West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Letters Page

WORLD WAR ONE VICTORY MEDAL

ADDED 9 NOVEMBER 2006

My father, the late William (Bill) James, came South to Pontefract from Jarrow in the late 1930s to find work. He became the service manager at what was South Yorkshire Motors and in the fifties was at last provided with a company car - a little known perk in those days!

Very few people had cars then and so council houses were not built with drives or any accommodation for transport. After approval from the council to dismantle the front wall, it became my job - at about 14 years of age - to dig out part of the front lawn to make a ramp from the footpath into the garden. During the course of this excavation, I dug up a War Medal. It tuned out to be the Victory Medal from the 1914-1918 First World War, which was awarded to all our troops after the armistice. I immediately abandoned the digging and went inside to find the Brasso and polish the copper medal. I was amazed to find that it was inscribed on the edge:

1820 CPL W. JAMES CYC CORPS

I excitedly told father that I had found his medal and after a few moments thought, he informed me that at the outbreak of World War One, he was just nine-years-old and too young to join - so it was definitely not his medal!

I still have this medal today and I have often wondered who was the holder and what was his connection with the very house my parents lived at in Baghill. I have attempted to find some detail on the recently released military archives but without success.

Perhaps one of your readers will have information?

Ken James


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