Roger Bennett, a police diver from the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Marine Unit, was searching for a murder weapon at the bottom of the River Loxley just to the North of Sheffield. During his dive he found what he first thought was an old coin, but when Mr Bennett resurfaced, realised he had actually found a medal. And with help from Clifton Park Museum in Rotherham determined that the medal belonged to Lance Corporal Stephen Smith the York and Lancaster Regiment. The young soldier fought in Gallipoli in Turkey on 2 July 1915 and died from wounds he received at Suvla bay on 9 August 2015. “I initially thought it was a coin, but as soon as I realised that it was medal I was amazed. We quickly made the decision to attempt to reunite the medal with Stephen’s family. Our research started within hours of us finding it. We put a couple of photos on social media and the rest is history…” The family of Lance Corporal Smith got in touch after seeing pictures of the newly polished medal on Twitter and Roger added that: “We were thrilled to track down Stephen’s family and it was fantastic to learn more about his story, despite it being such a sad ending. I’m so pleased that we have been able to reunite them with such a precious and important part of their family history” Lance Corporal Smith’s family agreed to donate the medal to the Clifton Park after a genealogical search traced 22 living family members with some living as far away as Canada.Reverend Julian Cliff, who was Lance Corporal Smith’s great nephew, never knew his grandmother had any other family and the 22 family members met for the first time at the museum more than a century after Lance Corporal Smith’s death. Julian told the South Yorkshire Police “At first I thought it was a hoax, but once things started to fall in to place I was so grateful that Roger and the team had decided to find us. They went beyond the call of duty and they have brought a family together - most of us have never met before today.”
On Sunday the 11th of November 2018 at 11am the country will fall silent to remember those who fought for our country. This year Armistice Day and Remembrance Day fall on the same day, sometimes this day is also known more informally as Poppy Day. Each year veterans participate in the Cenotaph March Past at the Parade in Whitehall. The red poppy has become the symbol for Remembrance Sunday with poppy wreaths being laid at cenotaphs all over the country to commemorate Britain’s war dead. In more recent years there has been an increased appearance of the white poppy, a pacifist symbol of remembrance. White poppies, according to the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) represent remembrance for all victims of war, commitment to peace and a challenge to the glamorisation of conflict. The white poppy was produced in 1933 by the Women’s Co-operative Guild to symbolise ‘no more war’ and represents all victims of all wars. The red poppy appeal is organised by the Royal British Legion (RBL) and specifically represents remembrance associated with the British Armed Forces. There has been a long standing opposition to the white poppy, with critics suggesting that it undermines the message of remembrance around Armistice Day. However, St John’s Ambulance has changed its dress code policy to allow volunteers to wear the white poppy as an alternative. During the war when the soil was churned up by endless fighting, poppies still managed to flourish leading the red poppy to become a symbol of remembrance of the First World War. The poppy is also seen as a symbol to honour the millions of current servicemen and women who fight in our Armed Forces. Charities such as Blesma The Limbless Veterans also provide support to amputees from the Armed Forces. They currently help 1873 amputees who lost limbs in the line of duty. Every year a member of Wyedean attends the local service in Haworth to lay a wreath to honour those who have fallen. Which service will you be attending this year? Will you hold a two minutes silence at 11am? Listen out on Sunday for the half muffled church bells. To make a donation to the Poppy Appeal visit the British Legion website here: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/
The British Armed Forces recognise outstanding personal achievements by giving individuals from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and British Army various awards and decorations. Medals, ribbons and emblems awarded by HM The Queen are only permitted to be worn by the recipient. Whether friend or family, wearing someone else’s awards is classed as fraud. Ribbons can be worn without the medals themselves, apart from The Orders of the Garter and Thistle. Ribbons are to be worn over the left breast pocket button in the centre of the pocket. The ribbons are worn in rows with the most senior medal worn nearest the jacket lapel or front buttons, and in the top row if multiple rows are worn. The number of ribbons worn in a row depends on the width of the breast pocket, however, if the uniform has no breast pocket then the number of ribbons worn must be no more than five. If there is an incomplete row of ribbons, and there are already two or more rows worn, then the top row must be left incomplete and must be worn centrally. Each row of ribbons should be approximately 3 mm apart. Ribbons worn are to be stitched to the garment instead of mounted. Orders, decorations and medals are to be worn using an unseen brooch and on the left breast. If wearing a Full Dress tunic then they are usually placed in the middle, between the first and second buttons from the collar. Medals should be worn to show the Sovereign’s head. Orders, Decorations and Medals are to be worn at the following occasions: - State Occasions - Royal Occasions - Guards in London - Military Funerals - Guards on Royal residences - Guards of honour - Guards in Edinburgh - Ceremonial and Sovereign’s parades - Parades incorporating a religious service Orders, Decorations and Medals are worn on Full Dress, Frockcoat and No 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10 and 11 Dress. They are not to be worn on greatcoats and No 8 Combat Dress. Orders, Decorations and Medals are also not to be worn on operational or protective clothing. To view our range of medals and medal ribbons click here.