I have been researching family history from my paternal grandmother’s side. I have always been interested in objects with a history behind them, whether something displayed and preserved in a museum cabinet, or ephemeral postcards with handwritten memoirs on them. In a way, I personify the object, viewing it as a glimpse into the past, and forming a link between the previous owners and the present. The object acts as a witness to the passing of time and outliving several generations. I have been looking through a couple of bags full of objects and ephemera passed through my family.
One small velvet lined box contains military documents, badges, and medals dating from the first World War. There are also a couple of small metropolitan police medals from 1897 commemorating the service of officers on duty during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria. Another medal from 1902 is for officers on duty during the Coronation of Edward VII.
Through family stories backed up with genealogy research, I know that these are the medals belonging to my Great, Great Grandfather, George Elbby Smith. He was later enlisted during World War One and was a Staff Seargent with the Mechanical Transport Army Service Corps, in London until his death from dysentery in Fulham Military Hospital in 1918.
The other military medals and military forms are from another relative, Michael Connelly, who was part of the King’s Scottish Borderers. One of the medals is inscribed with his name. I have also been able to view copies of documents online which reveal some information about his military life. Interestingly, some of these documents have been damaged by fire, so only fragments remain.