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Remembered Today:

Captain (Acting) William Wesson Frith KIA awarded Order of Leopold


Stephen Carter
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This is my first post so apologies if my forum etiquette is lacking.

I am researching my grandmother's cousin Acting Captain William Wesson Frith who was Killed in Action in Belgium in 1917. He was 35 when he died on 3/11/1917 and he was serving with the 169th Siege Bty with the Royal Garrison Artillery.

I am interested to know what he did to earn the Belgian Order of Leopold (Chevalier) and the Croix de Guerre (presumably the Belgian version). Can I find a citation for why the awards were given somewhere? How many British Soldiers were given these Belgian awards / honour?

As a start, what were the 169th Siege Bty doing on 3/11/1917?

Thanks in advance for any information.

Kind regards

Stephen Carter

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Stephen

Welcome to the forum. The war diaries for 169th Siege Battery exist at Kew but are not digital - they also only cover October 1916 to September 1917. They will need a visit to the National Archives to view them. To find out where they were after this time the Heavy Artillery Group/HA Brigade diary that the battery was attached to will give an idea. The best way of finding out which HAG/HAB would be to look at the battery diary.

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7350260

I know there is a forum member called 'foreigngong' who knows about foreign medals - I'm sure he'll be able to give an idea of numbers awarded and when.

Kind regards

Colin

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Thank-you very much Colin,

It looks like a trip to Kew may be on the cards.

I will see if I can track down 'foreigngong' and see what he can impart about Belgian gongs!

Kind regards

Stephen Carter

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Hi Stephen

This is the London Gazette for both his awards

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30568/supplement/3094

He is listed under Chevalier and Croix de Guerre

CdG approx 4680 Gazetted

Leopold II 340 Gazetted

I do not have numbers for double awards, but by the numbers above, VERY RARE.

As to citations / recommendations try War diaries / local newspapers.

Peter

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Peter

Thank-you very much for the links.

I thought someone getting both gongs must be fairly unusual.

I wonder what he did?

Kind regards

Steve C

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Might be worth a separate post with the Siege Battery title in the post title: Forum member Dick Flory (tflory) if the man for artillery stuff and might be attracted by a separate thread. he (like foreigngong) is always happy to share information.

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Be aware that while not yet available online, this diary is included in the current digitisation programme which shows that it is not expected to be orderable until 2 January 2015 (and I'd advise double checking that it really does show as orderable before making a trip specially to see it). See http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/first-world-war/centenary-unit-war-diaries/diaries-unavailable-reading-rooms/

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Thanks Steven and David

Thanks for the tip and tip-off respectively.

For the record, I attach a photo of Acting Captain Frith if it is of interest.

Kind regards

Steve C

post-119207-0-27233300-1419635418_thumb.

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Stephen Carter wrote: "I thought someone getting both gongs must be fairly unusual."

If I remember correctly during the Great War the award of the Belgian Order of Leopold carried with it the automatic award of the Croix de Guerre.

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Hi Dick

Might be the way the Belgium's & French did it but very rarely the way the Brits did. I think these numbers will show

CdG approx 4680 Gazetted

Leopold II 340 Gazetted

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Foreign Gong wrote: "Might be the way the Belgium's & French did it but very rarely the way the Brits did. I think these numbers will show"

Not sure what you mean as I did not say that the Belgian Croix de Guerre was only awarded with the Order of Leopold. Using your numbers if 340 Croix de Guerre were awarded with the 340 Orders of Leopold that would leave 4340 to be awarded without the Order of Leopold.

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Hi Dick

I just went through just the "A"'s in my database and there are 11 cases of a Belgium Order of Leopold awarded without the Croix de Guerre added. There are 6 cases of both.

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Thanks for the comments.

Interesting that the London Gazette has the medals awarded at different times and both posthumously in the case of Captain Frith.

Also Interested to understand why sometimes he is recorded as Acting Captain and sometimes Captain. Could you be made Captain posthumously? His grave shows him as 'Captain'.

Would only a full Captain be allowed an Order of Leopold chevalier medal but an acting Captain could get a Croix de Guerre?

I still wonder what he did to get the medals?

Kind regards

Steve C

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I found this old post and wondered if there was a link to this current thread...

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=201694&hl=

Steve C

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