Did my husband’s father receive a medal for gallantry in WW1?
My husband believes his father received a Citation for Gallantry in the First World War. He remembers it hanging on the wall in his parents’ home, but then it disappeared.
The London Gazette is not an option because he was not an officer and has a very common name – John Booth. He was in the Middlesex Regiment and his service number was G/14007. My husband is now 83 and it would mean a great deal to him if he could have confirmation that this citation existed. Rosemary Booth, by email
AYour husband may be 83, but there’s nothing wrong with his memory! You are slightly wrong, however, about the London Gazette being only for officers. True, it only reports on officers being commissioned or promoted, but it does mention ordinary soldiers who are awarded gallantry or good conduct medals. First, visit www.thegazette.co.uk and go to ‘Awards and Accreditation’. Enter the soldier’s number in the text search box (it works better with numbers) and limit the publication dates to between 4 August 1914 and the end of 1922 (it took a long time to catch up with so much First World War gallantry). Tick ‘Decorations and Medals’ then hit ‘Search’. You should find Private John Booth, Middlesex Regiment, 14007, being awarded the Military Medal (MM) on 14 May 1919.
Awards on this date were for gallantry on the Western Front from August to October 1918. John’s battalion, 1st Middlesex, took part in numerous actions during this time. Unfortunately, citations weren’t published for MMs – they were given out with the medal itself – which is why it was on the wall. The author Howard Williamson has spent years researching the MM and hopes to publish the best available list of recommendations and citations in 2016. Phil Tomaselli