Saturday, 26 November 2011

Medals

One of the things that my father gave me before his dementia reached the state that it is now in was his World War II medals (and unit patches). He also gave me my maternal grandfather's medals as well, and it was only this evening that I was actually able to sit down and look at both sets of medals in detail. The results were very interesting.


My father's medals are the War Medal 1939-1945 and the France and Germany Star. The NFS badge came from his time as a volunteer fireman in the National Fire Service (he served as a volunteer before being 'called up'), and the reproduction Airborne patches are reminders of his time as a member of 6th Airborne Division. The Chindit patch was given to him after his post-war service in Burma (he did not serve with the Chindits but did later serve with the Chin Hills Battalion) and the 'Charging Elephant' was the symbol of the 4th Army Corps, to which he was posted but which was disbanded before he joined it.


My maternal grandfather's medals illustrate both the length and variety of his services. He was a per-war Territorial Sergeant Major in the Royal Artillery, and served in France as part of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force). He was wounded during the retreat to Dunkirk, and was lucky enough to be amongst those who were evacuated.

Once he had recovered from his wounds he became a Ship's Regimental Sergeant Major. He joined a small group of senior Army Warrant Officers who served aboard troopships. Their role was to provide a permanent on-board Army presence on the troopships, and their job was both administrative and disciplinary. As a result of this service, my grandfather was awarded a fairly unusual set of medals. These include:
  • The War Medal 1939-1945
  • The 1939-1945 Star
  • The Italy Star
  • The Atlantic Star
  • The Burma Star
  • The Pacific Star (which I don't think that he should have been awarded as he already qualified for the Burma Star. What he should have been awarded was a clasp to the Burma Star.)
I hope to put these medals into a couple of small cases that I can have on display somewhere in my home. They will serve to remind me of both my father's and grandfather's military service during World War II.

2 comments:

  1. "Never fear but in the skies
    Saints and angels stand
    Smiling with their holy eyes
    On this new-come band."

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  2. Conrad Kinch,

    This quote was unknown to me, but thanks to you I have now read 'Rouge Bouquet' by Joyce Kilmer ... and a very moving poem it is.

    Thank you for sharing it with me.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete