Smethwickian QSA/MM Combinations.
My confirmed database contains 206 Smethwickians who served in the ABW, 3 forfeited their QSA’s leaving 203 who received them. Of the 203 one was an officer and 4 were killed in action and 7 died of disease.
36 went on to serve in WW1 and 4 received the MM – making a ratio of 1 MM to 50 QSA’s in round figures.
They four were:
who served in the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards in the ABW and the ASC in WW1. He was attached to the 56th Field Ambulance when he was awarded the MM. QSA with 3 clasps – Cape Colony, Orange Free State & Belfast (he went out as a draft) & KSA with both date clasps. MM gazetted 29/08/1918, rank Sergeant. (Biography nearing completion.)
who served in the 2nd Battalion KRRC in the ABW and was serving in the Labour Corps in WW1 when he was awarded the MM. QSA with 1 clasp – Cape Colony (he went out as a draft). MM gazetted 13th November 1918, rank Sergeant. (Biography in preparation.)
who served in the 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment in the ABW and the 2nd Battalion in WW1. QSA with 5 clasps – Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 & South Africa 1902. MM gazetted 11/11/1916, rank Private. He was presented with his MM whilst in a VAD hospital in Shrewsbury in early March 1917. He was also mentioned in despatches.
George William Taylor
who served in the Volunteer Service Company, 1st Battalion in the ABW. He emigrated to Australia before the start of WW1 and served with 1st Field Company of the Australian Engineers. After being awarded the MM (gazetted 17/12/1917) he was awarded the DCM (gazetted 06/02/1918). He died on 19th August 1918 from wounds received a few days earlier when a stray shell landed next to him whilst he was in billets. His rank at death was Sergeant. QSA with 5 clasps – Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 & South Africa 1902. I don’t need to write his biography as there are already two detailed versions in existence. His medals and other memorabilia were presented to the Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia. As you can see from the photo below his ABW medals have suffered, a clasp has been lost and a medal to which he was not entitled has been added. The museum are aware of these issues.
There is no doubt that Cleaver & Winter qualify as Smethwickians as they were both born there. Fripp and Taylor were born elsewhere but both lived in Smethwick and Fripp died there. All four made the local paper at the time for their exploits but they are all now forgotten in Smethwick, something I hope to rectify. Taylor as a member of the Smethwick Militia who volunteered, along with 25 others, to go overseas and fight in the ABW was commemorated in 1903 in Smethwick Town Hall. When I lived in Smethwick the Town Hall had become the Central Library and I passed the memorial many times without giving it much, if any, thought. The building now houses the Sandwell Archives and the memorial is still there. Other members of the Taylor family died in WW1 and Fripp had a son who he named after General Joffre and went on to fly Spitfires in WW2 and is a listed Battle of Britain pilot.