Eight of the men commemorated on the Hemel Hempstead War Memorial were recipients of nine awards for bravery in the field, one Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.), two Military Crosses (M.C.), three Distinguished Conduct Medals (D.C.M. one with Bar), and four Military Medals (M.M.). A list of the men appears below.
Distinguished Service Order
Instituted by Royal Warrant on 28th December 1914. The Military Cross was a decoration for gallantry during active operations in the presence of the enemy. Individuals in the British Army, the Indian Army or the Colonial Forces. Commissioned officers with the rank of Captain or below or Warrant Officer were eligible for the award. From June 1917 officers of the rank of Captain but who had a temporary rank of Major could receive the award.
The reverse of the medal was issued plain with no engraving. Some families and individuals engraved their details at their own expense. From August 1916 an individual could receive one or more Bars to the Military Cross. Recipients of the medal are entitled to use the letters M.C. after their name.
Distiguished Conduct Medal
Instituted on 4th December 1854. The D.C.M. was the first official medal award to recognise an act of gallantry in the field by a member of the armed forces who was below the rank of officer. It was the 'other ranks' equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order. The D.C.M. was awarded for gallantry in the field in the face of the enemy. Other ranks in the British Army and also non-commissioned ranks in Commonwealth Forces were eligible for this award.
The reverse of the medal bears the inscription “For Distinguished Conduct in the Field”. A bar carrying the date of a subsequent deed could be added to the ribbon until 1916 when the bar was changed to a laurel wreath. A recipient of the award is entitled to used the letters D.C.M. after their name.
Instituted on 25th March 1916 (and backdated to 1914). The Military Medal was awarded to other ranks of the British Army and Commonwealth Forces. It was an award for gallantry and devotion to duty when under fire in battle on land.
On the reverse of the medal is inscribed “For Bravery in the Field”. Recipients of the medal are entitled to use the letters M.M. after their name.
THE HONOURED MEN
Captain Harold Fisher D.S.O. (South African (Boer) War)
Captain Arthur Michael Durrant M.C.
Private Herbert Thomas Rodwell M.M.
Corporal Francis Horward Vercoe D.C.M. and Bar
Lieutenant Archibald Claude Bates M.C.
Rifleman Harry William Freeman M.M.
Serjeant Thomas Jennings D.C.M.
1st Manchester Regiment, Killed in Action Friday, 15th December 1914
257 Tunnelling Coy., Royal Engineers, Killed in Action Tuesday, 5th December 1916
6th Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment, Died of Wounds Tuesday, 17th April 1917
145th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery, Killed in Action Monday, 4th June 1917
6th Bn., Northants Regiment, Died of Wounds, Saturday, 20th October 1917
2nd Bn., Royal Irish Rifles, Killed in Action, Sunday, 24th March 1918
3rd Bn., Rifle Brigade, Killed in Action, Wednesday, 27th March 1918
4th Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment, Killed in Action, Tuesday, 27th August 1918
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