30 12 2011
Finding a lost Military Cross with Google!
Google never tires of showing us all the amazing things you can find out on the internet, this Christmas I thought I would give it a try. It goes without saying that I am permanently connected to the internet via one device of other, and my default way to answer a question (that I don’t already know the answer to!) is to ‘Goggle It’, but I haven’t used Google to research a very specific item since my school days.
On the wall of the downstairs toilet (bare with me here!) in Emma’s father’s house is a framed piece of paper signed by His Majesty the King George V. I’m sure that is something that very few people can say; the paper actually holds the hand written signature of King George from August 1915.
The paper is really the certificate of Commission of Emma’s Great Grandfather into His Highness’ Land Army. In it the King says that he wishes to:
“Appoint you to be an Officer in Our Land Forces from the Twenty Eighth day of July 1915. You are therefore carefully and diligently to discharge your Duty as such in the Rank of 2nd Lieutenant or in such higher Rank as We may from time to time hereafter be pleased to promote or appoint you to.”
I mentioned this paper to Emma’s Dad asking him what relation Mr Basil William Addison was to the family, in the discussion he mentioned that the family believed that Basil was awarded the Military Cross but they were never able to find out for sure. So after another helping of turkey sandwiches (nearly finished it now!) I took to my laptop in search of further information.
Through the power of Google and the indexed archives of both the London Gazette and the National Archives I was able to find out that Basil was in fact awarded the Military Cross in 1917. The London Gazette has been carefully indexed since its beginning; however it is now fully available online providing easy access to historical announcements and legal information. In it’s archives I found two pages from the Gazette detailing the award of the Military Cross to 2nd Lt Addison, one page announced the award another gave details as to why he was awarded the medal (something that the family were very interested in finding out). The National Archives allowed me (for a small fee of £2.00) to access a copy of Basil’s medal card detailing the award of the cross.
Copies of each document were available to download; they will now be printed and framed alongside his papers of commission and his picture. In that very dignified of places, the downstairs toilet!