What more can you tell me about these war medals won by my relatives? We help Michael Ogden with his research into three sets of world war medals
I’m researching the First and Second World War medals of my relatives. One of them was Warrant Officer WG Ogden who won the Military Cross ( MC) in France. He was in the Armament Artificer Section of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. His medals are held by his grandson in South Africa who sent all the photographs. WG Ogden died in 1934.
Another set of medals, I believe, are those of WG Ogden’s son, Peter, who served in the Second World War. A final set belong to a JB Fernie who also won the MC. His name is engraved round the edge of them all, one of which reads “DRFF. REINET CDC”.
I can’t find out who JB Fernie was. There was an entry in a list of South African forces in the London Gazette on 20 April 1920 for a 2nd Lieutenant JB Fernie, released on 20 February 1919. However, there was no mention of the award of an MC! What can you tell me about the medals? Michael Ogden by email
AThough at first glance we seem to have three sets of medals for different people, I’ve wondered whether we have two people’s medals that have become muddled. Now I’m just confused. However, I do have more information that might help.
The first set (shown top right) appears to be Walter Ogden’s. The MC is on the left, followed by the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal (BWM), the Victory Medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
The next set (shown middle right) consists of Second World War medals – left to right there’s the 1939/45 Star, the Burma Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal and the Efficiency Decoration, awarded to part-time soldiers for 20 years’ service. It was only instituted in 1930 so the award must post-date that. These presumably are Peter Ogden’s.
The final set (shown bottom) is a mixture of First World War (as in the first set) and Second World War medals – the two on the right are the Defence Medal and the War Medal. If Walter Ogden died in 1934 this set can’t be his.
I showed the photos to two veteran medal collectors. Both commented that sets two and three are actually photographs of miniature medals. They point out that the 14/15 Star in set two is the same size as the BWM next to it but it’s clearly much larger in set one. This indicates those in set two are miniatures; the quality of the engraving on sets two and three also indicates that they’re miniatures.
If the last set belongs to Fernie, there’s a problem. I’ve checked the list of awards to officers in Honour the Officers (Michael Maton, Token Publishing, 2009), which includes South Africans, and he’s not listed, so he can’t have been awarded the MC as an officer. You’ve found 2nd Lieutenant JB Fernie being released from the South African Army Service Corps (SAASC) in February 1919.
A further search of The Gazette of 10 February 1919 shows, on 16 September 1918, a James Blyth Fernie was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the SAASC. This must be him. Just as there’s no MC mentioned in The Gazette when he was demobbed, there’s no mention of him having an MC when he was commissioned. The MC was an award usually made to officers but it could, as in Walter Ogden’s case, be awarded to Warrant Officers (senior sergeants). If so, The Gazette would have indicated it; on the same page we see a Captain AB Fyffe MC being promoted to Major. Could your great uncle’s miniatures somehow have become muddled with Fernie’s miniatures creating the illusion of Fernie having been awarded the MC?
On Fernie’s medals, what appears to be “DRFF.REINET CDC” probably reads “GRFF REINET CDO” representing the Graaff Reinet Commando, a volunteer force based in Graaff Reinet, Cape Province, South Africa. They served in the German South West Africa campaign of 1914/15, so it’s probably for fighting there that Fernie was awarded his campaign medals. Phil Tomaselli
This set comprises both First and Second World War medals
These WW2 medals were probably awarded to Peter Ogden
These First World War medals appear to be Walter Ogden’s