Bid to solve mystery of Chipping WW1 medal ceremony

Ex- WW1 servicemen from Chipping.
Ex- WW1 servicemen from Chipping.

Historians are attempting to piece together information about a medal ceremony in which dozens of Chipping men were honoured.

Eighty-one commemorative gold medals were presented during a special ceremony held in Chipping in 1923 to acknowledge the service of the men from Chipping, Thornley, Leagram and Little Bowland who served in the war.

The medals, funded by the community, were presented in person, or to the families of those who did not return.

Members of Chipping Local History Society came across this information during recent research carried out at the Harris Library in Preston as part of their Heritage Lottery funded project marking the war’s centenary.

They learnt the medals, each said to be inscribed with the name of the serviceman and the words ‘For Service in the Great War’ were presented by the then Earl of Derby, Secretary of State for War at the Oddfellows Hall.

Members have yet to see one of the medals and are hoping someone will come forward to show them one, although they have a photo of what they believe is the medal.

A spokesman said: “The aim of the project ‘Chipping at War – the impact of the First World War on a small community’ is to research and explore the stories behind the names commemorated on Chipping War Memorial and the effect the war had on the community, particularly the women and children and farming and industry. Those who served in the armed forces and returned to live in the community are also forming an important part of the project, which is said to be progessing well.

“In the research to date, details have emerged of a unique event held in Chipping in January, 1923 which was reported in detail in the Preston Guardian under the heading ‘Chipping’s Gratitude: Medals for Ex-Service Men’. Chipping Local History Society has been unable to trace one of these medals and would welcome the opportunity to make a photographic record .” Society contact numbers are 01995 61556 or, this Sunday, February 5 the society is holding a family history event at St Mary’s Community Hall, Chipping from 2pm.