Medal Index Card

The Army Medal Office at Droitwich kept records of all those who received medals for service during the First World War. These medal rolls together with an index card for each man have now been passed to the Public Record Office (PRO) at Kew. Herbert Halliday received the 1914 - 15 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal and Silver War Badge.

Herbert Halliday's Medal index card

To look at an individual's entry in the medal rolls, the index card for the soldier needs to be consulted to determine which roll and page number to consult. The index cards are kept on microfiche. There are 360 index cards per microfiche and they are arranged in an interesting interpretation of alphabetical order. With many millions of men serving in the armed forces, each name is often repeated several times. It is therefore helpful to know the individual's regiment and regimental number so that he can be distinguished from other servicemen with the same name. Of course nowadays it is much easier as the index cards are available online and an individual can be found by simply searching the database. The front side of Herbert's card is shown above. The reverse side is blank.

It can be seen that this is the correct card since the corps and regimental number are the same as those on Herbert's medals. The card shows that he held the rank of gunner (Gnr) and received the Victory medal, British War medal, 1914-15 Star and the Silver War badge (SWB).

The medal roll numbers for each medal listed needs to be converted from the system used by the Army Medal Office to the system used by the PRO. The PRO system consists of a class and piece number for each document. The class consists of a letter code based on the department the records originally came from, e.g. WO for War Office, and a number to denote a group of documents. Within the class, the piece number identifies the document required. The table below shows the old Medal Office indexes along with the PRO class and piece numbers.

Medal Medal Office
Roll
Medal Office
and PRO
Page Number
PRO Class PRO Piece
Victory RFA / 215B 22895 WO 329 112
British RFA / 215B 22895 WO 329 112
1914-15 Star RFA / 7A&B 5652 WO 329 2539
Silver War
Badge
RA 3958 WO 329 2979

In the remarks section of the index card is the word "Disc" which means he was discharged when the index card was filled in.

In the lower left hand section of the card the Theatre of War first served in is shown as (1) France, and the Date of entry therein is shown as 20-12-14. This indicates that Herbert Halliday first landed in France on the 20th December 1914. As we shall see later, this is not only an important clue in piecing together his army service, but also a piece of evidence that should not be taken too literally.

Note:- The theatres of war that British forces served in during the First World War were given codes. "1" denotes France, therefore on the index card "(1) France" simply means France. The theatre and date sections of the index card are only filled in if the soldier received a 1914 or 1914-15 Star presumably because it was this date that entitled him to the medal.