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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

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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

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