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Researching a family friends ww1 military medal

Article about: Hi everybody, I am trying to help out a family friend with researching his fathers medal, and for what it was awarded. Any help on this would be VERY greatly appreciated as I have come up ag

  1. #1

    Default Researching a family friends ww1 military medal

    Hi everybody, I am trying to help out a family friend with researching his fathers medal, and for what it was awarded.
    Any help on this would be VERY greatly appreciated as I have come up against a brick wall and don't know where to go from here.

    Below is all the information I have managed to obtain, so please have a read and let me know if you have any suggestions, or if anyone knows even if it is possible to find out what a particular MM was awarded for???

    anyway here we go!! (sorry for the length of this post)

    John Gleeson, a dear family friend who is ninetytwo, would dearly like to know more about how his father won the Military Medal.
    He is intensely proud of the fact that his father served in WW1 ,(John himself was in the RAF in WW2) , and knows that his father worked as a tunneller , but only has the following pieces of paper records. The medal itself has passed to another member of the family who he has lost contact with.

    These are the details of John’s snippets of information.
    A clipping – not know from where but which quotes a piece from the London Gazette which says:
    (London Gazette 14th September 1916)
    His Majesty the King has been graciously
    pleased to award the Military Medal for
    bravery in the field to the undermentioned:

    Then follows a list which includes;
    [U][/U]132987 Sapper H.J.Gleeson

    CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT DURING THE WAR.
    Reg. Number: 132987 Rank: Sapper
    Surname: Gleeson
    Christian Names: Henry Joseph
    Regt. Royal Engineers Unit: 251(T) Coy R.E.

    Regimental Employment:
    254 (T) Coy. Royal Engineers 21st October 1915 to 19th May 1917
    251 (T) Coy. Royal Engineers 20th May to 12th December 1918


    Trade before enlistment: Coal Miner Group 3
    Courses of Instruction and Courses in Active Service – None
    This means that Henry won the MM whilst serving with 245 Tunnellers Company in 1916

    Under “Special Remarks” his commanding officer (Major G A Church) has written:
    “A handy man around the mines. Can tend all classes of pumps. The harder the conditions, the more this man may be trusted to do the impossible”

    CERTIFICATE OF EARLY RELEASE
    There is a little slip of paper, (A certificate), which tells that, as from 12th December, 1918, Henry was given an early release from military duties in order to undertake work of “immediate importance” as a miner. The word MINER is emblazoned across the certificate.

    CERTIFICATE OF TRANSFER TO RESERVE ON DEMOBILISATION
    This shows that he was transferred to Army Reserve on 13th January 1919
    Under “Medals and Decorations awarded during present engagement” is written:
    “Authorised prior to 11/11/18, Military Medal vide London Gazette 10/10/16”
    (Vide is Latin for “see”)

    Medal Roll Index Card
    Has little to add. Underneath his name is written “MM”
    He was awarded the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the 1915 Star.
    However, it does give the information that he first served in the “Theatre of War” in Egypt on 7th December 1915.

    well that's it..... hope someone out there can help this dear old veteran out!
    many thanks for reading.
    Ed
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...."
    - Major-General John Sedgwick, 9 may 1864.
    Killed by a sniper during the battle of Spotsylvania..

  2. #2

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    I have sent a link to this thread to a friend on another forum who specialises in WWI tunnelers and hopefully he can respond here or to me and I can forward any info to here.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  3. #3

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    Quote by Jerry B View Post
    I have sent a link to this thread to a friend on another forum who specialises in WWI tunnelers and hopefully he can respond here or to me and I can forward any info to here.
    Jerry B youre a star!!
    thanks a lot mate,
    kind regards
    Ed
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...."
    - Major-General John Sedgwick, 9 may 1864.
    Killed by a sniper during the battle of Spotsylvania..

  4. #4

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    Quote by bananamafia View Post
    Jerry B youre a star!!
    thanks a lot mate,
    kind regards
    Ed
    Your welcome Ed and hopefully he can help.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  5. #5

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    Hi Ed, for interest sake, I've attached is Medal Index Card. As you can see can see, he was in Egypt in 1915.

    Cheers,

    Tom
    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6

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    Many thanks Tom,
    any ideas why a Miner would have been sent to Egypt??
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...."
    - Major-General John Sedgwick, 9 may 1864.
    Killed by a sniper during the battle of Spotsylvania..

  7. #7

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    The information that my friend discovered and sent to Ed.

    251 Tunn Coy took over the line at Noeux les Mines in 1915 from 170 Tunn Coy and remained in that area for most of the war. The captain of the Company at the time was Capt F Bullen.

    They initally made defensive tunnels in the area and pushed out branch gallery's from a mine crater on their front, which was close timbered using RE caing material. During this drive out towards the German line a small hole appeared in the top corner of the face and a strong current of air was felt blowing into their gallery. They quickly plugged the hole and perpared a charge and tamped the explosive with sandbags leaving a space between the top of the bags and the gallery roof, large enough for a man to crawl through. Lt Hansen crawled to where the hole was but saw a torch light and immediately extinguished all lights and lay motionless on the floor. The germans had found the breach in their own gallery and were exploring the British workings. The German soldier actually trod on the Lts back and after a short struggle, Hansen crawled over the barrier fully tamped the charge and blew the mine after clearing away all the British infantry. This destroyed the German workings.

    251 Tunn Coy were engaged with a number of other companies constructing subways in the Souchez and Vimy sector in preparation for the attack in April 1917. They constructed 12 such tunnels to bring troops up to the front undetected.

    251 fired the last British mine of the war on 10/8/17 named "Warlingham". They detontated 9000lbs of ammonal at 7am that morning.

    In conjunction with 2/4 East Lancs they constructed Russian saps for a raid on enemny lines near La Basee

    In April 1918, they held the line during the German Spring offensive with the Portuguese, which included the Portuguese Mining section., under the command of capt D Ivor Evans MC. On 9/4/18 some of the Coy were deployed placing charges in the canal culverts but the enemy attacked and the Portuguese line broke. The men deployed on the front to destroy the culverts from 251 were not seen again. The rest of the company fought as Infantry.

    254 Coys claim to fame is the withdrawal from Gallipoli and the only Tunnelling VC winner, William Hackett. They were in the line near Givenchy in 1916 and blew the famous Red Dragon crater on the RWF front.


    It is interesting that the MIC states he served initially in Egypt. His number is a Tunnelling block number. However, I have had 2 trios awarded to Tunnelling number blocks that the MIC states they served in Egypt. I am beginning to think these MICs were recorded wrongly. Both the ones I have are 5 digit 82 numbers which are Tunn numbers. I cannot see a man with mining experience slipping through to Egypt. However, this may fit in with the mining Operations during the withdrawal from Gallipoli at the time.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  8. #8

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    Well I know this is an old post, but this morning I went round to mr Gleesons for a chat and cup of coffee, and to my surprise he had temporarily got his dads medals for me to look at so I thought I would take a quick pic.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	641855
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...."
    - Major-General John Sedgwick, 9 may 1864.
    Killed by a sniper during the battle of Spotsylvania..

  9. #9

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    Nice, but needs to swap the ribbons around! Cheers, Tom

  10. #10

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    Quote by thorne83 View Post
    Nice, but needs to swap the ribbons around! Cheers, Tom
    oops! didn't even notice that!!!
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...."
    - Major-General John Sedgwick, 9 may 1864.
    Killed by a sniper during the battle of Spotsylvania..

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