TheGenealogist Adds a New Online Database of First World War Medal Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

Newly released for the first time are First World War Medal Records that crossed the great social class divide

Over 117,000 ‘Military Medals’ were awarded in the First World War for ‘acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire’. These records are now available to view online complete with an image of the actual Medal Card and a link to the official government publication of the time. It’s a unique, comprehensive set of records available only on TheGenealogist.co.uk

The Military Medal was awarded to ‘Non Commissioned Officers and Ordinary Ranks’ and covers exceptional courage as a soldier in battle. It also was awarded for those that risked their lives trying to save others, often in extreme danger. The Medal Records on TheGenealogist show people from a wide range of backgrounds and social classes, including a number of young women from very privileged families who chose to drive ambulances and rescue the wounded in the mud of battle.

The role of ‘stretcher bearer’ was one of the most dangerous jobs of the time and surprisingly, the records show many women bridged social constraints of the time to risk life and limb to help rescue and bring in soldiers wounded in battle.

Details now available on TheGenealogist range from the most highly decorated Military Medal recipient, stretcher bearer Private Ernest Corey of the 55th Australian Infantry, to Lady Dorothie May Evelyn Feilding-Moore, the daughter of the Earl of Denbigh (the first female recipient of the Medal), to Mairi Lambert Gooden-Chisholm who rescued a German pilot from no-man’s land. Both men and women, crossing the social divide and class customs of pre-1914 to demonstrate outstanding bravery.

The new Military Medal records provide:

  • Full details of the person winning the medal – their rank, regiment, date of medal citation and the details of their heroism in battle
  • Sophisticated search techniques to find the medal recipient with just one mouse click
  • A further addition to the comprehensive medal and First World War records now available on TheGenealogist.co.uk

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content comments: “With our military record releases in 2014, we are aiming to cover all aspects of The First World War. Every new record set unearths surprises and the Military Medal collection is no different as we discover the female front line heroes listed alongside those who fought to protect our freedom. These unique records consistently provide fascinating tales behind them.”

More details on the records of the First World War ‘Military Medals’ can be found at www.TheGenealogist.co.uk/military-medal.

One Comment

including a number of young women from very privileged families who chose to drive ambulances and rescue the wounded in the mud of battle.

Of course we have to ask why were “young women from very privileged families” who distinguished themselves awarded the Military Medal (the medal for other ranks) and not the Military Cross (the medal for Officers from “more privileged” families)?

Because the powers that be did not know what to do with women. They discussed allowing them to be “temporary gentlemen” (like men from the ranks who were commissioned for the “duration”), but in the end decided that they would rank “with the other ranks” – but they remained “Ladies”.

The London Gazette gives the following citation:
His Majesty the KING has been pleased to approve of the award of the Military Medal to the under mentioned Ladies -for distinguished services in the Field, as recorded: —
Miss Sarah Bonnell, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry,
Miss Evelyn Gordon-Brown, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry,
Miss Aileen Maude Faulkner, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry,
Miss Evelyn Faulder, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry,
Miss Nellie Dewhurst, V.A.D., attd. First Aid Nursing Yeomanry.
For gallantry and conspicuous devotion to duty, when an ammunition dump had been set on fire by enemy bombs and the only available ambulance for the removal of wounded had been destroyed. These ladies subsequently arrived with three ambulances, and, despite the danger arising from various explosions, succeeded in removing all the wounded. Their conduct throughout was splendid. War Office, 8th July, 1918.

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