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WW1 medal cache


bob elkin

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My late father in law owned pawn shops in Luton & Watford. These were closed down in the early 70's and boxes of "stuff" were eventually transferred to our loft.

For want of something to do during lockdown we have been sorting through them and came across about 80 WW1 medals. Mainly Victory medals with about a dozen War medals and 4 1914/5 stars. Unfortunately most of the War medals being silver appear to have  gone to scrap.

 

We have used the Ancestry web page and bought a copy of the National Roll for Luton but still can't find details of quite a few recipients.

Is there anywhere else we can look?

Ideally we would like to find the descendants of the recipients to see if they want them.

 

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6 minutes ago, bob elkin said:

My late father in law owned pawn shops in Luton & Watford. These were closed down in the early 70's and boxes of "stuff" were eventually transferred to our loft.

For want of something to do during lockdown we have been sorting through them and came across about 80 WW1 medals. Mainly Victory medals with about a dozen War medals and 4 1914/5 stars. Unfortunately most of the War medals being silver appear to have  gone to scrap.

 

We have used the Ancestry web page and bought a copy of the National Roll for Luton but still can't find details of quite a few recipients.

Is there anywhere else we can look?

Ideally we would like to find the descendants of the recipients to see if they want them.

 

Hi,

Welcome to the forum.

 A very nice find, and a very nice gesture on your part to offer to reunite the medals.

  If you list some names and numbers you are struggling with, you may be surprised by the amount of information some of the good folk here can dig up.

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voltaire60
2 hours ago, bob elkin said:

My late father in law owned pawn shops in Luton & Watford. These were closed down in the early 70's and boxes of "stuff" were eventually transferred to our loft.

For want of something to do during lockdown we have been sorting through them and came across about 80 WW1 medals. Mainly Victory medals with about a dozen War medals and 4 1914/5 stars. Unfortunately most of the War medals being silver appear to have  gone to scrap.

 

We have used the Ancestry web page and bought a copy of the National Roll for Luton but still can't find details of quite a few recipients.

Is there anywhere else we can look?

Ideally we would like to find the descendants of the recipients to see if they want them.

 

 

    Good Evening Bob,

        Welcome to Great War Forum.  I am not a medal collector but there are many real experts here who should solve most of the queries you have- As I say to others, they can spot the details of a medal or ribbon from a thousand paces on a foggy day!!

2 matters in hand:

 

1)  The Medals- a listing of names,numbers and which medals would be great.  My medal collector colleagues will suggest specialist sites where the outcomes of identification can be posted-as well as here on GWF. GWF has the advantage that individual names will show up on Google indexing  and,if you look through the Forum,you would be surprised by the number of queries that come in from family members of Great War personnel who have tripped over them on Google.

2)  Can you tell us anything of the story of your father in law and pawn shops?  There is a degree of interest in when he ran them and anything else that is family lore about the pawning of medals.  It is all part of social history - that men who saw out the war should have to pawn medals brings home the truth and the bitterness of the 1922 Labour election posters-"Yesterday the Trenches"- "Today Unemployed". But as has also been suggested, it might be the Seventies and later when silver when into "the Melt" by the ton- the good old days of the Bunker Hunts trying to corner the market in silver.  It's a good bit of social history by itself and I hope I can persuade you to put up some details.

 

Best wishes

Pip,pip

Mike

V60

 

 

 

Edited by voltaire60
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scottmarchand

Also - you might want to get on the British medals Forum, https://britishmedalforum.com/ there is an active section to re-unite medals with next of kin and also to reunite medals separated from their constituent groups over the years too.  Sadly, a lot of sliver medals went in the pot in the 70's when they were much less valued,  appreciated and collected. Thanks for making the effort!

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Thank you Mike/Voltaire and Scott

The pawn shops operated from 1876 until 1970. 

The medals would have been pawned during the depression and the silver medals would have gone to scrap before 1950 possibly before WW11.

I can't tell you any more about them because we didn't know they were there until after he passed away.

 

Here is a list of the medals we have

Y means we have it

X means we think it was awarded but has been scrapped

 

         Victory War Star
J Chambers  17225 Gunner RA Y X X
C R Catling 687047  driver  RA Y X  
H Chalkley 57373 pte North Fus Y X  
O Webb 36591  pte The Queens R Y X  
J Kiff 9065 pte Bedf R Y   X
A J Hodges M2-266013 pte A S C  Y X  
C Jefferson 10223 pte Bedf R Y X X
F C Tearle 195686 Gunner RA Y X  
C Bacchus 4414 pte Bedf R Y X X
H T Bunyan 03075 pte A O C  Y X Y
C A Holt T4-128854 pte A S C  Y X X
W Poole 3-6101 pte Bedf R Y X X
A J Courtnage  266865 sapper R E  Y X  
S Scales  20920 pte Suff R  Y X  
A J Wickersham 8691 pte L N Lan R Y X Y
A C Hodge 32389 pte The Queens R Y    
W H Ward 1707 driver  R E  Y   X
C H Wicks 88329 sapper R E  Y X Y
F Grass SS-18386 pte A S C      Y
S J Bird 800962 driver  RA Y X  
W E Ives 177749 Gunner RA Y    
H B Tillott 622514 Gunner Royal Horse Artill Y X  
J Bransome 22530 pte Bedf R Y X  
J Jeeves 4-5975 pte Bedf R Y X  
F A Allen 122521 pte RA Medical Y X  
R Bonfield  144451 Gunner RA Y X  
J Brown  27210 pte Bedf R Y X X
H G Prince 1765 pte 24-Lond R Y    
B Blick 242634 pte S Staff R Y X  
P Usher  1836 driver  RAMC Y    
T Samuels 363162 pte Labour Corps Y X X
E T Gooch 36023 pte Glouc R Y X  
A Barton  4179 A Cpl Bedf R Y X X
J Harle 6969 pte RAMC Y X X
F Brown 3133 pte Bedf R Y    
G Dimmock 4055 Cpl Camb R Y   X
C Vass 201089 pte Herts R Y X  
S Windmill  214740 A 2 Cpl R E  Y    
W Marsh 8256 pte Bedf R Y X X
E Hyett 649 Lieut Welsh Horse Y X  
W E Crawley 34840 pte North'n R Y X X
H Daisley 18460 pte Suff R  Y X X
A E Cox 20590 pte Bedf R Y    
A Ansell 31543 pte Bedf R Y    
A Wildman 7203 pte Bedf R Y   X
D J Coleman J 21986 A B  RN Y X X
G Davies 17987 Sjt S Wales S Bord Y    
J Stokes 25434 pte Bedf R Y Y  
R Stokes 12329 pte Bedf R Y Y X
S Stokes 26802 pte Bedf R Y Y  
W Boon 3-7361 pte Bedf R Y   X
H Andrews 4870 pte Bedf R   Y X
H W Miles 9766 pte Beds / Herts R Y X  
H Reeve 32049 pte Bedf R   Y  
F Braybrook 20070 pte Bedf R   Y  
T Palmer J 74493 Ord Seaman RN X Y  
A R Mason K 48155 Stoker 2 RN   Y  
A R Mason G 9114 pte Middx R   Y  
Grassby 10577 Warr Off C1 C O C    Y  
B Clark 88 1984 Gunner RA X Y  
P R Dyer 38353 pte Norf R X Y  
W Dawson 1933 pte Ches R   Y  
W Winfield 205297 pte Hamps R X Y  
G R J Ramsbotham   Lieut     Y  
Edward p Noyon         Y  
W W Flint 90605 driver  R E  X X Y
J Freeman 58863 pte K R R C Y X  
B Holdstock 2836 pte 24-Lond R X Y X

 

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That's a great collection!

 

If it were my find, I would certainly want to carry out some research before passing on the medals.

 

I see quite a lot of Bedfordshire Regiment in there, and being from a pawn shop, these are mostly likely to be local men/families.

 

This would make a great local history project, have you thought of enlisting the help of a local history society?

 

If only I had the time, I'd love to go through these names and find the stories.

 

You have 3 pairs to STOKES...brothers?

Edited by Alan24
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Casualties

 

12329 Lce Cpl Robert Stokes - 6th Beds 09 Aug 1916 Somme

 

9065 Pte Joseph Kiff - 2nd Beds 14 May 1915

 

22530 Pte Joseph Bransome - 2nd Beds 08 July 1917

Edited by Alan24
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I believe medals to Welsh Horse are quite rare?

 

E Hyett 649 Lieut Welsh Horse

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31 minutes ago, Alan24 said:

Casualties

 

12329 Lce Cpl Robert Stokes - 6th Beds 09 Aug 1916 Somme

 

Above also had MM, another thing to consider.

 

Just to check on the Y & X, Y means you have it, X means it may have been scrapped or bought from the shop or never brought in to pawn?

 

9065 Joseph Kiff 2/Beds originally had a 14 Star Trio. You have his Victory but believe his 14 Star to have been scrapped. He was issued with a BWM which has no X or Y, either this was scrapped or someone bought it or it was never pawned. Those marked with an X (or blank) could still be out there somewhere? Price of silver pretty flat from 1947 to 1960 then strong rise 1971 - 1974 as the shops were shutting, this would be the time to scrap them.

TEW

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44 minutes ago, Alan24 said:

I believe medals to Welsh Horse are quite rare?

 

E Hyett 649 Lieut Welsh Horse


Bob
An interesting selection, which will interest quite a few people.
However, are you certain that you have read the Victory Medal to Lieutenant Hyett correctly? Victory Medals to Army Officers were simply named Rank, Initials and Surname, they did not include a number and they did not include the Regiment.
Sepoy

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Thank you all for responding

 

Alan24 - my wife is a "Friend" of Luton Museum as was her father. If we can't find descendants then I guess the medals will go there.

     At least 2 of the Stokes may be brothers according to National Roll

 

TEW - National Roll book mentions the MM

 

Sepoy  Lt Hyett's details were from Ancestry.uk. Only rank and name on medal

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26 minutes ago, Sepoy said:


Bob
An interesting selection, which will interest quite a few people.
However, are you certain that you have read the Victory Medal to Lieutenant Hyett correctly? Victory Medals to Army Officers were simply named Rank, Initials and Surname, they did not include a number and they did not include the Regiment.
Sepoy

The 649 number is recorded and "*'d"  in red on his MIC, it appears he was commissioned before serving overseas. 11/12/1916. MIC also gives his later unit as R.T.O.(Railway Transport Officer?)

Lived, Barry, Glamorgan. 

Edited by GWF1967
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17 minutes ago, bob elkin said:

Alan24 - my wife is a "Friend" of Luton Museum as was her father. If we can't find descendants then I guess the medals will go there. 

Before donating to a Museum it would be worth you discussing with them exactly what their intensions would be.

Some museums would simply store them, some may sell them to raise funds.

Sometimes these medals may gain more appreciation to a collector, you could donate any sales to charity or not.

 

You will find many differing views on this forum as the best way to dispose of them, your own view will be paramount above all else.

 

Good luck with the research and I hope you uncover some great WW1 stories so that we can all remember those whose medals have now come to light.

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2 hours ago, bob elkin said:

 

 

 

         Victory War Star
J Chambers  17225 Gunner RA Y X X
             

 

Joseph Chambers.17225.   B. 1880 Luton (another record gives 1878)   Served in South Africa 1900-1902.  3rd Beds. Reg.  Awarded Queen's + King's S.A. medal.

Enl. 1903. 24 Coy Royal Garrison Artillery. 

M. Jane 6/2/1907.

Overseas. France 9/9/1914.  Surviving service records and several medical records on FMP.    Served with 26th Heavy Battery R.G.A.  

D. 1939. Luton. Aged 59.

Edited by GWF1967
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George Grassby of the Canadian Ordnance Corps was born in London and previously served in the Hertfordshire Regt volunteer battalion,

So he certainly had connections to the area. Some of his pay was being assigned to a Miss Florence Amy Fatt, of Tennyson Road, Harpenden, Herts.

 

He was also awarded the MSM and was MID twice.

Edited by Neil 2242
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crackingbloke

I hope you wont mind me saying that there would be little point in giving these medals to any museum. Although interesting in themselves no museum is going to go to the trouble of researching a displaying them. Very many museums have a store full of such items that never see the light of day.

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Frederick Grass:

image.png.176a20480152b5cc92338ad663285af7.png

Thanks to Ancestry.

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It would be wonderful to find a descendant, and a very generous offer it is. However my dvice as a medal collector is to sell them on ebay. You will make a few pound for yourself, possibly a thousand pound there?? At least a few of them will be treasured my a collector. 

 

Jamie

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NorthStaffsPOW

I concur with the advice regarding donating them to a museum. While a well meaning and certainly kind gesture, with the best will in the world they will do nothing with them. I have volunteered at museums and can confirm first hand that even specialist military museums have hundreds of such medals in storage that will never be viewed by the public. No shame in selling and letting collectors enjoy and appreciate them in my opinion. All the best. 

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bedfordyeoman

Hello Bob,

 

As a Bedfords collector and researcher, and a former inhabitant and employee in Luton, and a former trustee of the Regimental collection at Wardown, I have more than a passing interest. I always advise that, from a pure collecting point of view, medals are best kept together; a quick look suggests that none of the Bedfords items would match up with anything I have but I know of other Bedfords collectors who might need them.  I'll run a check through some of their 'wants' lists and pm you if there's a potential match.

 

Otherwise, I agree that you're probably best selling on the open market. The museum hasn't got space for what are fairly common items so they'll just get filed away, never to be seen by the public. Collectors do cherish the items they buy so the items won't disappear in the same way that they might have done in the past. 

 

Best wishes,


David

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Long shot probably, Bob, but you could also try Medal Tracker:

 

https://www.tokenpublishing.com/medaltracker

 

Many looking for family medals will have listed the medals/names they’re looking for on there, as I did, so some of yours may be on the “wanted” lists. You never know. 

 

Great thing you’re doing mate, wish I’d seen what I want on your list!

 

Martin

 

Edited by MartyG
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Matlock1418
On 09/02/2021 at 18:11, bob elkin said:

Is there anywhere else we can look?

Have you tried the Western Front Association / Fold3 for PENSION CARDS?

They have cards with names, addresses, NoK, disabilities and the like [sometimes extra unit details that are not on their MIC].

The first two on your list, Chambers [Joseph of 73 Hastings St, Luton] and Catling [Cecil Robert] are there.

You may find extra details that you haven't seen before.

:-) M

Edited by Matlock1418
typo
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The BWM to Pte Winfield Hampshire Regt is his only entitlement, no Victory medal was issued as he only served in India

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bedfordyeoman

Just out of interest, Bob, where was the pawnshop in Luton ? I started working in Luton town centre 40 years ago but perhaps the shop was before my time - I was collecting football programmes back then anyway so wouldn't have had much cause to go in there.

 

David

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