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Research help, please - Naval General Service Medal 1915, w/bar "Palestine 1936-39", w/palm MID, named (block) to MX 52530 W P Sylvester, S.B.A., R.


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Occasionally, the members of this forum do wonderful, helpful things. I'm asking for one now. I've been contacted (see msg below) by an individual seeking to re-unite his grandfather's medals. I currently own one of them (Naval General Service Medal 1915, w/bar "Palestine 1936-39", named (block) to MX 52530 W P Sylvester, S.B.A., R.N.), and am planning to sell it back to him. I'm not a dealer, so we're muddling through this together.

The ribbon has an MID palm attached, but frankly, I've always been suspicious that it was added to enhance the price at some point. Could someone please research the entitlement for us to see whether it's pukka or not?

I think you'll enjoy reading Antony's letter below.

Many thanks,

Hugh

Dear Sir,

I have been searching on the internet for any information on the Royal Navy service of my grandfather, and I came upon the following post: http://gmic.co.uk/in...ts/page__st__20 . In this post I see listed the following:

GREAT BRITAIN - Naval General Service Medal 1915, w/bar

"Palestine 1936-39", w/palm MID, named (block) to MX 52530 W P Sylvester, S.B.A., R.N.

Spink, 6/68,

The recipient of that medal was my grandfather, William Petch Sylvester, 1907-1951, born Kingston Upon Hull, East Yorkshire. At the time he was a Sick Berth Attendant, but ended his service as Sick Berth Petty Officer. I have his naval service records and the service number MX 52530 corresponds with the data you have. The records also give mention to the awarding of this medal. He served on the destroyer HMS Boadicea in 1937 and I believe this was what qualified him for the medal, as that ship played a part in the Arab revolt in Palestine.

My grandfather died in service in 1951, shortly after the death of his wife (my grandmother), leaving my mother an orphan at the age of six. Unfortunately my mother's new guardians apparently did not take care of my grandfather's medals and other possessions and they seem to have been lost in the 1950s, causing my mother great shame and sadness in later life. Last year I found another of his medals (Long Service and Good Conduct) in a collection photographed on a naval forum and was able to purchase it from the owner, who was a very honourable ex RN veteran and happy to see it reunited with my mother after almost 60 years! This brought her so much pleasure and helped heal the wounds of losing her father at such a young age.

You have a magnificent collection of medals and must be very proud of them. However, I would be very grateful if you would consider this request. Would you be prepared to sell my grandfather's medal to me? I appreciate that you own the medal and I would understand if you are reluctant to part with it, but it would mean a great deal to my family to recover another of my grandfather's medals, a precious artefact of our family history. Thank you for your time.

Regards,

Antony Barlow

York, England.

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Hi Hugh,

I have been a collector of RN medals from the 19th and early 20th centuries for donkeys' years, but now I am more concentrating on Naval uniforms and insignia.

Still I am a member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association, and I think that you could ask the Societies librarian. In the past years the Review (the magazine of the Society) has published a wealth of articles about Naval history and ships' histories in particular. He might be able to help you further.

Their website: http://www.nhcra-online.org/main.html

By the way, has Mr Barlow tried the records of the former PRO?

Also, a post on the researchers bulletin board of the OMRS might be a venue...

As I do not have the research potential here, and I would be interested in the result of your quest.

Best of luck!

Odulf

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Thanks so much, Odulf. I've appreciated your past posts on other subjects, and certainly welcome this one. My research skills are nil, but I've asked for help from both Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association and OMRS. Let's see what happens.

Best,

Hugh

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Thanks, Pike,

We'll give it a shot. I'm increasingly dubious.

Hugh

I have searched the Gazette using various options form 1936-39 and also published sources which list all MIDs from 1/1/39. Not a trace of him.

Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm pleased to report that Mr. Sylvester's medal is on the way back to his grandson in York. Antony was extremely accomodating. He found a very attractive replacement medal and sent it to me, eliminating the need for money to change hands. I hope that he and his mother will take great pleasure in this reinstatement of family history.

Thanks to forum help, we were able to verify with reasonable confidence that he was not entitled to the MID device, so he's traveling home without it. Here's a picture before the surgery.

Best,

Hugh

Edited by Hugh
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The medal arrived safely yesterday and it is a special feeling to hold something that was lost so many years ago. I will be taking it over to my Dad in Hull where it will join the LSGC medal that we obtained last year.

I have attached three photos. The first is my grandparents on their wedding day in 1939. My grandfather didn't receive the NGSM until 1941, according to the records. My dad has a photo of him after WWII with his medals but it is sealed in a picture frame so I didn't want to disturb it. The second photo is HMS Boadicea, which is I believe the ship my grandfather was serving on when he qualified for the medal. The third photo is my mother on her birthday last year when I presented her with the LSGC medal. Although she is not here to receive the NGSM it will give you some indication of the happiness it has brought the family.

On behalf of my family I thank you once again for your kindness and sense of honour in agreeing to let us have the medal. It is much appreciated.

Regards,

Antony

Edited by Hugh
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