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Hello Everyone,

I have been looking for a bronze BWM named to an Indian for some time now and thanks to a fellow member here at GMIC I now have one. Many thanks, you know who you are. :beer:

The bronze BWM was awarded to personnel in labour battalions rather than the silver medals that went to military personnel.

The number struck and awarded was about 110,000 compared with the silver BWM that comes in around 6,500,000 [numbers source Medal Yearbook 2004]. These are understandably much more difficult to come by than the silver ones. I now have three in my collection. The Medal Yearbook states that these were awarded "manly to Chinese, Indian and Maltese personnel", I still have to get one awarded to a Maltese labourer. The medals in the photo have labels so I won't duplicate that information here.

I've taken close up photos of the naming and I hope you can make them out; photography is not my forte.

Regards

Brian

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This last photo is not the best but I think you can make out the lettering.

If you have a bronze BWM I would be happy to see it (or them) and as always you are welcome to add to this post.

Regards

Brian

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Brian,

Last year I purchased in Sana'a a bronze disc with the three initials A.L.C. - Aden Labour Corps - the first one I have ever seen. At some stage the original straight bar suspension had been replaced with a 1918-62 GSM suspension with clasp "Arabian Penisnula"!

From a visit in 1999 to the Public Record Office in Kew, London I noted the Medal Roll for the Aden Labour Corps, reference WO 329/2368. The total number of recipients is approximately 942. On the list other than specified ranks all other ranks are described as Labourers.

From the evidence of my single medal I would suggest that at least the Labourers only received the medal with the initials A.L.C.

Regards,

Owain.

P.S. Should I get the disc fixed to the correct suspension or keep the hybrid.....?

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Hi Owain,

That's an interesting hanger replacement. I've never seen this done before and I suppose it was done to commemorate the place of service by the recipient.

I wonder just how many different countries are represented on the bronze BWMs.

If anyone knows please enlighten us.

Thanks for posting your interesting BWN, Owain.

Regards

Brian

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...If you have a bronze BWM I would be happy to see it (or them) and as always you are welcome to add to this post.

Regards

Brian

Hello Brian,

I have a bronze BWM to a Wang Ch'ing Lin (No 49101) of the Chinese Labour Corps.

I am not in Sydney at the moment but when I return I shall take some pics for comparison and post them for your perusal.

Regards,

Rob

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Brian,

I've been looking for a nice bronze BWM for some time and although they're not that rare, whenever one I really like turns up I don't have the spare cash.

One day I will buy one, the last one I fancied was to a Macedonian translator I think. Maybe I'm mixing it up with something else but it was Macedonian.

Owain, your BWM is something that would definitely take my fancy.

Tony

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Brian,

I suspect the replacement suspension is no more than an opportune attempt to make the disc more saleable. I have come across a number of GSM discs without suspension and indeed the occasional loose suspensions with or without clasps - as this issue of the GSM was only awarded to local units with the clasp "Arabian Peninusla" at least I have been able to repair a few medals. However I digress from the BWM in bronze. I detail below from my records the named ranked recipients of the medal to the Aden Labour Corps.

Number Rank Name

1374 Jemadar Abdullah Hassan Abdul Hadi

2 Havildar Syed Mohamed Bedhani

173 / Othman Muqbil Hamadi

201 / Abdurab Saad

314 / Gharulla Mohamed Amari

317 / Noman Aninam Areqi

419 / Mohamed Ali Mohamed

420 / Bulghet Suleman

224 Acting Havildar Ahmed Bin Ahmed Shebani

3 Naik Mohammed Thabit

22 / Ahmed Farah

34 / Ahmed Salih Amari

48 / Qassim Ghalib

93 / Ali Noman

102 / Husain Salih Bedhani

112 / Abdulla Omar Yafai

163 / Abdulla Mugbil Wafi

179 / Husain Ahmed Labani

202 / Ali Mohamed Bagad

254 / Mohamed Muslih Amari

320 / Salih Mohamed Redai

350 / Mohamed Musaid Dthali

423 / Ali Hizam Mohamed

663 / Hassan Mohamed

785 / Abdullah Ali Hakmi

5 Lance Naik Hizam Mohamed Maqtari

9 / Ahmed Bin Ahmed

27 / Muslik Muthanna Jazir

52 / Nasir Hussain Audali

79 / Salih Mohamed Surebi

158 / Ahmed Said Salwi

205 / Alwan Salih Alowi

245 / Mohamed Omar Audali

258 / Murshid Salih Almas

288 / Abdu Naji Hamedi

333 / Mohamed Qaid Hussain

356 / Shamsan Ahmed Maqtari

340 / Murshid Salih Khabani

400 / Ahmed Salih Amari

422 / Abdu Ali Mohamed

446 / Ali Didba Dunkali

465 / Yasuf Haidar Hamadi

600 / Said Obeid Boreiki

643 / Ali Nasir Hajeli

657 / Said Awadth Akbari

733 / Ahmed Mohamed Dthalai

797 / Saif Hassain Qaddasi

932 / Abdu Mohamed Salwi

1088 / Ali Bin Mohamed Mukalla

1165 / Abdullah Mahomed

1376 Head Clerk Syed Mohamed Ali Hussain

1377 Clerk Mahomed Said Awun

1378 Sweeper Hassan Said

1379 / Ali Abdulla

1380 / Qasim Said

1417 / Budhoo

1382 Tailor Ishaq Abdullah

1386 Servant Ali Mohamed Yemani

1387 / Saif Ahmed Jebali

26 Ward Orderly Othman Said Habeshi

No number. Private Servant Mohamed Ismail Somali

The names can be split into approximately five groups:

Tribal - e.g. Yafai, Audali, Alowi, Dthali, Habeshi, etc.

Geographical - e.g. Somali, Yemani, Mukalla (Coastal Town), Dunkali (in NE Africa), Jebali (Jebel = Mountain).

Family names - e.g. Noman, Bagad, etc.

Patronymic - e.g. Ahmed bin Ahmed, etc.

Simple names - e.g. Ali Abdulla, Qassim Ghalib, etc.

And of course sometimes a combination of the above such as Ali bin Mohammed Mukalla - i.e Ali Son of Mohammed from Mukalla, or Ahmed bin Ahmed Shebani - i.e. Ahmed son of Ahmed of the Shebani tribe.

Kind regards,

Owain

Edited by oamotme
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Brian - what an interesting and different field, collecting these varients. Not sure if the South African labour Bn. existed long enough to receive this medal - a lot were drowned on their way to France when the ship sunk. I would say Owain's medal should be correctly suspended - they must have just attached it to a spare one - probably melted the original down for the silver ?

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... and the SANLC ..

The other medal is to an Indian soldier - Bearer Hardial Murli, A.B.C.

I am in the process (as with most of my medals) of completing research on these medals. There is always more to uncover ....

A great thread. Thank you Brian for initiating it.

Regards

Thomas

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Hello Everyone,

Thanks for all of the extra information. I have not been able to find out even a fraction of the information you've all provided.

I hope this post will continue to gorw as I believe this to be and interesting and mostly ignored area of history, let alone in the field of collecting.

Regards

Brian

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A bronze BWM is something I'd always wanted, along with a TF Medal, so that I'd have an example of the basic WWI service medals, but priorties & finances conspired aganst me, tho' I think I've got a WWI group which is missing its TF Medal.

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To all,

As previously indicated here are some pics of my bronze BWM to a member of the Chinese Labour Corps.

The recipient (No 49101) is confirmed on the CLC medal roll.

What would be interesting is if fellow collectors could post their examples of all the different Labour Corps as there were quite a few from the different countries.

Regards,

Rob

Edited by RobW
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  • 1 month later...

Hello Brian, and other members -

I have recently picked up two lots to Labour Corps personnel. The first is a group to father and son. The son's is a typical WWII group of 1945 Star, Africa Star, War Medal and the Africa Service Medal. The father's BMW is not the bronze issue, but I thought it would carry as it is SANLC and compliments my first post. The recipient is Colour Sergeant W. George - I have his BMW and Vic medals. His trio is completed by his QSA - named to the Cape Infantry.

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... the naming on the WWI medals.

The second lot was a bronze BMW to a man in the Maltese Labour Corp. Most would say I paid too much for it, but I wanted it and I was happy to pay up (besides I only pipped the next chap by 1.36 GBP - nail biting stuff!). Unfortunately it has not arrived yet so the pictures are from the auction.

I would be interested if some one could elaborate on where these corps found themselves during the war.

best regards

Thomas

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  • 2 weeks later...

Only members of the S.A.N.L.C. from the British Protectorates such as Basutholand and Bechuanaland were issued with the bronze British War Medal.

The black South African members were not issued with the medal and this appears to have been a political issue taken at the time.

White European members, who formed the leader group, were entitled to the same medals as their white South African counterparts in other WW1 South African units.

Strangely enough, trios were issued to non-white members, maily drivers, for service in German South West Africa and are rather scarce. I have a trio in my collection.

As regards Mervyn's questions on numbers, according to the official history of South Africa and the Great War, the following returns are given:

292 officers, 1204 'European" warrant and non-commissioned officers and 25090 'Native" were members of the S.A.N.L.C.

27 of these soldiers died in the course of their duties.

Edited by sabrigade
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Hello All -

Will, glad you have joined in -

"The black South African members were not issued with the medal and this appears to have been a political issue taken at the time."

Are you then saying that these men (South African SANLC) did not get any BWM at all?

Regards

Thomas

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Would I be correct in assuming that men like Bearer Hardial Murli of the A.B.C served in the Easy African campaign or were they sent to Europe as well?

I've always meant to do more reading on the WWI African campaigns, after reading a single book decades ago. The bits that stick in my mind were the notion of units moving up trails into hoastile territory - a formation one man wide and several miles long - a nightmare from the tactical and logistics points of view. Also, a bit of doggerel sung on the march by the bearers: "We are the bearers who carry the food for the bearers who carry the food." Maybe it even rhymes in Swahili or Urdu!

The Indian Army issued a number of bronze medals including, I think, one for the Tibet expedition, to everyone from 'Syce' [groom] to "Khitmatgar" [butler/ mess servant]. Again, much information yet to be identified on these men and their role in maintaining the Raj! The medals used to be scorned by most collectors, as 'non-combatant awards' but personally I don't see a great deal of difference between the soldier who fights off an attack by hostile tribesmen and the stretcher bearer who goes out to recover his body under fire from the same foes. Or between the trooper, private or gunner threatened by random 'harassing fire' along a communications road and the Chinese labourer who puts up the poles for field telephone wires on the same stretch of road.

My tuppence worth and more!

Peter

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An excellent article was written in the Journal of the South African Military History Society a few years back.

Military History Journal - Vol 10 No 1

(incorporating Museum Review)

SOLDIERS WITHOUT REWARD

Africans in South Africa's Wars

by J S Mohlamme

On 17 July 1917, King George V, in a speech to the SANLC in Abbeville, called them 'part of my great Armies which are fighting for the liberty and freedom of my subjects of all races and creed throughout the Empire. '(5)

"At the conclusion of hostilities, the African troops were returned to South Africa and disbanded. They were bitterly disappointed and resented the fact that despite their sacrifices they were awarded no medals or ribbons. To compound their misery, blacks from the High Commission Territories who had served in the same units were issued medals, as were blacks who had served in South West Africa with the South African Artillery and the South African Mounted Rifles (SAMR).(6)"

HOPE THIS IS COPYRIGHT COMPLIANT? MY COMMENT!

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