Saturday, 3 May 2008

Pip, Squeak & Wilfred

Well, that was what they were nicknamed but what, or who, on earth are they?

'They' are the medals I found amongst Mum's belongings and they've taken me and Dad on a bit of a journey over the past few days. They are the medals that my paternal Grandad earned from WWI - the 1914-18 Great War! Pip, Squeak & Wilfred are (and I can't say which was named which) the 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal 1914-19 and the Victory Medal. The last 2 were awarded to all those that served during that War and the first was awarded to those that saw action overseas between 1914 and the end of 1915. Although not particularly rare to hold all 3 it is rarer than holding the last 2, known as Mut & Jeff when held on their own - lol!!

Through a bit of research I've discovered that my Grandad's first theatre of war was in Egypt and then, talking to Dad, I found out that he went on to serve in Gallipoli, where he was injured. He wasn't seriously injured, however, and he went on to serve out the whole war, being disembodied* in August 1919. In 1920 he was awarded the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal which was, basically, a long service award. He was a member of the Territorial Force, Royal Engineers, Corporal (Acting Sergeant). Had to laugh when I found out what that meant - some things never change! It meant that he had all the authority of a Sergeant and was effectively, completely a Sergeant but .................... he got paid a Corporal's wage - lol!! As I said, some things never change.

L-R: Victory Medal, British War Medal 1914-1919, 1914-15 Star

The British War Medal is actually silver but this one has blackened with age and lost it's ribbon. I've found somewhere that will clean, re-ribbon and mount them, as well as supply a TFE medal, which I haven't found, although I've found the proof it was awarded. I don't know whether to keep them as is or to have them cleaned etc for future generations.

Grandad's Medal Index Cards

The one thing that has come out of this, because I asked Dad about his medals - which he hasn't got and doesn't think he was ever awarded any - is that he is talking about his war years (WWII). I always thought he didn't want to talk about them. Seems that's not the case and he's now told me several little anecdotes which he says he's never told anyone before - not even Mum. She never asked him about those years and he's never told ....... anyone ......... until now! How sad is that?

* Territorial Force members were the equivilant of the Territorial Army today and, as such, were part-time soldiers. They were called into full-time service (embodied) at the start of the war and on the date they were 'disembodied' they went back to part-time service.

1 comment:

Jak said...

Please don't get these re-ribboned they are fabulous as they are, there is so much history in them.

What a wonderful find for you.