you hear from you soon, apologies for the late reply.

Dan

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