Historians still dispute the importance of the various causes that led to the outbreak of World War I but they are agreed that it resulted from the clash of empires.
Military Medal awarded to Frederick John Redman
Private F J Redman, 108395, served in 21 Machine Gun Corps. He was advanced to Acting Lance Corporal and, later, to Sergeant.
In addition to the two WW1 service medals on this web site, he also gained the Military Medal "for bravery in the field" in France during the First World War. This was announced in the London Gazette of 21st October, 1918. Unfortunately, editions of the Gazette were lost in World War 2 and the citation is not available. (attachment shows reverse of medal)
Part of Newham Heritage & Archives collection
As well as medals awarded for service in the First World War, Mr Redman further distinguished himself as a civilian in the Second World War. The George Medal (image on this web-site) was awarded when he was working at the Gas Light and Coke Company as Chief Valve-man. Redman and several other men were awarded the GM for their courageous action.
Silk souvenir of the Victory of the Battle of Jutland May 31st 1916
Newham Heritage & Archives (Stratford)
VISIT TO FIRST WORLD WAR BATTLEFIELDS. Former Mayor visits troops from East Ham at the historic battlefields of France and Belgium and sees the widespread destruction of towns and cities at first hand.
EAST HAM - On the Home Front in the First World War.
Very soon after the declaration of war on that fateful fourth day of August, 1914, numbers of officers and men were to be seen in the streets, not infrequently bands playing patriotic airs paraded the roads, posters asking men to volunteer were to be found on every hoarding and the Town Hall and Schools were utilised for recruiting purposes. The Municipal Baths and the High Street School were used as barracks while the parks, Wanstead Flats and all open spaces served as parade grounds. Each day hundreds of enlisted men-not yet in uniform-were to be seen receiving physical and ordinary army drill instruction.
After a few months, food shortage began to be feared. Later, queues- often a hundred or more yards long-were commonly to be seen outside the shops, and it was indeed a sad sight to see women and children waiting in the cold and rain for their turn to purchase provisions. The greengrocers' shops for potatoes, the grocers' for sugar and the butchers' for meat were especially conspicuous for their queues. Rapidly it became necessary to ration all the chief articles of food. Ration cards were issued to all, so that no person should buy more than was absolutely necessary for immediate consumption. All vacant lands not in military possession were taken over by the municipal authorities, and an allotment of ten rods (a rod is about 5½ yards long or 5.03 metres) was granted free to each applicant for the purpose of growing foodstuffs - especially potatoes. Many persons were fined for hoarding food, and in an attempt to prevent the most necessary requirements from becoming too dear for the poorer classes to buy, the prices were controlled by the Government.
Women at Work and as Volunteers
Medals awarded to Mr J.J. Betts. He was one of the Firemen who attended the Silvertown Explosion on 19th January 1917 and miraculously survived.
West Ham Corporation Medal Presented for Bravery. Engraved to Fireman James J Betts on a shield, with a Fireman's helmet and an axe with the head to the left. 19th January 1917 engraved on the edge. This was the day of the Silvertown Explosion at the Brunner Mond factory. On the reverse of the medal is the West Ham Corporation coat of arms.
West Ham Corporation Medal Devotion To Duty Air-Raids 1915-18. Engraved to Fireman J J Betts on a shield, with a Fireman's helmet and an axe with the head to the right. On the reverse of the medal is the West Ham Corporation coat of arms.
The Kings Medal for Police and Fire Services (1940s) King George V Head. James Joseph Betts engraved on the edge. On the reverse of the medal is is a figure with a large sword and a shield with the words 'To Guard My People'
L.C.C., M.F.B. Edward VII Coronation Medal 1902. King Edward VII head. James J Betts engraved on the edge. On the reverse of the medal are the words 'Coronation of His Majesty King Edward VII' 1902, and the king's crown above a cluster of leaves.
(see file attachment for reverse of medals)
Hero of the Battle of Jutland
The Silvertown Explosion at the Munitions Plant of the Brunner Mond factory, on 19th January 1917.
Tank day outside outside Stratford Town Hall, 1918. These events were organised to encourage people to buy war bonds to help fund the First World War.
(Image: Newham Council Arts & Heritage)
Anti-German feeling ran high in the First World War. This Stratford Express headline from reports on "Extraordinary scenes from West Ham, East Ham and Leyton - Shops Gutted and Looted."