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Remembered Today:

Great War medal engraving


Juliet
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My grandmother gave me my grandfathers war medal in the mid 1990's. He joined the Royal Navy in 1912 and served in both wars. I've recently decided I ought to frame the medals, as opposed to continually leaving them in a box for the next 100 years. Whilst looking into purchasing a replacement 1914/15 star which was missing I learnt that the great war medals were engraved with the names of the person who served. My grandfathers name is engraved on the British War medal but "2054 CPL W L Machin R A" appears on the Victory medal. I've found William L Machin in the Royal Artillery from the IWM records but wondered if this was a common event? ie the wrong medal being sent? well the right medal but wrong name! My grandfathers name was Saines so not alphabetically close

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48 minutes ago, Juliet said:

wondered if this was a common event? ie the wrong medal being sent? well the right medal but wrong name!

Highl;y unlikely. Admiralty-issue medals had to be claimed by the rating (your GF). War Office medals were sent out without claim. Two totally separate issue methods. There could be several reasons why the Army-issue Victory medal is with your GF's Admiralty-issue War Medal - perhaps he lost his and bought another.

Your GF's trio of medals (all named to him} were issued to him when he was serving ashore in HMS VERNON, probably between July 1921 and December 1923 (see his records:-  https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D6869446  and https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14808570

Medal Roll entry :-  image.png.d2cdf9bdc4a4f8434137baf3f161a7b0.png

And welcome to the GWF.

Edited by horatio2
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38 minutes ago, horatio2 said:

Highl;y unlikely. Admiralty-issue medals had to be claimed by the rating (your GF). War Office medals were sent out without claim. Two totally separate issue methods. There could be several reasons why the Army-issue Victory medal is with your GF's Admiralty-issue War Medal - perhaps he lost his and bought another.

Your GF's trio of medals (all named to him} were issued to him when he was serving ashore in HMS VERNON, probably between July 1921 and December 1923 (see his records:-  https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D6869446  and https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14808570

Medal Roll entry :-  image.png.d2cdf9bdc4a4f8434137baf3f161a7b0.png

And welcome to the GWF.

Thank you for your reply. It's very odd as he did not claim them and never spoke of the war. They were used as treasure by my mum and her sister and used to be buried and dug up in the garden, which is where we assume the missing one is. This is why it seems odd for him to have purchased a replacement one.  Thank you for the links, he is indeed J.17332 and I have a photo of him wearing the Vernon hat. 

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43 minutes ago, Juliet said:

It's very odd as he did not claim them

He must have put in a claim for his medals (in 1921-3) or they would not have ben issued to him. My suggestion of a later medal puchase was but one example

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To be a little pedantic the medals would not have been engraved. They would have been impressed by machine  ie. the wording would have been pressed into the medal and not etched into it.

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Thank you. I literally only discovered the etching last week so it is all new to me. It’s a very interesting discovery, especially to think he must of applied for replacements. Do you know where he would of bought one from and why William Machin didn’t have his medal? 

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Hi

 

He must have claimed them or your mother could not have played with them in the garden. Perhaps the Victory Medal was lost in the garden and so he acquired a replacement from a local pawnbroker or similar establishment. The 14/15 Star was probably also lost but replacements for these were harder to come by.

 

Steve

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23 minutes ago, Juliet said:

he must of applied for replacements

Not necessarily - there is no note in the Medal Roll of replacements being issued - but he had to apply for the initial issue and that is all that the Medal Roll tells us.

As to when (predumably after his RN service ended) and how his nedals were lost (buried by your mother?) and how he came into posession of an army Victory Medal, we could speculate for ever. Did he buy it? Find it lying in the road? Buy it in a junk shop? That said, it would be nice to return Corporal Machin's medal to his family (other GWF members can advise on this) while you make up your GF's trio with purchased replicas of his 1914-15 Star and Victory Medal. Good luck!

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The official medal naming contracts and instructions, refer to "engraving " the medals. The machine operators were called "engravers". The machines IMPRESSED the name onto the medals,as Jim indicates.

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On 28/09/2022 at 16:34, Juliet said:

They were used as treasure by my mum and her sister and used to be buried and dug up in the garden, which is where we assume the missing one is.

It seems likely that his star and victory medal are still buried in the garden. I would ask permission to use a metal detector to search for them?

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William Lichman/Lishman Machin appears to have survived the war. He got the war medal as well (MIC image Ancestry).

image.png.9371baddc1f9f1f03cbfc1b78fedaf56.png

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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41 minutes ago, Ivor Anderson said:

William Lichman/Lishman Machin appears to have survived the war.

A/Sgt W L MACHIN, 2054 RGA and 516834 LC claimed a war disability pension on or very shortly after discharge 19-9-19 [an unspecified condition and actually on/after his transfer from the Labour Corps to the Class Z Army Reserve prior to his later full discharge - making a claim was not inconsistent with the Z Reserve obligation]

image.png.2114ccc793e6e9e2428a5fa0df80c1e6.png

Image thanks to WFA/Fold3

DEAD, 24.3.25 = The claim became dead/ended on or before that date - so he either voluntarily stopped claiming, could not claim any longer or perhaps even died - in times of hardship medals often got sold [especially the silver British War Medal, which was commonly later smelted]

I couldn't find a death prior to that 1925 date but did find a potential one on FreeBMD

Deaths Jun 1955 MACHIN, William L 66 Croydon 5g 59 [this chap's age and the earlier Hammersmith address and Croydon death registration did seem to make it quite possible - a subsequent visit to GRO has it recorded as MACHIN, William Lisham]

M

Edit: from FreeBMD - Potential marriage for MACHIN based on an earlier Hammersmith address

Surname First name(s) Spouse District Vol Page 

Marriages Mar 1933   (>99%)

Kelso    Mary M       Machin  Hammersmith 1a 393  

Machin William L    Kelso     Hammersmith 1a 393

Edited by Matlock1418
potential marriage
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On 29/09/2022 at 12:07, hmsk212 said:

Hi

 

He must have claimed them or your mother could not have played with them in the garden. Perhaps the Victory Medal was lost in the garden and so he acquired a replacement from a local pawnbroker or similar establishment. The 14/15 Star was probably also lost but replacements for these were harder to come by.

 

Steve

Oh that makes sense if they were harder to come by, thank you 

5 hours ago, collectorsguide said:

The official medal naming contracts and instructions, refer to "engraving " the medals. The machine operators were called "engravers". The machines IMPRESSED the name onto the medals,as Jim indicates.

Thank you 

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4 hours ago, Ivor Anderson said:

It seems likely that his star and victory medal are still buried in the garden. I would ask permission to use a metal detector to search for them?

We should probably have done that prior to my grandma selling the bungalow in 1979, I’ll ask my mum later if she can remember which part of the garden they used as it was quite large!

3 hours ago, Ivor Anderson said:

William Lichman/Lishman Machin appears to have survived the war. He got the war medal as well (MIC image Ancestry).

image.png.9371baddc1f9f1f03cbfc1b78fedaf56.png

That is a lovely clear pucture

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3 hours ago, Matlock1418 said:

A/Sgt W L MACHIN, 2054 RGA and 516834 LC claimed a war disability pension on or very shortly after discharge 19-9-19 [an unspecified condition and actually on/after his transfer from the Labour Corps to the Class Z Army Reserve prior to his later full discharge - making a claim was not inconsistent with the Z Reserve obligation]

image.png.2114ccc793e6e9e2428a5fa0df80c1e6.png

Image thanks to WFA/Fold3

DEAD, 24.3.25 = The claim became dead/ended on or before that date - so he either voluntarily stopped claiming, could not claim any longer or perhaps even died - in times of hardship medals often got sold [especially the silver British War Medal, which was commonly later smelted]

I couldn't find a death prior to that 1925 date but did find a potential one on FreeBMD

Deaths Jun 1955 MACHIN, William L 66 Croydon 5g 59 [this chap's age and the earlier Hammersmith address and Croydon death registration did seem to make it quite possible - a subsequent visit to GRO has it recorded as MACHIN, William Lisham]

M

Edit: from FreeBMD - Potential marriage for MACHIN based on an earlier Hammersmith address

Surname First name(s) Spouse District Vol Page 

Marriages Mar 1933   (>99%)

Kelso    Mary M       Machin  Hammersmith 1a 393  

Machin William L    Kelso     Hammersmith 1a 393

That’s really helpful finding out all that information about him. I thought his war records could help me but I could not locate his date of birth on the information I had. My husband was born in Hammersmith so I’m now wondering if this medal was acquired by his side of the family instead as we have had a box of medals in a drawer for years and it was only last week that I got around to framing them. It would be more consistent with what I was told about my grandad not being interested in them. My husbands grandfather was younger than mine so too young for the Great War but we have two sets of Second World War medals I will have to polish the war medal now as I didn’t realise it was silver!

image.jpg

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1 hour ago, Juliet said:

My husband was born in Hammersmith so I’m now wondering if this medal was acquired by his side of the family instead

There may be a family connection to W L Machin. Sometimes medal sets were shared out among the next generation. Perhaps Machin's silver war medal was sold in hard times.

1 hour ago, Juliet said:

I will have to polish the war medal now as I didn’t realise it was silver!

It has a nice even 100 year old patina. I would leave it. Once you start polishing...:)

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1 hour ago, Juliet said:

it was only last week that I got around to framing them

Nicely done.  A small point for the BWM is that the King's head would normally be visible [the side with the 1914-18 is the reverse]

1 hour ago, Juliet said:

I will have to polish the war medal now as I didn’t realise it was silver!

This is commonly a moot point and many medals are left to gently tarnish nowadays.

A couple of key points if I may.

The British War Medal looks fine to me. If you polish the BWM do so very gently with a fine polishing compound so as to not damage the crispness of the relief of the medal. Mild soap & water and drying with a very soft cloth only would probably suffice for now if you feel it is needed/must be cleaned.

As for polishing the Victory Medal I would express great caution to you [and firmly say don't polish] - the gilt surface coating is very fragile and easily destroyed so don't use harsh compounds, hard action or strong cleaning liquids - if you really want to, I would not recommend cleaning except with other than a mild soap & water and drying with a very soft cloth.

Personally I think they all look fine and I would be leaving them all as they are now.

M

Edit: I see Ivor has already replied in a similar vein.

Further edit: Same polishing/cleaning advice goes for WW2 medals too.  Keep them safe and no more treasure hunting games! [except perhaps with a metal detector for James STAINES's missing medals!!]

Edited by Matlock1418
further edit
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1 hour ago, Juliet said:

It would be more consistent with what I was told about my grandad not being interested in them.

He (or someone) was interested enough to purchase a replica 1914-15 star. Perhaps he didn't want to show he was annoyed. :)

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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That was me who purchased the star last week 😂 my mum is sure my grandad would not have replaced it as he was not interested in them. I’m going to ask my mother in law now about Mr Machin 

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12 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Nicely done.  A small point for the BWM is that the King's head would normally be visible [the side with the 1914-18 is the reverse]

This is commonly a moot point and many medals are left to gently tarnish nowadays.

A couple of key points if I may.

The British War Medal looks fine to me. If you polish the BWM do so very gently with a fine polishing compound so as to not damage the crispness of the relief of the medal. Mild soap & water and drying with a very soft cloth only would probably suffice for now if you feel it is needed/must be cleaned.

As for polishing the Victory Medal I would express great caution to you [and firmly say don't polish] - the gilt surface coating is very fragile and easily destroyed so don't use harsh compounds, hard action or strong cleaning liquids - if you really want to, I would not recommend cleaning except with other than a mild soap & water and drying with a very soft cloth.

Personally I think they all look fine and I would be leaving them all as they are now.

M

Edit: I see Ivor has already replied in a similar vein.

Further edit: Same polishing/cleaning advice goes for WW2 medals too.  Keep them safe and no more treasure hunting games! [except perhaps with a metal detector for James STAINES's missing medals!!]

I had seen the way they are displayed but I preferred the look of the other side!  I was going to use a silver jewellery polishing cloth but if you think it’s better to leave them I will. I cannot really tell the difference between our grandads medals so I’ve “pooled” the Second World War ones and the Atlantic star is a slightly different colour and is obviously my grandfathers but I’ve left our “swops” in the box my grandma gave me 

image.jpg

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14 minutes ago, Juliet said:

That was me who purchased the star last week

Ah. Missed that in your first post! :)

The France & Germany Star ribbon should be like this:

WW2 France and Germany Star Campaign Medal - FULL SIZE

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12 minutes ago, Juliet said:

I was going to use a silver jewellery polishing cloth but if you think it’s better to leave them I will

Personally I think currently best left well alone - especially the VM.

M

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1 hour ago, Ivor Anderson said:

Ah. Missed that in your first post! :)

The France & Germany Star ribbon should be like this:

WW2 France and Germany Star Campaign Medal - FULL SIZE

Thank you, I’ve never seen this ribbon before (and my grandad is the navy one) so I will order a replacement ribbon. I ordered them for the Great War ones too. The 1914/15 star is a replica I ordered as well after checking what my grand father would of received. My husband thinks my mum and aunt should be going out with the metal detector!

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