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Family History Society

The Frome branch of the Somerset and Dorset Family History Society welcomed Adrian Hockedy to their November meeting to talk about the medals of World War One and how he became interested in collecting them.

After a technical problem kindly sorted out by the library staff Adrian explained how he first got interested in collecting medals some 15 years ago. He now has over 200, mainly those from soldiers serving with the Somerset Light Infantry but also those belonging to casualties from Frome and the surrounding areas.

Adrian explained that all WW1 medals are individually named and that they vary according to the date of entry into the war and whether the recipient served in combat.

He also explained about the significance of the silver medal awarded to men who had served but whose service was no longer required usually due to injury or illness. The purpose of the silver medal was to inform others that the person wearing it had done his duty.

Most serving soldiers were awarded three medals, the combination of a Star, Victory Medal and War Medal (more than 2.5m trios were issued). This combination earned for itself the nickname “Pip, Squeak and Wilfred”.

Using examples of several local men Adrian then took us through the resources available to find out as much as possible about the soldier that interested us, many are available on which is free to use in the library, but other useful sources include the London Gazette, the absent voters list (this included all serving soldiers still away in 1918) and of course the local paper.

Our next event will be on Tuesday 26th January 2016, the annual business meeting will be followed by Michael McGarvie talking about the history of Mells. The regular family history advice sessions continue on the first Saturday in the month. If you are interested in coming please book a place with the library staff.

Chris Featherstone