Tag Archives: tribute medal

The Presentation

After seven and a half months of saying “I really must do something” I finally started in earnest a couple of weeks ago, as you may have noticed in previous posts.

The result was a presentation that fell far short of my original plans. Fortunately, nobody apart from me knew this and I just tried to look confident and smile. It would probably be better if I was an habitual smiler. It doesn’t come naturally and it does tend to make me look like I’m auditioning for the part in the Ladykillers. Think 1955 Alec Guinness, not the new one.

The Ladykillers - look at that smile

The Ladykillers – look at that smile

The main thing is to remember that it’s rare that you have anyone in the audience that knows as much as you do. so yuo don’t need to be perfect.

There were a couple of complaints from the usual suspects about not being able to hear. They didn’t bother to tell me to speak up at the time and, as usual, they sat at the back, which isn’t the best place if you can’t hear.

Julia sat behind them. She could hear. In fact she said the only time she had trouble hearing was when the old gits were chuntering about not being able to hear.

Next time I will ask if everyone can hear me. Better still, I will prepare a slide saying – “Can you hear me at the back?”. After all, if they are that deaf they may not be able to hear me ask.

I will also set off earlier. I thought I set off in plenty of time, but the traffic congestion from the bridge works is clogging things up. I was stuck for 30 minutes at one point just to travel 100 yards and get round a roundabout.I had to text to say I was stuck, and then I had to get set up without practice.

When I pressed the button for the first slide it was the first time I’d ever used PowerPoint. Fortunately it’s (mainly) idiot proof and I only pressed the wrong button three times. That means I pressed the right button 21 times. Three sounds a small number but in percentage terms it’s not impressive.

At least with PowerPoint you don’t have to take loads of slides, you can’t load it wrong way round and it doesn’t jam, overheat or blow the bulbs. I’m sure I can work on this area and break PowerPoint, I just haven’t found out how to do it yet.

One thing I did do was get the notes disastrously wrong. Having taken advice from Julia I wrote notes in PowerPoint, assuming it would be easy to access them on the night. This, I felt, was far better than a pile of cards, reading glasses and poor light. We switched the machine on, I pressed the button, and I stared in panic…

Nothing.

I looked at the screen, I looked at the computer, I looked at Julia. Nothing. It turns out that there is slightly more to the notes feature than I thought.

You’re all thinking one of two things aren’t you? Some of you are thinking “I bet he has a back-up plan with a selection of colour-coded note cards linked to each slide”.

And some of you are thinking “I bet he has a back-up plan with a selection of colour-coded note cards linked to each slide, and I bet he left them next to his computer as he left the house.”

You are both right. I did have a back-up, and I did leave it at home.

So – a sea of faces, darkness, no notes on PowerPoint, a distance of five miles between me and my back-up cards. I have had better moments.

I thought of sneaking out before the lights came back on.

I’m not built for sneaking, so there was nothing more to be done. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and start…

Wath Main Colliery Tribute Medal

Wath Main Colliery Tribute Medal

The photos are a medallion given to the staff of the Wath Main Colliery Company. This one is to Harry Winder, who enlisted in 1915. He was a coal hewer and lived in a cottage with his parents and ten siblings. I suspect he was one of those people who found the army to be easier than living at home. In the army they often got better food and lighter work.

Wath Main Colliery Tribute MedalPicture3

Wath Main Colliery Tribute Medal

He did not, as far as I can see, serve overseas, as he was not A1 physically, due to a hernia sustained whilst mining, and he served with an Anti-Aircraft Battery for three years.

The German bombing campaign in the Great War consisted of 51 airship raids and 27 aircraft raids. They killed 1,392 people and injured 3,330. They lost 30 airships and 62 aircraft, so Harry Winder was doing an important job. Compared to the 43,000 killed in 1939-41, this is not a big number, but it is surprisingly large when you consider the technology in use.

I can only find one other definite trace of Harry Winder in the records as there was another man of the same name in the area and this confuses matters. The following newspaper report from 1923 is definitely “our” Harry Winder though.

Picture1

 

 

 

 

More from Sibsey

I wanted a look at the church and war memorial at Sibsey because I have a medallion awarded to a Sibsey man for his part in the Great War – normally called a tribute medal. It’s just over an inch high and I always thought it was a watch fob, but I’ve recently seen one pictured and it should have a bar and pin, the bar bearing the words “Sibsey Boys Fund Great War Souvenir”. Research doesn’t always turnn up the things you want. Corporal Good seems to have survived the war, as he doesn’t appear on the war memorial.

According to the Boston Guardian 22 January 1916, Corporal S. Good of the RAMC had just spent a week on leave with his parents, Mr and Mrs F Good  of Sibsey. I used this information to check the census – no sign of him in 1911, but he was listed in 1891 – Samuel Good.

I haven’t been able to pick him up on the military records, which is annoying, but I did pick him up on the 1939 Roll, the one that was used for ID Cards and rationing. As the 1931 Census results were destroyed in the Blitz and the 1941 Census was postponed, the 1939 list is quite important.

In 1939 he was the landlord of the Britannia Inn, Church St, Boston. It is now “Boston’s premier fun bar”. Those words, to be honest, appear to be like a glimpse into hell.

Searching newspapers on-line for the pub name I found that his wife had died in 1942, that they had been married 15 years and that they had one daughter, who went to Boston High School. He was an ex-serviceman, holder of the Mons Star and two of his brothers had died as a result of being gassed in the previous war.

I have found that he set fire to his curtains when he used petrol in an attempt to light his fire and that he was summonsed for two blackout offences during the war, which is ironic when you consider that he was an Air Raid Warden.

There’s still a lot more to find, but I’ve managed to rough out a good part of his life, which will be appearing as part of my talk at the Numismatic Society. There is, however, quite a lot more to do.

 

When Things Go Wrong…

Have you ever noticed that when something goes wrong, more problems follow? Say, for instance, that you fall asleep in front of the TV and wake up with just thirty posting minutes before midnight, the computer seems to slow down and photos refuse to load.

Well, that’s the sort of night I’m currently having.

I’m posting now, then I’m going back to write the rest of the post and add photos, so if you’ve read so far and there is nothing more to read you may want to come back in twenty minutes.

I started off with a blood test, arriving at 7.20 to find a longer queue than usual and a notive on the wall telling me that the average wait last month was 12 minutes. This is three minutes (or 25%) longer than the nine minutes claimed last time. Or 33% depending which number you start with – I’ve never quite understood which is the right way round. It didn’t matter, because the actual wait was over twenty minutes.

It seemed longer because I’d forgotten my glasses. I’ve broken two sets recently and the situation regarding spares is getting tricky. As in, I have no spares. The current position is that I have misplaced two sets and broken two, which just leaves me with one set – the ones that make me look like Clark Kent.

OK, I look like Clark Kent in an alternative universe where he looks like a well-worn version of Santa Claus, but the glasses are similar.

I’m now waiting for the results.

We had a reasonably active day, with twelve parcels after which I visited friends and went home early to do a few jobs. These included drinking tea, watching Pointless and doing a little light snoozing.

I also started listing my collection of Peace and Tribute medals from the Great War as I’m doing a talk on them for the Numismatic Society next year. Yes, 2020, a year after the centenary of the Peace Celebrations in 2019. I have a gift for timing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Huddersfield Peace Medal.

I’m gathering information at the moment, which is where I’ve been all night – head stuck in the internet looking for interesting anecdotes about Peace Medals. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait for next year as I don’t want to use all my material in advance of the big day.

Did I mention that I don’t like public speaking? My aversion to public speaking is greater than my combined aversion to working, spending money or eating salad. Yes, I’d rather work as a buyer in a salad factory than give a talk. The only thing that outweighs this is my vanity.

There are basically two types of medal that come under the Peace Medal banner – the cheap white metal ones given out to children as part of the Peace Day Celebration and the better quality ones given to returning servicemen to thank them for their service.

I mentioned in a previous post that things did not go well at all Peace Day Celebrations. The ones in Luton, for instance, went spectacularly wrong.

Here are two examples of the different sorts of medal.. They are all larger than life size.

Plymouth Peace Medal for School children.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Washington & Barmston Tribute Medal

Washington & Barmston Tribute Medal in silver and enamel. Note that the town gave rise to a famous surname, and the coat of arms was used, according to informed conjecture, to have been used in the design of the Stars and Stripes.

Low Cunning and Bidding on ebay

Last week I bid £120 on a medallion. I’ve already had a discussion on thrift, common sense and my sanity with Julia, so we’ll gloss over that. My defence is that collecting is a mental condition rather than a hobby.

It’s like the one in the header picture but the reverse has the coat of arms of Skegness. The one in the picture is the commoner one with the coat of arms of Lincoln on the reverse.

There is a picture of the Skegness medal and much other material here.

I didn’t get it, and was annoyed to be the underbidder to a winning bid of £122. I was a bit shocked to be honest, as I really thought it should only be £80 – £90. The extra was the safety net to ensure I got it.

Ah well, some you win and some you lose.

Then it immediately reappeared for sale, using the same photographs, but this time with a reserve. Curiouser and curiouser as they say. Well, Alice said it in Wonderland, and there’s a lot in ebay that reminds me of life through the Looking Glass.

I watched it. I considered writing to ask what was happening. I thought of reporting it to ebay, because it looked like someone had bid it up and bought it back themselves by accident. Such things have been known, though I can’t say for sure. I can only say that I was suspicious, and that there were certain indications that this was the case.

Anyway, I didn’t bid. I watched, I compared the bidders with the bidders on the previous “sale” and I waited. Eventually I decided what to do and put a bid on it. Someone outbid me. It was the same bidder that had outbid me last time.

This was where my low cunning came in.

I bid again, just another £2.

They bid again and outbid me again.

But, I think they got the message – that there would be no big bid this time – and they didn’t bid again when I added an extra couple of quid. After all, how many times do you want to buy your own stuff back? It gets expensive when you have commission to pay.

Nobody else bid either and I closed the sale at £87. It’s enough, but it’s £33 cheaper than I bid on the previous one. Assuming my earlier suspicions were justified I’d like to think of it as both a result (better price) and a lesson (greed doesn’t pay).