Wilfred’s War

Wilfred Laws (1896 – 1956) served in WWI. It was known in the family that he had been in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). His records do not appear to have survived the bombing of WWII (or I have not managed to find them) and the only records I have found so far are two British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards. They provide the information that he did indeed serve in the RAMC as a private and his regimental number was 75141. He was entitled to the Victory Medal and the British War Medal; the award was entered on Roll RAMC/101 31 Page 2225.

At its simplest the British War Medal was awarded to army personnel who entered a theatre of war between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. The Victory Medal was awarded to those eligible personnel who served on the establishment of a unit in an operational theatre.

Wilfred’s Medal Card is also annotated “MM”. This sent me looking for an additional Medal Card as the annotation indicates that he was also awarded the Military Medal.

The Military Medal was instituted in March 1916. It was created as an award for warrant officers, NCOs and men and women for gallantry and meritorious service. Its award is announced in the London Gazette.

Wilfred’s second card is headed –  Awarded “The Military Medal” and stamped “France”. His name is recorded as LAWS W, Rank Pte, Corps 137th Fd Amb RAMC, Regimental Number 75141, Date of Gazette 13.3.18 Registered Paper 68/121/402 Schedule Number 144542.

This confirms his regimental number and his corps but also provides the theatre of war – France – and his actual unit – 137th Field Ambulance. It in no way provides all the answers but it is a start. Unfortunately the entry in the London Gazette gives no details of the citation, that is the act which lead to the award of the Military Medal. I do not have any of his medals and do not know where they are. There are further avenues of research that I will need to pursue.




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