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Sgt William John Pearson  MM  5274 / 241942 Gloucestershire Regiment

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Ivor Anderson

Sgt William John Pearson  MM  5274 / 241942 Gloucestershire Regiment


Born:   Weymouth, Dorset 19th February 1891 (1939 Census)

Baptism Wyke Regis, Dorset, 9th March 1893

1891 Census - Living with parents at 14 surrey Terrace, Weymouth age 2m

1901 Census - Living with parents at 4 Surrey, Terrace, Weymouth age 10

1911 Census - Living with parents (William & Ellen) at 12 Prince of Wales 

                         Road, Weymouth. Occ. Grocer’s Assistant, aged 20


Enlisted 13th December 1915 Dorchester - 3/5th Gloster Regiment - 5 feet 7.75 inches/ 126 lbs. 

Embarked Southampton 2-9-1916. Served in ‘France, Belgium & Italy’ as an infantryman.

                  His WW1 service record has survived.

Promoted Corporal 10th July 1917 (185 O.R. reinforcements arr.)

Gun shot/ shell wound to top of head 7th August 1917 - Ypres


Promoted Sergeant     21st Sep. 1918

Military Medal with 1/5th G.R. - LG 21st October 1918, p.12414

MM card details - (schedule no. 387) - awarded while he was with 1/5 Gloucestershire Regiment in Italy.

The war diary cover states that 1/5 were in France with 48 Division from March 1915 to October 1917 and in Italy Sept 1918 to Feb 1919.

The 1/5 battalion war diaries for November 1917 to August 1918 do not seem to be available?


Married Edith M. Spiers (b.17-08-1892) October 1918, Christchurch

Mrs E. M. Pearson, 7 Hillbrow Road, Pokesdown, Bournemouth.


On 30-04-1919 Joined 3rd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. Discharged 25 September 1919.


1939 Census - Bournemouth, Hampshire. Master Grocer & Provision Merchant & ARP Warden.

Died - Bournemouth July 1956 aged 65

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Well I'm sure the 1/5th were in Italy at The Battle of  Asiago  in 15\16 June 1918

They are mentioned in the book Asiago: Italy, by Battleground Europe

Still in the 48 Divison

With various references at the back pages to material used in research -


In the National Archives I think its under WO95 - 4191 to 4260

Thinks there is a section for Asiago and the 1/5th are in 4251

If that's of any help :thumbsup:


Edit - Just found it 



However its not been digitized :unsure:




Edited by johnmelling1979
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48 minutes ago, Ivor Anderson said:

The 1/5 battalion war diaries for November 1917 to August 1918 do not seem to be available?

Ivor, presumably this is another Military Medal in your collection ?


The War Diary is available at National Archives but not yet digitised so you must visit (or get someone to do it for you)

Link to source at DNA is here.

Nat Archives obligation to do the more commercial bits first- eg Western Front- unfortunately reinforces the creation of 'Forgotten Fronts' like Italy. Very frustrating. I wonder what DNAs plans are for digitising these ?


Is that your only question about him  ?




edit- crossed posts with John !

Edited by charlie962
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Ivor Anderson
Posted (edited)

Thanks John & Charlie.

Yes, I have his MM, medal records & service record. I would just like to find out exactly where, when and for what his MM was awarded.

John. I notice that Howard Williamson says that the 21-10-1918 LG was mainly for fighting on the Asiago Plateau in June 1918. I am content to know that for now. Thanks!

His MM card at national archives (he should be John, not James! Confirmed by his service record):


Screen Shot 2020-05-13 at 16.43.02.png

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Ivor Anderson
Posted (edited)

The edge detail on his MM showing 1/5 battalion:



Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Ivor Anderson
Posted (edited)

The only entry in his service record for June 1918 is where he is appointed acting Lance Sergeant, effective 15 June 1918 (due to L/Sgt R. Fowler 240540 being missing).

I cannot find Reginald Fowler on the CWGC page, but I did find that many soldiers of the 1/5 (searched 'Italy') died on 15 June and are buried near Asiago.


Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 14.01.46.jpg

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Fowler was reported wounded in this casualty List dated 26th July 1918. Suggests actual wounding mid/late June. Perhaps some others in that same list were same action ?



edit Hospital Admissions 31st Ambulance Train Italy show Boughton, Dallimore, Griffin , Potts, Smart and Stevens and Taylor all 1/5th Glos and all wounded 16/6/18  and they are all in that same caslist.


Something going on that day for the Bn.

Edited by charlie962
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Ivor Anderson
Posted (edited)

Thanks Charlie! They were probably all casualties during this important battle in N.E. Italy (from Wikipedia):

"The Second Battle of the Piave River fought between 15 and 23 June 1918, was a decisive victory against the Austrio-Hungarian Empire during WW1...It would later become clear that the battle was in fact the beginning of the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire." The UK had 40,000 troops committed in 3 Divisions.

Map below from https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2016/11/11/outlying-theatres-1918-part-i/


Edited by Ivor Anderson
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The attached list of awards was extracted from the Alan Sutton Publishing Lt. facsimile reprint of the "5th Glosters Gazette". The D.S.O. to A/Capt. Colin Reith Coote, M.P. and the M.Cs. to 2nd Lt. George Frederick Churchill and Chaplain, Rev. Charles Aubrey Clark were for actions at the Asiago Plateau on 16 June 1918. The citations read very similarly.




This would suggest the M.Ms. were awarded for the same action. The date of 28 June 1918 suggests this was the date when the awards were approved. The letter C before the number of Sgt. Pearson's name and others, and A before Sgt. Parker's suggests reference to their respective Companies.


As with all theories there is always some glitch, Sgt. R. A. Burton's D.C.M. was for the day before and the place of the action in the Gazette of the D.C.M. reads "15/6/1918 N. of MTE LEMERLE"   [Monte Lemerle]

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30983/supplement/12814 The citation does read that his action was during an enemy attack as do the ones for the D.S.O. and M.Cs. above and suggests it is the same action but earlier.  


5th Glosters Gazette, Sept. 1918.JPG


Edit to add:- The list was in issue No. 24 of the paper for September 1918. The paper typically made no mention of any fighting or actions taken part in but published generally amusing items, poems, or satirical type articles. The previous issue was No. 23 for July 1918. 

Edited by HarryBrook
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2 hours ago, HarryBrook said:

facsimile reprint of the "5th Glosters Gazette"



Here is the follow on page of the Casualty List in post7 above. I didn't realise you could not get to it easily from the link I posted.

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William Pearson's MM award is mentioned in the war diary for June 1918. A friend transcribed the diary about 10 years ago, below is his work for Nov 1917- Sept 1918






1st Bn moved to Villers-au-Bois into front line opposite Mericourt.

2-3rd improving trenches and patrols at night

4th Relieved and moved to reserve line near Vimy.

5-8th improving trenches.

9th Bn relieved and moved to Winnipeg Camp, Mont St. Eloy.

10-13th- training and baths

14th- Bn moved to Tinques.

15-23rd- Training, route marched and lectures.

24th Bn entrained and moved to Italy. Detrained at Montagnana on 29th.

30th Moved to Agugliaro.




1st Training

2nd - Moved to Bastia.

3rd resting

4th moved to Bosco di Nanto.

5th moved to Campdoro.

6th moved to Camp S. Martino.

7th rest

8-13th training

14th Moved to Stroppari.

15-31st Training and route marches.






1-23rd   training and route marches

24th moved to S. Giorgio in Bosco.

25th moved to S. Martino di Lupari.

26th Moved to Resana

27-31st Baths and training


Lt-Col. A.B. Skinner DSO

Capt. J.P. Winterbotham, Rev. G.F. Helm MC

240108 CSM W.J. Coward DCM

Lt-Col. Skinner, Capt. G. Hawkins, 240108 Cpl. R.A. Burton MID




1-7th training etc.

8th Bde moved to Vedelago.

9-12th training

13th Bn billetted at Castagnole.

14-25th training

26th Bn moved to Cusignana.

27th Bn moved to front line on the River Piave by Nervesa.

28th Dull day, rain.


Capt. F.K. Foster and 240258 Sgt. R. Brisland Belgian Croix de Guerre.




1st Patrol 2nd Lt Ovenden and 6 men, crossed Piave and reconn. enemy wire.

2nd - Patrol 2nd Lt Ovenstone and 5 men, crossed Piave and found large enemy work party on wire opposite Luia.

3rd rain. Relieved by Bucks Bn and moved to Left Reserve position.

4-6th very wet.

7th relieved Bucks Bn in front line.

8th weather improved. Little shelling. Cleaning up trenches.

9th Fine day. Artillery active.

10th Fine day.

11th Relieved by Bucks Bn and moved to Right Reserve at Bavaria.

12th Baths and cleaning up.

13th Bn relieved by Italian troops and marched to Lusano.

14th Moved to Badoere.

15th Moved to Fossalta.

16th Bn moved to S. Giorgio Delle Pertiche.

17-22nd Baths and cleaning up.

23rd Bn moved to Marsango.

24-31st Training and drill.




1st Training

2nd Bn moved to Torreglia training area.

2-15th Training. Exercies etc.

16th Moved to Vancimuglio

17th Moved to S. Daniele

18th Moved to Cornedo

19-20th Baths and training

21st Moved to Rovere

22nd Moved to Mare

23-28th-  Baths and training

29th Moved to Granezza

30th Relieved 1/6th Warwicks in line.




1st Very quiet night. Patrols out. Very little shelling.

2-3rd Patrols out.

4th Bn relieved by Bucks bn and moved to Reserve.

5th Parades and drills.

7th Wet. Inspections.

8-11th Work parties

12th Bn relieved Bucks Bn in front line.

13-18th Patrols

19th Bn relieved by 12th DLI and moved back to Granezza.

20th Bn moved to Mare.

21st Moved to Sarcedo At night moved to Cornedo.

22-29th training

30th Bn moved to Camp X, S. of Thiene.

31st Parades




1st Bn moved to Camp E of Camisino.

2nd Bn moved to Camisino. Major N.H. Waller, MC assumed command of Bn.

3rd Bn moved to Carriola.

4-8th Training

9th Bn relieved 1/4th Berks in front line.

10th Patrol out. 1 OR wounded.

11-14th Artillery active.

15th Enemy attack. The enemy opened heavy bombardment of gas and HE shells about 2.45 am. His infantry was observed on Hill at H287.365. Enemy then extended across valley and took our left company in reverse. One platoon of the support coy had been sent up to front line about H31.36 at 6.40 am. On arrival at front line this platoon was heavily engaged with the enemy trying to pass through our wire and they were kept out, the Lewis Gun manned by No. 13773 Pte S. Pegler doing great execution. A second platoon of support coy was pushed up the valley in face of heavy MG fire. The whole of the Lewis Gun team was knocked out. Enemy now pushed along the ridge to N. of valley in great strength and across valley. These 2 platoons were forced to retire. The left platoon was extricated from a difficult position by 2nd Lt. G.F. Churchill. These 2 platoons then formed a defensive  line at 7.30 am.

Outpost Coy had to retire under Bde orders at 4.30 am to hills N. of Ghelpac. About 6.30 am they drove back enemy scouts but on being threatened with envelopment they withdrew to our left front coy. The right coy was holding out but as far as can be discovered the enemy broke through near X track and enveloped right centre. The remaining men retired to the Cesuna-Canove road, their move being covered by No. 293325 Pte G.H. Oliver who sacrificed himself and his Lewis Gun to enable his comrades to get away. Enemy was held up in our second position till about 8.15 am and suffered heavy losses. He then brought up light MGs and rifle grenades and worked round our left flank. Our line was withdrawn behind track H32.33 and Cesuna-Canove road. Our forces now 2 composite coys. Enemy worked around flanks and we withdrew about 9.15 am. A new line was formed along the railway. Good work was done by the Lewis Gun team which was brought into action by the Bn Signalling Sgt. No. 240181 Sgt. R.A. Burton. This NCO also laid a line to Bde when Bn HQ reached Lemerle Switch.

Right coy formed a line at Lemerle Switch and were supported by 3 guns of 102A battery RFA. They held the enemy until about 12.30 pm when the line was withdrawn behind the track. Touch was made with the R. Warwicks on our left about 1.30 pm. Left Coy advanced to clear woods in front of them but came up against several enemy MGs and were forced to retire. About 6.30 pm troops of 144 Bde moved up and by next morning the old front line had been retaken.

Casualties: Capt. B.V. Bruton, Lts G.P. Chutter, A.K. Stanley, 2nd Lt. G.S. Hayes, killed 15/6/18

Capt. R.F. Rubinstein, 2nd Lts. W. Pettigrew, R.R.E. Elcock, J.J. Ovenstone, J. Thomas and L.H. Frye missing 15/6/18

Capt. G.A. Lister, 2nd Lts. E.R.C. Ames, V. Scroggie, C.S. Stafford, R.F. Taylor wounded 15/6/18

Capt. A.T.L. Grear, 2nd Lt. C.L. Ovenden slight wound.

24 OR killed, 114 missing, 64 wounded 15/6/18


16th Bn relieved by 8th Worcesters and moved to Mt. Pau.

17-21st cleaning up and training

22nd Bn relieved by 21st Manchesters and moved into Army Reserve at Camp N.74.82 (Marziele area).

23-29th training

30th Bn moved to Centrale Area.




Lt-Col. W. Adam. Capt. F.E. Francillon. Lt. B.V. Bruton.

D240597 Sgt. W. Egerton

B240282 Pte F. Osman

A240109 Sgt W. Bundy

C241103 Sgt A.G. Holtham

D240705 Cpl E.J. Neam

D240358 Sgt G.H. Hardiman

C203664 Pte W. Thomas


Lt-Col. W. Adam  and Capt. C.R. Coote DSO

Capt. C.A. Clark, 2nd Lt. G.F. Churchill MC

B240181 Sgt. R.A. Burton DCM

A240877 Sgt. H. Parker, C241942 Sgt W.J. Pearson, C242523 L/Cpl W.J. Tonge, C240890 L/Cpl T.H. Whitehead, C13373 Pte B. Pegler MM




1st- Refitting

2nd Moved to Cornedo.

3-16th Training, drills and sports.

17th Bn moved to Setifico Marini.

18th Moved to Mare. Into camp just W. of Volpente.

19th Moved to Granezza

20th Relieved 11th Northumberland Fus. in support.

21st in support

22nd Attack by coys in morning.

23-25th Working on front line

26th Thunder storm. Bn relieved 1/4th Ox and Bucks in front line.

27-29th Slight shelling.

30th Relieved by 7th Warwicks. Bn moved to Granezza.

31st Cleaning up.




1-8th Training, drill and sports.

9th Bn relieved 1/8th Worcesters in reserve line.

10-11th Training

12th Bn relieved 1/4th Ox & Bucks in front line.

13th Thunder storm. Patrol out. Enemy barrage. 2 slightly wounded.

14-17th Patrols out

18th Bn relieved by 1/4th Ox & Bucks and moved to reserve line.

19th Baths and training.

20th Slight shelling. Training.

21st Work parties

22nd Bn relieved Ox & Bucks in front line. Patrols out.

23rd Patrols out.

24th Artillery active on both sides.

25th Bn relieved by 1/7th Warwicks. Bn moved to Club Camp near Granezza.

26-31st Training




1st Baths. Camp inspection

2nd Bn relieved 1/7th Worcesters in support.

3-5th training

6th Bn relieved 1/4th Ox & Bucks in line opposite Ave.

7th Patrol.

8th Patrols. Artillery active.

9th routine trench work

10th Wet. Patrols cancelled.

11th Bn relieved by 1/4th Ox & Bucks. Moved to Grenazza.

12th Bn moved to Centrale near Thiene.

13th preparing to return to France

14th Entrained at Thiene.

15-17th Crossed French frontier at Modane. Detrained at St. Riquier and marched to Donvast.

18th Route march through Crecy Wood.

19-26th Training

27th Bn marched to St. Riquier and entrained 3.30 pm. Detrained at Albert at midnight.

28th Marched to Warloy. Stormy.

29th Bn embussed at 12 noon for Montauban. Arrived 2.30 pm.

30th Stormy. Coy training.

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Ivor Anderson
Posted (edited)

Thanks for the casualty list links Charlie. 

Dave - thank you very much for the war diary transcript! It confirms that this action was on the 15th June 1918.

Deaths on subsequent days on CWGC were most likely those succumbing to wounds received on the 15th?

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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v interesting war diary description of 15/6/18. Why did Oliver not get an award ?

Gilbert Norman Oliver, 293325 or sometimes 203325

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Ivor Anderson
Posted (edited)

Gilbert Norman Oliver, 293325 or sometimes 203325 - A seemingly inexplicable omission considering the WD account of his sacrifice!

Military crosses could not be awarded posthumously but MMs could? 

He has no known grave and is named on the memorial to the missing in Giavera Cemetery, panel 3.A.. Baptised All Saints, Cheltenham 29-08-1897.

A least he was specifically named and has the details of his selfless action recorded in the battalion war diary, unlike many of those who got medals.


Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Our newly published Roll  THE AWARD OF THE MILITARY MEDAL FOR THE CAMPAIGN IN ITALY 1917/1918 by H J WILLIAMSON and C.K.BATE has details of every one of the 1189 MMs 98 first bars and 3 second bars awarded for Italy.It includes hundreds of citations for the MMs.

                   It notes PEARSON as awarded the MM for gallantry on the 15.6.18.on the Asiago Plateau.Award appears in the War Diary of 30.6.18 .It is one of 5 MMs to this Battalion all for the same action.Medal ribbon presented by the GOC on 7th July 1918. Home Town Weymouth.

                  There is a huge amount of data and information in the book. best w, Howard 

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Ivor Anderson
Posted (edited)

Thank you for the confirmation & the ribbon presentation date Howard.

I ordered your Italy Campaign MM volume from N&M Press yesterday. I have your Great War Medal Collectors Companion, Volumes 1 & 3 and the cream MM Project volume.

The MMs tell the story of WW1 through the experiences of the men who earned them. Your work is a great tribute to their heroism as it helps their stories to be told.

The great number of named MMs awarded makes them especially representative of these non-commissioned soldiers. It is also a beautiful medal.

I am trying to record the finer details of the lives of those whose medals I hold. Perhaps at some point I'll be able to produce a book with a snapshot of the wide range of campaigns and units that they represent, with photos of their medals. Retirement allows us to add value without the distraction of having to make money!

Thank you for your great contribution to MM research via your books.


Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Thank you Ivor for your kind words.

Compiling these Rolls for both the DCM and MM often feels a thankless task,however Chris and I view our work as a lasting memorial to these gallant men and women ,to which we hope researchers  will continue to refer for many years to come.

                                 We are both hugely proud of our Italy Roll as we hope it sets a new standard for a medal roll. It took us a year from start to finish to refine the information we extracted from our Nominal Roll which has taken to date 22 years to compile. The use of Schedule and RP/ Numbers in this study demonstrates the huge value this data is to identifying the date and action in which the medal was won.

                        I hope you will enjoy our book,we have already started on our next MM Book which is for DCMs and MMs won in Gallipoli.If you do get round to producing your own book and need any help or advice let me know. best w, Howard  

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15 hours ago, collectorsguide said:

There is a huge amount of data and information in the book. best w, Howard 

Good words from Ivor and good work by you and your co-author.


Have you any idea why Gilbert Norman Oliver was apparently omitted from rewards?



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To qualify for the award of the MM Army Form  AF W- 3121 had to be completed and submitted to Brigade before the soldier died. Sometimes notes of recommendation scribbled during the action were accepted provided they were later presented on AF W-3121. The strict rules state the medal could not be awarded posthumously ,however the rules were bent on occasions. Died of wounds was acceptable provided AF W-3121 was completed in time.

                    Interestingly , in compiling the Annotated DCM Roll ,I have found a number of DCM awards which were won for a deed in which the recipient was killed and this fact is recorded in the official citation. Best w ,Howard

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Ivor Anderson
Posted (edited)

Thank you for clarifying the MM rules Howard. I suppose it makes sense for the MC & MM rules to be consistent regarding posthumous awards.

It is very sad that getting killed in action (no matter how brave the act) prevented you from being awarded a medal. Medals are for survivors, unless it merited a VC?

Gilbert Oliver was obviously among the missing, presumed dead, who ended up with no known grave. I suppose it was good for morale to pin a medal/ribbon on a live hero. One wonders what would have happened if he had turned out to have been wounded, captured, and later repatriated to find others got medals and not him?


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  • 2 months later...
Ivor Anderson

Thanks to the information in posts 10 and 13 above I can confirm the 5 MMs to 1/5 Gloucestershire Regiment for 15 June 1918 were:

Sgt. Harold Parker 240877 -                 Schedule no. 401

Cpl. William John Pearson 241942 -     Schedule no. 387 (Sgt. from 11-08-1918)

Pte. Bert Pegler 13773 -                        Schedule no. 383 (KIA 6 October 1918)

Pte. William John Tonge 242523 -        Schedule no. 393

L/Cpl. Thomas H. Whitehead 240890 - Schedule no. 381

Some digits of their service numbers are different. These check with their medal records.

The schedule numbers are not consecutive - the nos. between were awards to 1/4 Ox&BLI (H. Williamson, Campaign in Italy, p.117)

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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