Men­tioned in despatches and proudly dis­played

Black Country Bugle - - YOUR LETTERS - By JOHN WORK­MAN

PETER Ed­wards is an­other Bu­gle reader who would like to regis­ter his thanks to the First World War gen­er­a­tion for help­ing us to achieve the fre­dom we en­joy to­day.

He would also like to pay trib­ute to a sol­dier of the Great War on be­half of his friend Ken Field who sadly passed away in 2003. The Bu­gle had the plea­sure of in­ter­view­ing Ken about his fam­ily and es­pe­cially about his ca­reer at Guy Mo­tors of which he was es­pe­cially proud. But just be­fore the ar­ti­cle was pub­lished fif­teen years ago we re­ceived the sad news that Ken had died. As Pete ex­plained: “He was a lovely man who had be­come my best friend. We met at Guy Mo­tors way back when, work­ing in the same area of the fac­tory. He was Fore­man on the cab track and I was store keeper is­su­ing parts to the cab track, so we were con­stantly work­ing to­gether. When he be­came ill in the lat­ter days of his life he made me cus­to­dian of some pre­cious fam­ily arte­facts which cover sev­eral fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries and I wanted the Bu­gle to be able to take a look at the items I have be­fore I de­cide who is best to take over the cus­to­di­an­ship of them af­ter me.”

“Bear­ing in mind the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of the First World War is just days away I know Ken would have been over the moon to see a trib­ute to his fa­ther who served with the Royal Army Ser­vice Corps.”

Prodi­gious

The RASC were the un­sung he­roes of the Bri­tish Army in the Great War. It was im­pos­si­ble for sol­diers to fight with­out food, equip­ment and am­mu­ni­tion and it was the job of the RASC to pro­vide them. Us­ing horse and mo­tor ve­hi­cles, rail­ways and wa­ter­ways they per­formed prodi­gious feats of lo­gis­tics and were one of the great strengths of or­gan­i­sa­tion by which the war was won. For his part Ken’s dad Henry Field, who had be­come a lance cor­po­ral dur­ing his ser­vice, re­ceived his War Medal and Vic­tory Medal plus a very im­por­tant oak leaf clus­ter on his bar which de­noted he had been in re­ceipt of despatches, the de­tails of which were pre­sented on a won­der­ful cetifi­cate he re­ceived af­ter the war. This was al­ways promi­nently dis­played on the wall at his home in Wolver­hamp­ton. The despatches ci­ta­tion is kept in a dark wood frame and reads as fol­lows:

“The war of 1914-1918. Royal Army Ser­vice Corps M2/136045 L/C H. J. Field was men­tioned in a Des­patch from Field Mar­shall Sir Dou­glas Haig dated 16th March 1919 for gal­lant and dis­tin­guished ser­vices in the field. I have it in com­mand from the King to record His Majesty’s high ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the ser­vices ren­dered.”

Churchill

It had been sent di­rectly from the War Of­fice in White­hall on July 1st 1919 and signed by the War Min­is­ter at the time Win­ston S. Churchill. Un­for­tu­nately there is no one left to ask about the cir­cum­stances that led to Henry re­ceiv­ing Despatches, but none­the­less he must have been brave to re­ceive the words “gal­lant and dis­tin­guished ser­vices in the field”.

Peter knows Henry was a driver for the RASC and af­ter the war worked as a chauf­feur at Ban­tock House in Wolver­hamp­ton. His wife Emma worked as a cook there and they lived in the ser­vant’s quar­ters on site.

(Above)the Despatches ci­ta­tion cer­tifi­cate. (Be­low) Henry’s ser­vice medals and the all im­por­tant oak leaf clus­ter on the bar

Ken Field dur­ing his time at Guy Mo­tors in Wolver­hamp­ton

A proud Ken Field in 2003

Peter Ed­wards, cus­to­dian of Ken’s fam­ily his­tory

Henry Field

Emma Field

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