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War medal card, help please


leahmerrett

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Hi all, can anyone help me understand all the information on the attached medal card? Is it the card for my great grandfather William James Thomas. From this info can I find his service records if they exist and where in France he fought?

Many thanks in advancepost-88600-0-38393500-1398176313_thumb.j

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Hi all,can anyone help me to decipher he medal card of my great grandfather William James Thomas?

From the card can I find his service records if they still exist and also where in France he fought.

Many thank in advance for help

post-88600-0-03617700-1398177319_thumb.j

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Very sorry ,I gave wrong link.

If you read this one and are still stumped come back with your queries.

Apologies again for wrong link.

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Hi,

As he is an officer his records will prbably be held at the National Archives at Kew.

i am sure that someone will be along to give the NA file reference.

Steve Y

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It's not especially straightforward

William James Thomas was in the Royal Fusiliers the SR prefix probably indicates Special Reserve. When he was posted overseas to France on the 6th October 1915 he held the rank of Serjeant, he was probably a replacement in one of the Battalions who went to France earlier.

At some point he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, one of the notes on the card shows Comm(issioned) 17/3/19 so should be in LG around that date.

He was entitled to the 14-15 Star British War Medal and Victory Medal the cross with dots is a manuscript asterisk that indicates which Regiment should be imprinted on the medal and refers back to the Rolls. Medals were issued to the first Regiment served overseas with and imprinted with the highest rank achieved. There are separate rolls for the 14-15 Star hence the different reference to the BWM and Victory Medal which are on the same Roll and page (you will need these references if you wish to see the Rolls which are not online and are at TNA Kew).

Alongside the two 'war medals' there is a reference to Issue Voucher X/ 2773/then the date 19.11.22/and finally admin references to the Medals Office; similarly there is a reference to the IV for the 14-15 Star however these were issued in bulk to the Records Office which is where the man had to apply for his medals (I'm guessing the RF Records Office was the London Office) the date for this was the 5/3/21. NW/8/11213 which occurs after each entry is, I believe, a unique reference in the Medals Office and refers to the clerk making the entry or officer approving it.

The only other note on the front of the card is the reference Comm auth min 5 which is a reference to the fact his Commission is recorded and authorised on some paperwork, probably long gone at minute 5.

So essentially all the references are to the issue of his medals, which as noted above he had to apply for, and the fact he was commissioned from the ranks.

The reverse of the card which you haven't posted shows the date he applied for his medals 22/9/21 and the address to where his medals were sent and a pencil note dated 18/1/22 which given the date of the issue voucher probably refers to posting.

I'm stuck on 'E.F.' or 'G.F. gretd' (granted?) the date clearly refers to the Star i.e.17.10.21. if it was 'emblems' noting a mention in despatches this is normally on the front but might be worth checking.

You will need to look at the medal rolls at Kew to see which Battalion he served with when he went overseas. At first glance his records have not survived, you will need his 'long number' to search properly have a look at the LLT initially http://www.1914-1918.net/soldiers/officersrecord.html and then TNA http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/looking-for-person/officerbritisharmyafter1913.htm You can download the index for free and then follow the instructions on the link. We always like to be positive but be aware the officers records were weeded before going into store.

He does not appear to have continued in service after demobilisation.

(Incidentally is Ancestry correct when it lists him as killed in an air raid in Round 2)

Ken

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Hi Ken, thank you so much for giving me so much information, I have a lot now to continue my search and hopefully I can find his records, fingers crossed.

Yes, he was killed in WW2 in the Royal Arsenal in woolwich in 1944, he is buried at Plumstead graveyard. A fact I only found out last year by chance, for some reason my nan had never been to visit him or tell anyone.

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This link (here) is to the London Gazette of 25 June 1919 confirming William James Thomas being promoted from Cadet to Temp 2nd Lieutenant in one of the Service Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers from 17 March 1919.

Best of luck with your research.

C

Edited to correct link.

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Thank you woollamc, I shall look right away.

I have attached two photos of William, the first I definitely know is him, the second I'm told is him also, what does everyone think?

Which photo came first, the fuller figure or thin?

post-88600-0-30473400-1398186483_thumb.j

post-88600-0-30693900-1398186492_thumb.j

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The photograph on the left, with the little girl with the white hat definitely shows a soldier wearing an RF cap badge and he has his Serjeant's stripes so I think you can be confident it's him.

The other photograph however, I'm not so sure, the soldier has all the accoutrements of a mounted soldier, lanyard, ammunition bandolier and it appears riding breeches. Compare it to the other one where he is wearing trousers. Although neither cap badge is especially clear they look different. It also looks like the soldier on the right is wearing an Imperial Service badge this was issued to Territorial Force soldiers who had volunteered to go overseas. A Special Reservist would not wear this badge as they were already required to serve overseas.

See http://www.1914-1918.net/tf.htm for an example of the badge.

He also only has one stripe indicating lance corporal or equivalent depending on Regiment/Corps.

If they are the same man, which is doubtful, then logic suggests it predates the other one.

If you can scan and blow up the original of the cap badge we can have a better effort at identifying it but I'd guess ASC or one of the branches of the RA.

btw the LG link provided above doesn't work for me but then the site has recently changed and there are all sorts of problems with it.

Interesting he was serving as an air raid warden in WW2.

Ken

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The first cap badge certainly looks like RF. Could the second be Artillery?

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Topics merged.

Keith

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btw the LG link provided above doesn't work for me but then the site has recently changed and there are all sorts of problems with it.

We can hold the inventors of the new London Gazette website accountable for all sorts of things but not, alas, for this - apologies but I put in the wrong link (which I have since corrected).

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The photos could be two different men. The lady being the mother of them both and shown with each mans child?

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We can hold the inventors of the new London Gazette website accountable for all sorts of things but not, alas, for this - apologies but I put in the wrong link (which I have since corrected).

Well they must have broad soldiers I had a quick look and gave up!

Ken

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I think they are two different men also. The lady is Hannah Thomas. Williams mother for sure and his daughter Ada.

William had 3 brothers, George b.1894, Ernest Edward b.1896 and Robert b.1898 so I will look into if they fit the bill.

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Good luck with that! A quick look in the medal cards shows soldiers of each of those names in various artillery units.

The fact he was in a TF unit may help you, for example there is a Robert in the Honourable Artillery Company - a TF unit, but I fear far too easy!

Ken

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I can only see one possible in WO 338, Robert's one not being listed, as is often the case for WO 374 files:

Thomas, William James; 7th Regiment (Army Order 42 1918); TO/408; 2nd Lt; P/144929.

Unfortunately, if this one is your man, his file is retained by the MoD.

Phil

Edit: Just looked at the Gazette reference posted by Woollamc earlier and I see that AO 42 1918 is relevant.

Edited by Phil Evans
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Why would his file be retained by the MOD?,

So the link supplied by rkirb5 may not be him.

His file would be retained if his service extended on. I am not sure of the cut off date for officers, but I believe it is in the National Archives research guide, which you will find on their website.

WO 374 is appallingly indexed and it is pure guesswork when several officers have the same initials and not all are in WO 338. One of us may be right, or we may both be wrong.

Phil

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