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Royal Edward Posthumous Medal Entitlement Campaign

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Gully Ravine View Drop Down
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    Posted: 18 Nov 2014 at 16:26
You may be interested to know that a campaign has been launched to request a formal review of the inconsistency in the award of medals to those who were lost when the Royal Edward was sunk in August 1915.

An article will appear in the next edition of The Gallipolian and support is being sought for this campaign.

To add your support or request further information, please email David Crampin at: royaledwardmedals@btinternet.com

The following has made available for release via the Press Association:

CAMPAIGN TO SEE GREAT WAR JUSTICE IS DONE

A BATTLE royal has broken out to win recognition for hundreds of First World War soldiers almost a century after they died.

Next year marks the centenary of the sinking of a troop ship bound for the Great War battlefield Gallipoli, with the loss of 860 British lives. When the war ended, many of those who died were awarded three campaign medals – but hundreds more missed out.

Now, a group of amateur historians have begun a campaign to ensure that 99 years on from the sinking of His Majesty’s Troopship Royal Edward, all the men who went down with her receive just recognition for their sacrifice.

David Crampin and his American friend Jack Carlson from Ohio have spent years researching the story of the Royal Edward which was torpedoed by a German U-Boat on its way to the battlefields of Gallipoli in modern-day Turkey.

The ship, a former ocean liner pressed into military service as a troop carrier, sank in minutes and while around 500 men survived the majority of those aboard were below decks at the time and drowned.

All those who went down with the ship were subsequently awarded the British War Medal, a campaign decoration which recognised overseas service in the 1914-18 conflict. A large number of others also received the 1914-15 Star and the Victory Medal, but for some inexplicable reason around 600 did not.

Mr Crampin, from Watford, sees this as a great injustice and believes the time has finally come for the authorities to set matters right: ‘The rules at the time seemed to suggest that because these men were between theatres of war, travelling from the UK via Egypt on their way to Gallipoli they were excluded from receiving these medals. But if that was the case, why did a large number of other men get them? Surely they should all have been treated in the same way – they were on their way to war, keen to do their bit; why should some have missed out when others got the medals they all deserved?’

He explained how he became involved in the campaign to seek justice for the victims: ‘A casualty of the Royal Edward, Private Samuel Martin was the grandfather of the late Mrs Marjorie Carlson. Her husband Jack, a retired US engineer, makes annual visits to the UK to research her family background. During one such trip he discovered Sam’s lone British War Medal (BWM) and considered it unfair that he failed to get the 1914-15 Star and Victory Medal as well. Sam’s brother was my wife’s grandfather – and I got drawn in!’

Sam, who celebrated his 57th birthday on the voyage to Turkey, joined up with five other Cornishmen a month earlier. All were keen to do their bit. All but one of them died when the Royal Edward went down. They had been in the army just 38 days.

Now Mr Crampin and Mr Carlson have found support for their campaign from the Gallipoli Association, a charity dedicated to understanding the conflict and remembering those who took part. Membership Trustee Keith Edmonds from Cambridgeshire said: ‘There is a really compelling case for this whole issue to be reviewed and for these men to receive the recognition that has been denied them for so long. The Association is supporting David and Jack and we hope that by the time the 100th anniversary of these mens’ deaths comes around justice will have been done.’

After the war Winston Churchill, one of the architects of the Dardanelles Campaign, called for all men who had died in transports between theatres of war to receive all three medals. The powers-that-be at the time rejected the idea, but regardless of this ruling, some of the Royal Edward victims did in fact get them all. For example, around 200 men of the Royal Army Medical Corps and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers Regiment got all three medals, but the majority of soldiers from the Essex Regiment (almost all of whom were attached from the Norfolk Regiment), the Hampshire Regiment, the Army Service Corps and other units did not.

Mr Crampin sees hope in a recent interim report by the government’s Military Medals Review body: ‘It accepted that there should be greater readiness to review previous decisions if there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ and spelt them out. It recognised that the degree of public, press and political support should be taken into account as this suggests there is a prima facie case for another look. It stated that “at a minimum there should be evidence of a significant injustice or inconsistency affecting a substantial group of individuals.” We can certainly do that.’

The next step is for Mr Crampin to write to every MP in Norfolk, Essex, Hampshire, Cornwall and the Borders Country to ask for their support in pressing the case for a rethink.

‘I just won’t rest until this matter is resolved. It can’t be right that these men who made the ultimate sacrifice didn’t get the same medals as their mates. They’ve waited long enough.’

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Keith Edmonds
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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Nov 2014 at 17:21
What a wonderful project for what was an undoubtedly administrative mess up.

Sign me up.
To protect our history, we must secure it's future.
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Gully Ravine View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gully Ravine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Nov 2014 at 09:38
A brief email of support to royaledwardmedals@btinternet.com would be most welcome. Public support will be a key element in helping persuade the decision-makers to undertake this review.

Keith
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