In late August 1917, munitions worker Violet Golding, aged “sweet 17,” became one of the youngest people named to receive the newly constituted Medal of the Order of the British Empire. The award followed an accident at George Kent's Chaul End munitions factory the previous June.
The accident, caused by a detonator exploding as the then 16-year-old leaned over to take it out of a press, resulted in a finger and thumb of her left hand having to be amputated and extensive burning to her arm.
Bertram Silsby (or Silsbey, the surname changes) was the youngest son of George and Elizabeth Silsby, and brother to Emily, Florrie, Ellen and Frederick Silsby, from Hitchin. His father was a boot maker, but tragically died when Bertram was young, meaning the family had to move to 50 Buxton Road Luton.
Bertram lived at 104 Ashburnham Road when he joined the army.
He was awarded the military medal for his "gallant conduct and devotion to duty on the field of battle at Fricourt on January 18th 1916."
Do you have these medals in a drawer at home? Pip, Squeak and Wilfred are the nicknames given to three WWI campaign medals: the 1914-15 Star; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. This set of 3 medals or a pair (BWM and Victory) are the most likely medals to be found among family heirlooms. The medals were automatically sent out; soldiers did not need to apply. When the recipient had been killed the medals were sent to the next-of-kin.
Edward was born 18th November 1883, at St Albans in Hertfordshire. Although his father had previously been married to Ann Lowe, it appears that Edward was the only son of Mark and Charlotte Warner. Mark was a Platelayer Foreman on the Railways who was born in Wheathampstead around 1832 and his mother Charlotte (formerly Barber) was from London, being born around 1841.