Mentioned in despatches and proudly displayed
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.”
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.”
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