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Remembered Today:

A pupil brought this medal into class today...


Clarissabell
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Amyrose brought this medal into class today, and wanted to know about its colourful ribbon. :-) She knew nothing about it or its original owner. After picking myself up off the floor, I told her that I knew some people who would be able to unravel its story for her. It was quite difficult to read the lettering on the edge, but I think that it reads PTE C Alexander MGC 89369. Her dad's first name, it turns out, is Alexander.

Can anyone shed a light on this soldier and his war? We have an interested teenager here - I wonder if we can unravel a story that will hold her interest? No pressure!

Thanks in advance for any information you can dig-up.

Regards, Michelle

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Clarissa

I'm sure we can help. However as point of interest you have there a British War Medal with a Victory Medal Riband,

Dave

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Thanks Dave - It was the ribbon that attracted her attention. She wanted to know what the colours meant. I will Google that.

Cheers,

Michelle

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Assuming that the other side of the medal has George V's head, the medal is a British War Medal. The ribbon is the ribbon of the Victory Medal.

This link explains the WW1 campaign medals:

http://www.1914-1918.net/soldiers/themedals.html

Are you sure it is not 98369? There is a MIC for Pte Charles Alexander, 98369 Machine Gun Corps.

R.

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Are you sure it is not 98369? There is a MIC for Pte Charles Alexander, 98369 Machine Gun Corps.

Yes - My mistake - it is 98369! And yes - George V's head's head is on the other side.

Thanks R.

M.

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Pte Charles Alexander, 98369 Machine Gun Corps actually gained temporary promotion to Corporal.

He was awarded British War Medal and Victory Medal (and some how since then the ribbons have got mixed up)

No sign of a Silver War Badge so was not wounded and survived the war (if I remember correctly about 36% of the MGC were either killed or wounded, so he did well to be unscathed).

He left the Army 14 Oct 1919.

Evan

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The Medal Index Card for Private Charles Alexander 98369 M.G.C. shows his entitlement to the British war Medal and the Victory Medal. His service record appears not to have survived. As he had no entitlement to 1914/1915 Star he did not enter a theatre of war before 1916.

Dave Swarbrick

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Can't find his service papers. I think the MGC papers were one of the most affected by the WW2 bombing unfortunately.

I've looked at casualties with numbers around his but no pattern has become clear other than he was possibly overseas by Autumn 1917.

KINZETT ARTHUR WALTER A W 24 21/12/1917 Private Machine Gun Corps 188th Bn. France '98398' WIMEREUX COMMUNAL CEMETERY VIII. B. 8A. SON OF EDWARD AND ELLEN ELIZABETH KINZETT, OF WOLVERTON, WARWICKSHIRE. MARTIN HORACE GEORGE H G 21 9/8/1918 Lance Corporal Machine Gun Corps 12th Bty. France '98380' PERNOIS BRITISH CEMETERY, HALLOY-LES-PERNOIS III. E. 1. SON OF WILLIAM AUGUSTINE AND SARAH ELIZABETH MARTIN. CLEVELAND WILLIAM ALEXANDER W A 20 7/11/1917 Private Machine Gun Corps 246th Coy. France '98425' WIMEREUX COMMUNAL CEMETERY VI. G. 8A.

SON OF WILLIAM AND MARY CLEVELAND, OF LONDON.

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The actual Medal Roll does not give any other previous units, so he probably only served in the Machine Gun Corps overseas, but might have been in something else in the UK before the MGC

Since he did not receive a 1914-15 Star he did not go overseas before the end of 1915.

He was a Temporary Corporal.

He was demobilised (disembodied to Z Reserve) on 14 October 1919.

There is no "theatre of war" code on either the Medal Roll or the MIC.

Can anyone make anything of the serial number?

R.

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His regimental number indicates that he joined the MGC in early April 1917 (around the 10th). He probably went on active service overseas around July/August 1917.

He would not have joined the MGC directly but would have trained with another infantry regiment in the UK. Basic information such as age might help put more flesh on the bones.

As a member of the MGC he would have been part of a crew or team who operated a Vickers Machine Gun http://www.vickersmachinegun.org.uk

While the MGC served in all theatres at that stage of the war it is most likely he joined the BEF in F & F. He would have trained at Grantham and from there been posted to the Base Depot at Camiers in France, from there he would be sent where he was needed.

Ken

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His regimental number indicates that he joined the MGC in early April 1917 (around the 10th). He probably went on active service overseas around July/August 1917.

He would not have joined the MGC directly but would have trained with another infantry regiment in the UK. Basic information such as age might help put more flesh on the bones.

As a member of the MGC he would have been part of a crew or team who operated a Vickers Machine Gun http://www.vickersmachinegun.org.uk

While the MGC served in all theatres at that stage of the war it is most likely he joined the BEF in F & F. He would have trained at Grantham and from there been posted to the Base Depot at Camiers in France, from there he would be sent where he was needed.

Ken

I knew there would be someone who would be able to suggest a date of joining the MCG!

R..

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98365 William Henry Charlton from Northamptonshire WO363 papers are badly burned- enlisted 01/01/16 into the Queens, mobilized 20/02/1917 into 3rd Queens. He's overseas with the MGC 04/08/1917 at the Base Depot having been posted to MGC 10/04/1917.

98366 Peter Arthur Howard from Surrey WO363- 235th MGC Coy. enlisted into K.R.R.C. He's in the MGC Service Bn 12/04/1917. Discharged 23/09/1917 having not gone overseas.

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Could the relatively late demobilisation date be because he was a relatively late arrival? (I know there were many later.)

R.

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Thank you one and all! It is staggering how much information you can get from such a small amount of information ... and if you know who to ask! I will pass it on to her and get her asking some questions at home about her family tree. If I find anything useful, I will pass it on. Maybe she will find a story to add to our school WWI website: www.hsdwarstories.com

Thanks again -

Michelle.

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No sign of a Silver War Badge so was not wounded and survived the war (if I remember correctly about 36% of the MGC were either killed or wounded, so he did well to be unscathed).

He left the Army 14 Oct 1919.

Evan

There may be some confusion here with the US Purple Heart, or possibly the British & Commonwealth forces' Wound Stripe?.

The Silver War Badge was NOT a 'wound badge'. It was issued when a man was honourably discharged under various circumstances covered by Kings Regulations 392, only one of which was wounds. It was designed to show a man in civvies was not a shirker, but had in fact done his bit.

Also NOT having a SWB does not mean a soldier went through the war 'unscathed'. My grandfather went through the full duration 1914-1919 and received three serious Blighty wounds before he was demobbed. He did not receive a SWB.

Here's the full list of discharge reasons that merited award of a SWB from the Mother Site (here: http://www.1914-1918.net/soldiers/swbrecords.html) ...

  • (i) References on enlistment being unsatisfactory.
  • (ii) Having been irregularly enlisted.
  • (iii) Not likely to become an efficient soldier (with subclauses as below)
    • (a) Recruit rejected both by Medical Officer and Approving Officer
    • ( b ) Recruit passed by Medical Officer, but rejected by a Recruiting Officer stationed away from the headquarters of the recruiting area, or by Approving Officer
    • ( c ) Recruit within three months of enlistment considered unfit for service
    • (cc) Recruits with more than three months service considered unfit for further military service
    • (d) Recruit who after having undergone a course of physical training is recommended by an examining board to be discharged, or in the case of a mounted corps is unable to ride
    • (e) Soldier of local battalion abroad considered unlikely to become efficient
    • (f) Boy who, on reaching 18 years of age, is considered to be physically unfit for the ranks
  • (iv) Having been claimed as an apprentice.
  • (v) Having claimed it on payment of £10 within three months of his attestation.
  • (vi) Having made a mis-statement as to age on enlistment (with subclauses as below)
    • (a) Soldier under 17 years of age at date of application for discharge
    • ( b ) Soldier between 17 and 18 years of age at date of application for discharge
  • (vii) Having been claimed for wife desertion (with subclauses as below)
    • (a) By the parish authorities
    • ( b ) By the wife
  • (viii) Having made a false answer on attestation.
  • (ix) Unfitted for the duties of the corps.
  • (x) Having been convicted by the civil power of_____, or of an offence committed before enlistment.
  • (xi) For misconduct.
  • (xii) Having been sentenced to penal servitude.
  • (xiii) Having been sentenced to be discharged with ignominy.
  • (xiv) At his own request, on payment of _____ under Article 1130 (i), Pay Warrant.
  • (xv) Free, after ____ years’ service under Article 1130 (ii), Pay Warrant (with subclauses as below)
    • (xva) Free under Article 1130 (i), Pay Warrant
    • (xv b ) Free to take up civil employment which cannot be held open
  • (xvi) No longer physically fit for war service.
    • (xvia) Surplus to military requirements (having suffered impairment since entry into the service).
  • (xvii) -
  • (xviii) At his own request after 18 years service (with a view to pension under the Pay Warrant).
  • (xix) For the benefit of the the public service after 18 years’ service (with a view to pension under the Pay Warrant).
  • (xx) Inefficiency after 18 years’ service (with a view to pension under the Pay Warrant).
  • (xxi) The termination of his ____ period of engagement.
  • (xxii) With less than 21 years’ service towards engagement, but with 21 or more years’ service towards pension.
  • (xxiii) Having claimed discharge after three months’ notice.
  • (xxiv) Having reached the age for discharge.
  • (xxv) His services being no longer required.
  • (xxva) Surplus to military requirements (Not having suffered impairment since entry into the service).
  • (xxvi) At his own request after 21 (or more) years’ service (with a view to pension under the Pay Warrant).
  • (xxvii) After 21 (or more) years’ qualifying service for pension, and with 5 (or more) years’ service as warrant officer (with a view to pension under the Pay Warrant).
  • (xxviii) On demobilization
The most commonly seen reference is to KR392xvi, for men who were discharged on medical grounds having been wounded or taken seriously ill.

Mark

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There may be some confusion here with the US Purple Heart, or possibly the British & Commonwealth forces' Wound Stripe?.

The Silver War Badge was NOT a 'wound badge'. It was issued when a man was honourably discharged under various circumstances covered by Kings Regulations 392, only one of which was wounds. It was designed to show a man in civvies was not a shirker, but had in fact done his bit.

Also NOT having a SWB does not mean a soldier went through the war 'unscathed'. My grandfather went through the full duration 1914-1919 and received three serious Blighty wounds before he was demobbed. He did not receive a SWB.

Here's the full list of discharge reasons that merited award of a SWB from the Mother Site (here: http://www.1914-1918.net/soldiers/swbrecords.html) ...

Mark

No confusion. Simply wrong :( Thanks for correction and link.

All the cases I had seen, admittedly not a massive number, were due to KR392xvi where men were discharged on medical grounds having been wounded (confirmed from other sources) apart from one who was just physically unfit (never went abroad). I am also sure that in the past I had seen it called the Silver Wound Badge, which as link to LLT says is incorrect, which probably also accounts for my error.

Evan

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Hi, in fact a single page has survived from his service record, though frustratingly it's just a list of all the NCOs and officers who his papers (probably discharge documents) had been sent to in 1918 and 1919. It's also written in pencil and very hard to read, and probably only survived because it was written on the back of another soldier's record.

It appears in the Findmypast index as 'C. Allexandra' which I've corrected, though his name is written on the form as 'C. Alexandra'. However the regimental number 98369 is shown, so it's definitely the right man. I'm afraid it doesn't really tell you anything, but it's a genuine fragment of history and may be of interest to your class. Please send me a private message if you'd like me to send you a copy.

All the best, John

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Clarissabell,

Seems you have plenty of info to pass on. As far as the colours are concerned (if you haven't found out):

The medal was suspended by means of a ring from a very bright and distinctive medal ribbon in which the colours of two rainbows merge from violet at the outer edges to red at the centre.

It seems, It was decided by the Allied and associate forces that each country would produce their own medal each with their own design but all would have the same coloured ribbon. I guess that means the medal and the ribbon were designed by different people, both UK campiagn medals were designed by William McMillan R.A.

There is a book entitled; 'The Significance of Ribbon Colours on Medals Worn Since 1815 by Australians' by Rick Grebert. 2007. I'd assume the significance of the merged rainbow would be that same for British and Australians. No online version of the book that I can find but maybe a library?

Hope you noted what Dave said in Post#2 ??

TEW

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Hi

Found this - Victory: "Double" Rainbow, the rainbow representing the international symbol of peace

from -

regards

Robert

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Thanks for pointing out the link to the earlier discussion about medal ribbon colours. Really interesting.

Moriaty

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I always thought the rainbow ribbon harked back to God's Sign to Noah that there would be Peace after the Deluge and that never again would He seek to destroy mankind through flood. Genesis IX

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Seems the significance of the rainbow could be over interpreted the more one looks into it.

If you were a Noahidist then the rainbow represents the covenant with God after the flood and the seven colours representing each of the Laws. One colour for each law. Or, alternatively The Menorah's 7 lamps.

Rainbow flags tend to be used as a sign of a new era, of hope, or of social change.

I would have gone with the Genesis IX although I'm not seeing the word 'peace', the covenant with man was to 'not destroy all life with a flood'.

Contemporary WWI International Signs of peace seem to be lacking. But the link in post #20 has the proviso I'm sure I've read this somewhere, can't remember where though.

Post war International Signs of peace could be:

Dove with Olive branch

White Dove

The Peace Crane

The Hippy Symbol

The Winston Churchill 'V'

The Poppy

TEW

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I would have gone with the Genesis IX although I'm not seeing the word 'peace', the covenant with man was to 'not destroy all life with a flood'.

Post war International Signs of peace could be:

..

Dove with Olive branch

TEW

I agree - Genesis IX does not mention Peace, but God's covenant. I was paraphrasing somewhat I admit, but a promise not to destroy all life is akin to peace surely?

The Genesis Deluge story of hope, life and new beginnings after a devastating period of death and destruction must have seemed very analogous to the end of 'The Great War of Civilisation' represented by the Victory Medal.

Note also that the dove with olive branch is also from the Genesis Deluge story.

All that said though, I have no direct evidence for any of this - merely my personal speculation!

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Thank you all for your wonderful comments and insights - such philosophical debates are most welcome! 'What does a rainbow mean?' It sounds like another good project for my English class.

I have done some digging around the family tree, and it appears that Charles Alexander was born in 1868 in Spalding, Lincolnshire, England and died in 1955. He seems quite old to have been in WWI? His father was James Alexander from St. George, Stamford, Lincolnshire, and his mother was Jane Walker. I don't know if that is of any help, but it certainly completes the story.

Thanks again,

Michelle

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