Talk:Harold Leslie Edwards
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Concerning award of Military Medal
(The below was originally part of the article. I moved it here because its speculation did not fit the article. Yet, I did not want to break the link with the source. My commentary on the "mystery" follows.)
The above item is sourced from University of Guelph library, which holds a collection of the Kingswood Bulletin. Corporal Edwards is certainly the man depicted in the photo accompanying the article and the references to his family are accurate. Another page of the same issue lists Corporal Edwards as being admitted to Kingswood House. Oddly, his service records account for his time from being invalided to England until his being taken on strength by No 2 RFC Cadet Wing and no mention is made of his being transferred to Kingswood House at any time. This report cites the brave action as occurring on April 9 but, according to his records, Edwards was wounded and evacuated to Boulogne the day before the Battle for Vimy Ridge took place. Moreover, the article states the pinning of the actual medal on Corporal Edwards occurred on Empire Day, May 24, 1917 but the report of the award was not made until June 14 and not confirmed until June 30, 1917. Both accounts can not be accurate. Corporal Edwards has either been awarded the MM twice or the action on his Medal Card, wherein he was referred to as Private Edwards, may be in error. There was a Private Edwards with the 38th Battalion but whether he was the correct man or if he was even attached to the battalion at the time of the action has been hard to determine.
Awards for decorations typically precede the official notice of the award. The typical lag between award and the notice (known as "gazetting") is from several weeks to several months; lags of a year or two were not uncommon, with many 1918 awards being gazetted as late as 1920.
British ranks in WWI were commonly granted temporarily and made permanent later on; an award citation might use either or both ranks in its text. Thus, Edwards may have been cited as a Private, Corporal, or Temporary Corporal.
I hope that whoever dug up all this good raw data can return and give us a link and/or citation so it can be exploited.
The information regarding the mystery was provided by the nephew of 2nd Lieutenant Harold Leslie Edwards. The first reference to the action was found on a Lanark County Genealogy site in an article from a local newspaper at the time. It was thought to be in error as the service records for Edwards made no mention of him ever being in convalescence at Kingswood House and no medal card (other than that for the camouflet rescue) was discovered and no reference to either the event or the citation was found to be Gazetted. Further investigations failed to find any confirmation of either event and, as no reference to this comic-book-hero action was written up in the war diary of the 38th for that time, it was dismissed as 'one of those things'. However, while the nephew was researching Kingswood House for inclusion in a family genealogy website, the fact that copies of the Kingswood Bulletin were held in the Guelph University library came to light. Copies of the relevant pages were photocopied and were obviously the source of the newspaper article. There can be no doubt as to the authenticity of the report. Moreover, the photo that accompanied the report would appear to be the photo used in the book, Above The Trenches. The mystery remains.