George V, British War Medal for Pte. G. J. Woodbridge (Medal # 168, MYB)

Started by Arminius, August 10, 2010, 10:51:58 PM

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Hello my friends,

i stumbled on this historical medal and would like to get some more information:

Great Britain, George V, British War Medal for Pte. G. J. Woodbridge (Garnett J. Woodbridge ?), 1/16th Battalion London Regiment (The Queen's Westminster Rifles), 1914-1920 AD.,
Silver Medal (36 mm / 29,09 g), hanger removed,
Obv.: GEORGIVS V BRITT: OMN: REX ET IND: IMP: , (Georgius V Britanniarum Omnium; Rex Et Indiae; Imperator - "George 5th of all the Britons (British people); King of India; Emperor") , head of King George V. facing left.
Rev.: 1914 - 1918 , man riding on a rearing horse. The man shown is Saint George, the patron saint of England. He is shown naked, and is holding a short sword. This was supposed to symbolise the mental and physical strength that was needed to win the First World War. The horse is trampling a shield that showns the emblem of Prussia and the Axis Powers, which were the enemies the British and other Allies were fighting during World War One (the First World War). The horse is also trampling on a skull and cross-bones, and the rising sun, known as the Victory Sun can be seen by St. George's head.
Edge: 286 PTE. G. J. WOODBRIDGE, 16. LOND. R.

The British War Medal was a medal given to people who had fought in the First World War. The medal was originally meant to be for people who had fought in the war between 5th August1914 and 11th November1918, but this was later changed to the years between 1914 and 1920. This was because a lot of people still lost their lives in the armed forces even after the war had ended, because they were clearing landmines or mines at sea.
The British War Medal (often shortened to BWM) was awarded to both officers and men of the Royal Marines, Royal Navy, the Army and also the Dominion and Colonial Forces. The Dominion and Colonial Forces were the armed forces for the rest of the British Empire. To qualify for (be allowed to have) the medal, a member of the fighting forces had to have left his native country in any part of the British Empire whilst on military duty.
There were over six and a half million British War Medals given out. Most of them are made of silver, but some rarer ones are made of bronze instead. They are all circular, and have different designs on each side.

1/16th (County of London) Battalion (Queen's Westminster Rifles)
August 1914 : at 58 Buckingham Gate. Part of 4th London Brigade, 2nd London Division. Moved on mobilisation to Hemel Hempstead area.
3 November 1914 : left the Division and landed at Le Havre.
12 November 1914 : came under command of 18th Brigade in 6th Division.
In January 1916 the War Office authorised the re-formation of the London Division, now to be known as the 56th, in France. 10 February 1916 : transferred to 169th Brigade in 56th (London) Division.

The Division began to concentrate in the Hallencourt area on 5 February and was largely completed by 21 February. It then remained in France and Flanders and took part in the following engagements:

The diversionary attack at Gommecourt (1 July)*
The Battle of Ginchy (9 September)*
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15 -22 September)*
The Battle of Morval (25-27 September)* in which the Division captured Combles
The Battle of the Transloy Ridges (11 - 9 October)*
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916


The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (14 March - 5 April)

The First Battle of the Scarpe (9 - 14 April)+
The Third Battle of the Scarpe (3 - 4 May)+
+ the battles marked + are phases of the Battles of Arras 1917

The Battle of Langemarck (16 - 17 August)**
** the battles marked ** are phases of the Third Battles of the Ypres

The capture of Tadpole Copse (21 November)^
The capture of Bourlon Wood (23 - 28 November)^
The German counter attacks (30 November - 2 December)^
^ the battles marked ^ are phases of the Cambrai Operations


The First Battle of Arras (28 March)~
~ the battles marked ~ are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918

The Battle of Albert (23 August)#
# the battles marked # are phases of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918

The Battle of the Scarpe (26 - 30 August)+
+ the battles marked + are phases of the Second Battles of Arras 1918

The Battle of the Canal du Nord (27 September - 1 October)"
The Battle of the Cambrai (8 - 9 October)"
" the battles marked " are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line

The pursuit to the Selle (9 - 12 October)*
The Battle of the Sambre (4 November)*
The passage of the Grand Honelle ( 5 - 7 November)*
* the battles marked * are phases of the Final Advance in Picardy

By the end of 10 November the Division had been withdrawn for rest, although the artillery was still in action up to the Armistice at 11am on 11 November. The forward infantry was on that date at Harveng.

Tthe Division received orders to join the British force that would advance across Belgium and move into Germany to occupy the Rhine bridgeheads. These orders were cancelled on 21 November, at which time the Division was employed on road and railway repair work in the area of Harveng.

In all, the Division existed as such for 1010 days during the Great War; it spent 330 days at rest, 195 in quiet sectors, 385 in active sectors and 100 days in battle.

Demobilisation began and he final cadres left for home on 18 May 1919. The Division reformed as part of the Territorial Army in April 1920.

My questions concerning this medal:

Is my interpretation of the edge legend - 286 PTE. G. J. WOODBRIDGE, 16. LOND. R. - correct? What means "286"?

Is there any chance to find more info about G. J. WOODBRIDGE in online databases of the British army? (i tried google and found no certain results).

Don´t hesitate to correct the assumptions of someone without knowledge about the British army!



286 is the soldiers regimental number.

Both of my grandfathers fought in WW1 with the Australian forces and I have their complete histories from our sources.

Woodbridge was one of those remarkable folks who was there almost from the start.


 '286' is his army number,

my Grandfathers during the 2nd world war (from his medal) reads,
"2353603 - cqms JD [surname] Royal Signals"

It's now 65 years since he was in Japan.

I've not found anything on line about British soldiers, the only books I've found detail those that died in combat.
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....


Just another quick note. many of the soldiers records in WW1 were destroyed in an air raid in WW2.

It appears that pay for view sites have what is left.

Ukrainii Pyat

Indeed the pay for view sites do have the rest of the available info.  I do genealogy as a side hobby and have access to's database - curiously and coincidentally I was researching a British army soldier from WWI just last evening - I have a "death penny" memorial plaque and found the gentlemen's name in their database as well as his photographs, info on his family etc.  He has no descendants but does have some extended family that now lives in Canada.

I am going to be busy the next week or so but if you PM me and remind me I can look up the information on your soldier in for you.  It really deeply personalizes the items you have, makes them so much more precious.  I think about this gentlemen that gave his life at Gallipolli at aged 29 years in 1915 when I see the medallion.
Донецк Украина Donets'k Ukraine


The medal refered here is "BRITISH WAR MEDAL 1914-20". This is medal No. 168 in the Medal Yearbook. The details as per Medal Yearbook:

Date: 1919
Campaign: First World War 1914-20
Branch of Service: British and Imperial Forces
Ribbon: Orange watered centre with stripes of white and black at each side and borders of royal blue
Metal: Silver or Bronze
Size: 36 mm
Description: (Obverse) The uncrowned left-facing profile of King George V by Sir Bertram Mackennal (Reverse) St George on horseback trampling underfoot the eagle shield of the Central Powers and a skull and cross-bones, the emblem of death. Above, the sun has risen in victory.
Comments: This medal was instituted to record the successful conclusion of the First world war, but it was later extended to cover the period 1919-20 and service in mine-clearing at sea as well as participation in operations in North and South Russia, the eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black sea and Caspian. Some 6,500,000 medals were awarded in Silver, but about 110,000 in bronze were issued mainly to Chinese, Indians and maltese personnel in labour battalions.
Value: Silver (6,500,000)  GBP 15-20; Bronze (110,000)  GBP 75-100

Normally, these medals are Named, and the name is engraved on the side, just as in your case.
As far as I know, there are many websites, which do have the Database for the names, but they are normally all Paid websites, just as Scottishmoney has replied.

More information on this medal can be viewed at WIKI.

I have enclosed a photo of the medal with the correct Ribbon.