On 14th July 2012 two medals were auctioned and sold on EBAY for £249.00 plus £7.50 postage. The seller, a dealer in military medals stated that the two medals were the BRITISH WAR MEDAL and the VICTORY MEDAL

The excellent Great War Forum gives a description of the two medals

"The two British campaign medals commonly found as family heirlooms are nicknamed Mutt and Jeff: the British War Medal and the Victory Medal."

British War Medal, 1914-18 Also known as 'Squeak'.

The silver or bronze medal was awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Victory Medal. Also known as 'Wilfred'

It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory.

Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

But what made this pair of medals poignant was that the recipient was "13058 Pte H Hurst  8 York and Lancaster Reg" and it was these details that were impressed on the rim. What was not impressed on the rim was the fact that he died on the First Day of the Somme - 1st July 1916 alongside 20,000 other British soldiers

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives the following information

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 13058
Date of Death: 01/07/1916
Regiment/Service: York and Lancaster Regiment 8th Bn.
Panel Reference Pier and Face 14 A and 14 B. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Additional Information: Husband of Florence Hurst, of 29, Whixley Rd.,Darnall, Sheffield.

I then decided to see if I could add a bit more to the description!. For those that aren't familiar with the war, the fact that HENRY appears on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL meant that he had no known grave - in effect they never located and recovered his body

The FREE BMD site states that HENRY married a FLORENCE PEACH in 1904
Surname First name (s) District Volume Page Marriages Dec 1904 Hurst Henry Sheffield 9c 722 Peach Florence Sheffield 9c 722

Prior to that HENRY had been living at

Name Henry Hurst - 1901 Census Record
Relation to Head of Family Son
Age Last Birthday 17 Sex Male
Profession or Occupation Round ...In Coal Miner
Condition as to Marriage Single
Where Born Yorkshire Sheffield
Address 35 Sleaford St Civil Parish Attercliffe Cum Darnall Rural District Town or Village or Hamlet Ecclesiastical Parish Attercliffe Christ Church
Parliamentary Borough or Division Attercliffe Sheffield County Borough, Municipal Borough or Urban District Sheffield
Administrative County Sheffield Ward of Municipal Borough or Urban District Attercliffe Reference Information Folio 105 Page 12 Piece 4383

He was the son of EDWIN HURST (53) and ELIZA HURST (50). His father was a coal miner

Te years later HENRY and FLORENCE appear in the 1911 Census in a two-up two-down house

Name Henry Hurst
Relationship to Head of Household Head
Condition Married Gender Male Age 27 Estimated Year of Birth 1884
Occupation Hanger On Pit Bottom
Employed Yes Working at Home No
Industry Colliery Place of Birth Yorks hire Attercliffe
Enumerator Information Address 34 Whixley Road Sheffield Parish Sheffield Town Sheffield
Type of Building Private House Number of Rooms 4 Rooms Inhabited Yes
Reference RG14PN28017 RG78PN1600 RD510 SD7 ED29 SN56
Administrative County Yorkshire (West Riding) Registration District Sheffield Registration Sub District Attercliffe
Enumeration District 29 Reference Information Folio 111 Page 1 Piece 28017 RD number 510 SD number 7 ED number 29 Schedule 56

A Hanger On at the Pit Bottom put the full tubs of coal in and took the empty tubs out of the cage at the shaft bottom - an extremely strenuous job

Whixley Road Sheffield

But also living with HENRY and FLORENCE were a lodger, and their two young daughters Lily aged 4 and Annie Elizabeth aged 2

As to Henry's death, it appears that he and his comrades were slaughtered by the German machine guns that Saturday morning.

A history of the 8th York and Lancs states

"On the 30th June 1916 the 8th York and Lancs took up its final positions. The 70th Infantry Brigade would attack on the left of the Divisional line, the 8th K.O.Y.L.I. and 8th York and Lancs forming the assault battalions with the 9th York and Lancs in support and the 11th Sherwood Foresters in reserve.

After the artillery barrage lifted, the battalions began their assault near the village of Ovillers at 7.30am, 1st July 1916. Immediately after leaving their trenches the battalion came under heavy machine gun fire and most of the men were killed or wounded. The remainder carried on and took the enemy front line trenches and about 70 men eventually reached as far as the third line of German trenches, but only one man returned from there! What was left of the battalion remained fighting in the first line of trenches until overwhelmed.

Such was the ferocity of the fighting that the Germans were forced to move extra troops in to face the 70th Brigade and this enabled other British units to make significant advances.

The 8th York and Lancaster Regiment took 680 men and 23 Officers over the parapet, all the Officers were either killed or wounded and of the battalion only 68 returned. The 8th K.O.Y.L.I.ís losses were only marginally less. The battalion had effectively ceased to exist as a fighting unit and was withdrawn that evening."

If anyone can supply me with anymore information on HENRY and his family please contact me

In October 2012 I received an e-mail from Henry's great grand-daughter

"I was looking up the road where my mum was born on Google images today.  There was a picture of some medals and the name of my great grandfather Henry Hurst who died on the Somme.  When I read further I found more info that I have on my grandmother and great grandmother and great great grandparents.  You have asked for more information, what is it you would like to know?  I am still slightly in shock!"

Another mail received a couple of days later stated

"Thanks for your reply. I am feeling so sad because I have done the family history and have wondered whatever happened to his medals. I am afraid I have no pics sadly. My grandmother is Annie Elizabeth who is on the census shown."

Henry's great grand-daughter is unsure how and why Henry's medals that were awarded to him albeit posthumously in the Great War ended up with a militaria dealer.

In April 2013 a friend of mine went to France as part of a tour. He went to the Thiepval Memorial and on Saturday 27th Aprl 2013 took a photo of his inscription



Henry's parents are buried together in Sheffield's Burngreave Cemetery

HURST, Edwin (Coal Miner, age 64).
     Died at 31 Manderville St; Buried on February 8, 1912 in General ground;
     Grave Number 2, Section K3 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, C G Holt : Removed from Sheffield.     Plot Owner: Eliza HURST of 31                Mandeville Street.
HURST, Eliza (Widow, age 79).
     Died at 31 Mandeville Street; Buried on February 24, 1932 in General ground;
     Grave Number 2, Section K3 of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.
     Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, W H Dunn: Removed from Sheffield Parish.

EDWIN died before his son but ELIZA did not

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This page was last updated on 04/04/14 15:59