This article from Liverpool, England describes a group of relatives planning to get together and reunite the medals of their
ancestors who found together in WWI. -Editor
Medal ceremony at Gorse Chateau, France, in February 1918 where nine soldiers were recognised for their actions in the battle of Cambrai,
including several from Merseyside- Sgt Cyril Edward Gourley, Victoria Cross, far left. Sgt Edward J. Thornley, Distinguised Conduct Medal, third from
left. Bdr Joseph Austin Pinnington, Military Medal, far right. Relatives of Merseyside soldiers recognised for their brave actions during a World War
I battle will bring together their medals for the first time since 1918 this month.
The group found each other after Calday Grange Grammar School held an Armistice Day event in November, where a Victoria Cross awarded to former
Calday pupil Sgt Cyril Gourley was paraded.
Sgt Gourley was awarded the gallantry medal for showing “unlimited courage” in taking command of a section of guns and keeping advancing German
forces in check for four hours during the battle of Cambrai in France on November 30, 1917.
But 11 other Royal Field Artillery soldiers from D Battery of the 276th (West Lancs) Brigade also received medals for their actions on the day,
with at least four from Merseyside.
Now family members of three of them – Sgt Edward Thornley, from West Derby, who received the Distinguished Conduct Medal, and Gnr Frederick
Backhouse and Bdr Joseph Pinnington, who each received Military Medals – are set to meet along with the son of another soldier, Gnr Reginald Evans,
who received a Military Medal.
It comes after Sgt Thornley’s grandson Steve attended the Calday event and met Pat Metcalfe, from Wallasey, daughter of Bdr Pinnington, and her
Mr Thornley, 61, from Spital, said: “It’s been an emotional few weeks.
“I met Pat and it turned out she had her father’s war diary, which detailed how a group of them from Merseyside served together for three years
across France, including at the Somme and Ypres. She also had the photo of them being awarded their medals. After that I did some research and
tracked down Gnr Backhouse’s son Les in Meols, and Gnr Evans’ grandson Wayne Finch in Cheltenham. We’re all now going to meet up at West Kirby
library and bring together the medals.”
Mr Thornley still hopes to trace the relatives of the other seven Royal Artillery soldiers, and believes at least one of them – Bdr Thomas Edge,
who received a Distinguished Conduct Medal – is also from Merseyside, as his service number is similar to the other four known Mersey soldiers.
He said: “Their numbers are all within 200 of each other so we think they all enlisted together in Liverpool in September 1915 – and were probably
in the same queue.
To read the complete article, see:
Relatives of Mersey World War I heroes to
bring together their medals for first time since they were awarded in 1918
Wayne Homren, Editor
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