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18 September 2014
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A Soldier's Tale


Click on the objects pictured below to piece together the military career of Frederick Henry Johnson Hall. Choose between his five medals, watch, soldier's service book, ration tin and cemetery report, to find out what they can tell you about him.

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Image of Frederick Henry Johnson Hall
Image of Frederick Henry Johnson Hall Image of Frederick Hall's Queen's South Africa Medal 1899-1902 Image of Frederick Hall's King's South Africa Medal 1901-1902 Image of Frederick Hall's 1914-15 Star Image of British War Medal 1914-20Image of Frederick Hall's Victory Medal 1914-18
Image of Frederick Hall's watch Image of Frederick Hall's service book
Image of Frederick Hall's ration tin Image of Frederick Hall's cemetery certificate
Obverse of Queen's South Africa Medal

Reverse of Queen's South Africa Medal

Queen's South Africa Medal 1899-1902

Obverse: veiled head of Queen Victoria and the words 'VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX' ('Victoria Queen and Empress')
Reverse: figure of Britannia with a flag in her left hand extending a laurel wreath towards advancing soldiers. In the background is the sea with two warships; above are the words 'SOUTH AFRICA'.

Personal details engraved on the rim
Fred’s medal is named '90018 Dvr F H HALL RHA'. This indicates his unique regimental number (the key to much research in Army records), his rank of Driver (as opposed to Gunner, or Bombardier) and his unit, in this case the Royal Horse Artillery. The Horse Artillery was organised into batteries (ie a concentration of artillery), and broadly speaking, they supported the cavalry. The Royal Field Artillery supported the infantry.

Clasps
The clasps (often called 'bars') on the Queen’s Medal represent the different actions and campaigns in which Fred Hall took part. Fred arrived too late to take part in the early battles of the war, but was in the right place on 31 May 1900 to earn the Johannesburg clasp, was present at the battle of Diamond Hill (11-12 June) and the battle of Belfast (26-27 August). He was also on active service in the Orange Free State and Cape Colony. The clasp South Africa 1901 was normally awarded to those who did not qualify for the King’s Medal (see below) and its appearance here is an anomaly.

In all, twenty-six separate clasps were issued, although the maximum number that could be earned on any one medal was nine to the Army and eight to the Navy. Medals were issued to a very wide variety of units, of which some were employed for the first time in theatre of war, eg Balloon and Photographic sections and Cyclist units.

The ribbon The medal ribbon is 32mm wide, and is described as red, with two dark blue stripes and a broad orange central stripe.

Who received it?
Struck in silver, it was awarded to the British Army, Royal Navy, members of the colonial forces who took part in the campaign (from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and South Africa itself) and civilians employed in official capacities (including war correspondents). Some medals were struck in bronze for native troops. The name, number and regiment/unit of the recipient is normally impressed on the rim, although those issued to officers were engraved.

More about researching medals and badges.

 





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