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Royal Parks, London Medal Roll 

This article was published in OMRS Journal, September, 2017, Volume 56, Number 3, (316)

 

Subject: King George V Coronation (Police) Medal, 1911, Royal Parks Reverse, London Parks and Holyrood Park, Edinburgh:

Introduction

 

After collecting the King Edward VII Police Medal (Scotland), 1903 (more commonly known as ‘The Visit to Scotland Medal’) and the King George V Coronation (Police) Medal, 1911 with the ‘Scottish Police’ reverse for a few years, I began collecting one example of each of the ten reverse types of the 1911 medal.

I already owned a few of the types and one or two of the others were easily found but the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), Police Ambulance Service and Royal Parks examples proved to be more elusive as well as more expensive.

 

Having acquired one of each type, I set about identifying the recipients of the nine named examples, the RIC medal being issued un-named.

 

I compiled a Medal Roll [i] for the ‘Scottish Police’ recipients using force records and articles from the ‘Police Review and Parade Gossip’ [ii]  newspapers of 1912. This resource also enabled me to identify the ‘County and Borough Police’ example from Manchester.

 

Using the Census of England, 1911, I identified most of the others since they had a fortunate combination of identifiable titles and unusual names. All ten types (and the full biographies of their recipients) can be seen online. [iii]

 

I looked for a Medal Roll for ‘Royal Parks’ medals and quickly discovered that no definitive source existed except those compiled from sources such as those listed above, auction records and online fora.

 

The 1911 Census showed that many of those employed by His Majesty’s Office of Works were listed as ‘sergeants’, ‘gate Keepers’, ‘park keepers’, ‘gardeners’ or ‘garden labourers’ and it was difficult to identify compile a reliable list. Medal Year Book, (2016) [iv] stated that 119 medals had been awarded with the ‘Royal Parks’ reverse but the number of Office of Works employees recorded in the London Census far exceeded that number.

 

Using the 1911 Census, I did manage to identify my ‘Royal Parks’ medal to George Sutton Yeomans, an ex-soldier in the 83rd (County of Dublin) Regiment of Foot, later the Royal Irish Rifles. [v]  Yeomans was also ‘Granted Silver Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct and Gratuity of £5” on “30 June, 1885.’ [vi]

 

(This is his only other medal entitlement from his Army service and it would be very helpful if its present custodian were to get in touch with me via the OMRS.)

I had previously used The National Archives (TNA) for researching the ‘Scottish Police’ medals and in order to attempt to identify an accurate medal roll for the Royal Parks, I decided to research the Office of Works files there.

 

[ii] ‘Police Review and Parade Gossip’ articles dated, 5 January, 12, P. 6; 26 January, 1912, P. 45; 23 February, 1912, P. 87; 19 July, 1912, P. 339; 19 July, 1912, P. 341; 2 August, 1912, P. 368; 9 August, 1912, P. 382; 16 August, 1912, P. 394;  23 August, 1912, PP. 406 -  407;  30 August, 1912, P. 418; 6 September, 1912, P.428;  13 September, 1912, P. 443; 20 September, 1912, P. 45; 27 September, 1912, P. 459; 4 October, 1912, P. 477; 11 October, 1912, P. 488; 25 October, 1912, P. 512; 15 November, 1912, P. 544; 29 November, 1912, P. 568.

 

[iv] Medal Year Book 2012, Page 280, Token Publishing Ltd., (2012), Honiton, Devon.

 

[v] Chelsea Pensioners British Army Records, 1760 – 1915, WO97/4226/37.

 

[vi] Chelsea Pensioners British Army Records, 1760 – 1915, WO97/4226/37.

 

Researching the Records

 

Living in Scotland, visiting TNA necessitates a degree of planning and I began by identifying Office of Works files using their ‘Discovery’ search engine. In doing so, I listed a number of files relating to personnel, park buildings, Royal Visits and Coronation Medals and pre-ordered them online prior to my visit.

 

The first file I looked at was a Royal Mint file dated 1912 - 1913 concerning the ‘Coronation Medal, King George V: Park Keepers and Gate Keepers in Royal Parks.’ [i] 

The contents had no list of names but did confirm that the total numbers awarded were 109 in London and 11 in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, making a total of 120.

The next file was from His Majesty’s Office of Works dated 1911 – 1912 and described as ‘Coronation Honours. Coronation Medals. Police Medals.’ [ii]

 

The contents consisted of correspondence between The First Commissioner of the Office of Works, The Honourable Sir Schomberg McDonnell, C.C.V.O. and the Equerry to King George V, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Frederick E. G. Ponsonby, K.C.V.O, C.B. There are also copies of correspondence between the Home Office, the Royal Mint, the Treasury and the Scottish Office.

 

The correspondence identifies the eligibility for receiving the ‘Royal Parks’ Coronation Medal and list the 109 intended named recipients in the London Parks and the 11 names of the Holyrood recipients. One of the London lists identifies the parks at which the men worked. [iii]

 

The list that was sent to the Royal Mint for the information of the engraver is also present. [iv]

 

Eligibility

 

In a letter dated 24 July, 1911 from ‘H.M. Office of Works, Storey’s Gate, Westminster, S.W.’ to ‘Sir Frederick Ponsonby, K.C.V.O, Buckingham Palace S.W.’, The Honourable Sir Schomberg McDonnell, C.C.V.O., First Commissioner of H. M. Office of Works, wrote:

 

Since I last wrote to you I have had an opportunity of talking to Henry who tells me privately that, if it were referred to him, he should certainly welcome the suggestion that the Park-keepers in the London Parks and at Holyrood should be given the Police medal.

 

He thinks that it would be valuable as promoting a sense of union between the Park-keepers and the Police, and he thinks that the Park-keepers have fully earned it. I hope, therefore, that it may be possible to give them the Police Medal.

 

The Sergeant Park –keeper at Holyrood, Duncan, who is a man of exceptional ability and energy, ought, I think, to receive the Coronation Medal. His men were on duty for 16 or 17 hours out of the 24 during the King’s Visit: he was on duty even longer, and I should be extremely glad if his name could be placed before the King.

(Signed) S. K. McDonnell [v]

 

The reply dated 4 August, 1911 came from ‘H. M. Yacht Victoria & Albert’ and was addressed to ‘The Honourable Sir Schomberg McDonnell, C.C.V.O.’ and stated:

 

My dear Pom,

The King has approved of the Park-keepers in London, Holyrood and Dublin receiving the Police Coronation Medal. I have told the Home, Scottish and Irish Offices.

With reference to your suggestion that the Sergeant Park-keeper at Holyrood should receive the King’s Coronation Medal I am afraid it is out of the question.

The whole of the Scottish Army are panting for Medals and already they have been very much disturbed by the grant of 2 Medals to Officers.

He must be content with the Scottish Police Medal.

Yours ever,

F E Ponsonby [vi]

 

(Sergeant Park Keeper Thomas Duncan did receive the Royal Parks Coronation Medal in May the following year.)

 

Eligibility criteria for the medal was further clarified in a copy of a letter to the Home Office dated 22 August, 1911 which stated that:

 

Dear Mr. Dixon

It is recommended that, so far as this Department is concerned, the Police Medal should be granted to Sergeants, Gate Keepers and Park Keepers of Regent’s, Hyde, Green, St. James, and Holyrood Parks and Kensington Gardens and a list of the men is enclosed.

Those serving in Bushey, Richmond and Greenwich Parks, Hampton Court and Osborne, are not to receive the medal: nor anyone who has already been granted the Coronation Medal…

The Holyrood List has been furnished to the Scottish Office at their request.

Yours very truly,  [vii]

(Unsigned)

Buckingham Palace was quite emphatic that no person should receive two medals and this is confirmed in a letter dated 1 February, 1912 to “The Honourable Sir Schomberg McDonnell, C.C.V.O.” from “F.E. Ponsonby” in which he states:

 

My Dear Pom,

I hear that one of the Head Park Keepers is a Yeoman of the Guard and as such has already received a Coronation Medal. I think his name is Albert Scraggs.

Will you therefore see that his name is taken out of the list, as the King does not wish anyone to receive two medals?

Yours ever,

F. E. Ponsonby [viii]

 

[i]  The National Archives, MINT 20/480.

 

[ii] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28.

 

[iii] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 93 – 94.

 

[iv] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 64 – 65.

 

[v] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 50 – 51.

 

[vi] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 57.

 

[vii] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 62 – 66.

 

[viii] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 76.

 

The Medal Rolls

 

In total, there are three lists of names in this file. [ii] The first, pages 64 – 66 also contains the Holyrood Park List.

 

The 109th Royal Parks Medal

 

Appended in pencil at the bottom of the list on Page 84 is the name of ‘Inspector William Graham Davis, HM Office of Woods’ [iii] and I believe he is the 109th name on the medal roll. His name does not appear on any of the other Royal Parks lists but this would account for the discrepancy between there being 108 London Royal Park Keepers names on the lists and the final bill being for 109 medals.

 

Inspector William Graham Davis

 

William Graham Davis was born on 20 July, 1866 in Guildford in Surrey. 

 

He joined the Royal Navy on 1 September, 1881 at HMS Impregnable. He served on HMS Magpie during the Boer War and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal[iv].

 

He was a Petty Officer, Gunnery Instructor on HMS Gleaner, a Torpedo Gun Boat based at Gravesend in Kent in 1900 and still there in the Census the following year[v]

 

When he married Annie Maud Isabella Prockter on 15 August, 1900 at St Mary’s, Hornsey Rise in the Parish of Islington, his occupation was the same[vi].

 

He was pensioned from the Royal Navy on 23 July, 1904.

 

In the Census of England, 1911, he and ‘Minnie’ (Maud) were living in Regent’s Park at West Lodge, Park Crescent, London. His occupation was ‘Naval Pensioner, Inspector, (in) Regent’s Park’[vii].

 

He served again between 2 August, 1914 and 28 August, 1918.

 

William Graham Davis died in Barnet, Hertfordshire on 15 August, 1934. His usual address was 7 The Drive, Potters Bar. His widow, Annie Maud Davis received Probate on 19 September, 1934[viii].

 

The Three Lists of Names

 

The list on pages 93 -94 are particularly helpful in that they identify the London parks in which each man worked. I copied all the lists, compared them and verified that they were identical.

 

I then compared the London list with the 1911 Census of England and identified the first and middle names of the recipients. In doing so, I identified 13 anomalies in the data recorded. For the sake of historical accuracy, I have listed the variances in the ‘Remarks’ column in the Medal Roll below.

 

The result of that effort is the Medal Roll below.

 

[i] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 76.

 

[ii] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 64 -66, 84, 93 -94.

 

[iii] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Page 84.

 

[iv] Ancestry.com, UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, ADM171, Piece 53.

 

[v] Ancestry.com, 1901 England Census, Class RG 13, Piece714, Folio 236, Page 14.

 

[vi] Ancestry.com, London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754 – 1921.

 

[vii] Ancestry.com, England Census, 1911, lass RG14, Piece 518.

 

[viii] Ancestry.com, England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills & Administrations), 1858 – 1966.

 

 

St James’s Park, Kensington Gardens & Regent’s Park, London

 

 

Name

Park

Remarks

1

John Henry Green

St James’s Park

‘H. Green’ in List 1.

2

William David Ballan

St James’s Park

 

3

Isaac Bennell

St James’s Park

‘I. Bennet’ in List 1.

4

John Abraham Peel

St James’s Park

 

5

William Charles Gould

St James’s Park

 

6

George Kimber

St James’s Park

 

7

Walter William Radford

St James’s Park

 

8

J. Teague

St James’s Park

 

9

Amos Bolton

St James’s Park

 

10

W. McCrory

St James’s Park

 

11

Charles Joiner

St James’s Park

 

12

Albert George Orchard

St James’s Park

 

13

Thomas James Kenney

St James’s Park

 

14

J. Ainsworth

St James’s Park

 

15

F. Thompson

St James’s Park

‘J. Thomson’ in List 1.

16

C. Miller

St James’s Park

 

17

William Chapman

St James’s Park

 

18

William Windridge

St James’s Park

 

19

William Lewis Jenkins

St James’s Park

 

20

John Thomas Linskey

St James’s Park

 

21

James Packer

St James’s Park

 

22

W. Mitchell

St James’s Park

 

23

Henry Hobday

St James’s Park

 

24

Charles Mott

Kensington Gardens

 

25

G. Webb

St James’s Park

 

26

A. Dick

St James’s Park

 

27

Edward Phillip Symons

St James’s Park

 

28

Adam Mackie

St James’s Park

 

29

John Fitzgerald

St James’s Park

 

30

John Burrows

St James’s Park

 

31

John Gray

St James’s Park

‘A. Gray’ in List 1.

32

Leonard Hammond

St James’s Park

 

33

William Walter Charles Hex Petherick

St James’s Park

 

34

Charles George Waterman

St James’s Park

 

35

John Hepworth

St James’s Park

 

36

Thomas Bailey

St James’s Park

‘J. Bailey’ in List 1.

37

Joseph Dunckley

St James’s Park

 

38

Thomas Wakefield

Kensington Gardens

 

39

Joseph Grogan

Kensington Gardens

 

40

J. Harrold

Kensington Gardens

 

41

Arthur Sydney Cumner

Kensington Gardens

 

42

Arthur Watts

Kensington Gardens

 

43

George Charles Francis

Kensington Gardens

‘G. Frances’ in List 1.

44

George William Brown

Kensington Gardens

 

45

Arthur William White

Kensington Gardens

 

46

Richard Costello

Kensington Gardens

 

47

Walter Evans

Kensington Gardens

 

48

Joseph Lewington

Kensington Gardens

 

49

Henry Stroud

Kensington Gardens

 

50

Ernest Hayes

Kensington Gardens

 

51

Harry Wedgbury

Kensington Gardens

 

52

(Neil) Thomas Haughey

Kensington Gardens

 

53

Alfred James Chowne

Kensington Gardens

Listed incorrectly as ‘A Choune’ in final list.

54

Thomas Price Jones

Kensington Gardens

 

55

 

John William Bryant

Kensington Gardens

 

56

Matthew Travers

Kensington Gardens

 

57

John Connors

Kensington Gardens

 

58

D. Langston

Kensington Gardens

‘D. Langstone in List 1.

59

Benjamin Hearnden

Regent’s Park

 

60

Elijah Ladbroke

Regent’s Park

 

61

George Sutton Yeomans

Regent’s Park

 

62

James Powell

Regent’s Park

 

63

Henry William. Laurence

Regent’s Park

‘H. Lawrence’ in Final List.

64

Edwin William Lanchbury

Regent’s Park

 

65

W. Letford

Regent’s Park

 

66

E. Woolley

Regent’s Park

 

67

Charles Phillips

Regent’s Park

 

68

Henry Barnwell

Regent’s Park

 

69

Robert Loades

Regent’s Park

 

70

George Earwaker

Regent’s Park

 

71

George Henry Manton

Regent’s Park

 

72

R. Young

Regent’s Park

 

73

Thomas Percy Baldwin

Regent’s Park

 

74

James Donaldson

Regent’s Park

 

75

A. Burgess

Regent’s Park

 

76

James Edward Wright

Regent’s Park

 

77

Arthur Richard Gethin

Regent’s Park

 

78

Thomas Matthias Payne

Regent’s Park

 

79

James Douglas Wickenden

Regent’s Park

 

80

John Baxter

Regent’s Park

 

81

Isaac Lodge

Regent’s Park

 

82

T. Kenny

Regent’s Park

‘John Kenny’ in Census.

83

Thomas Gittings

Regent’s Park

 

84

William John Darling

Regent’s Park

 

85

John William Kirby

Regent’s Park

 

86

George Hale

Regent’s Park

 

87

Albert Edward Elworthy

Regent’s Park

 

88

William John Lillycrop

Regent’s Park

 

89

W. Paice

Regent’s Park

 

90

Edward Delves Chatterton

Regent’s Park

 

91

William Cameron

Kensington Gardens

Supernumerary

92

Robert Gerald Bond

Kensington Gardens

Supernumerary

93

J. Thorne

Kensington Gardens

Supernumerary

94

Herbert Muggridge

St James’s Park

Supernumerary

95

Harry Franklin

St James’s Park

Supernumerary

96

H. Collins

St James’s Park

Supernumerary. ‘J. Collins’ in List 1.

97

James Tween

St James’s Park

Supernumerary

98

A. Miller

St James’s Park

Supernumerary

99

J. Peppin

Kensington Gardens

Supernumerary. ‘J. Pippin’ in List 1.

100

P. Pender

Kensington Gardens

Supernumerary. ‘P. Pinder’ in List 1.

101

H. Drewitt

Kensington Gardens

Supernumerary

102

S. Dicks

Kensington Gardens

Supernumerary

103

T. Langford

Kensington Gardens

Supernumerary

104

H. Langton

Kensington Gardens

Supernumerary

105

N. Cheesman

Regent’s Park

Supernumerary

106

A. Trotter

Regent’s Park

Supernumerary

107

A. Gurr

Regent’s Park

Supernumerary

108

W. Bull

Regent’s Park

Supernumerary

109

William Graham Davis

HM Office of Woods (Works)

Inspector

 

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

 

 

Name

Rank

Remarks

1.

Thomas Duncan

Sergeant Park Keeper

 

2.

Patrick Cavanagh

Park Keeper

 

3

John Sharp Dalgleish

Park Keeper

 

4.

Thomas Needham

Park Keeper

 

5.

Hector Gray

Park Keeper

 

6.

John Malone

Park Keeper

 

7.

John Burnside

Park Keeper

 

8.

Alexander Duechars

Park Keeper

 

9.

John Alexander Gunn

Park Keeper

 

10.

John King

Park Keeper

 

11.

William Alexander Kerr

Park Keeper

 

The Cost of the London Royal Parks Medals

 

In a letter to ‘The Secretary, H.M. Office of Works, S.W.’, from the Royal Mint dated 18 March, 1912, the Chief Clerk, J. Matthews wrote:

 

Sir,

…I am directed by the Master of the Mint to forward herewith an account of the expenses incurred by this Department in connection with the supply of one hundred and nine Coronation Medals for Park Keepers, which were forwarded on 14th instant, and to request that the amount due, viz. Seventeen Pounds, one shilling and ten pence, may be paid before the 31st instant, if possible.

I am,

Sir,

Your obedient servant,

(Signed) J. Matthews

CHIEF CLERK [i]

 

The invoice details from the Royal Mint dated 18 March, 1912 [ii]  for the London parks medals is recorded below: [iii]

 

Royal Park

Cost of Medals & Ribbon

Kensington Gardens (31 Medals)

£4. 17/4d

Regent’s Park (37 Medals)

£5. 12/10d

St James’s Park (41 Medals)

£6. 11/8d

Total: 109 Medals

£17. 1/10d

 

The Total Cost of the Holyrood Parks Medals

 

In a letter from the Treasury to the ‘First Commissioner of Works’ dated 26 October, 1912, ‘Robert (Macauley?)’ wrote:

 

My Lord,

I am directed by the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury to state that They are informed by the Secretary for Scotland that the charge of the Mint for the manufacture of the medals issued to the Park Keepers of Holyrood in commemoration of the visit of Their Majesties to Edinburgh in 1911 amounted to £1.14.11.

My Lords are of opinion that, unless you see objection, this sum should be paid from the Vote for Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens, and They authorise its charge to that Vote accordingly.

I am,

My Lord,

Your obedient servant,

(Signed) Robert Macauley [iv]

 

The Total Cost of the London & Holyrood Royal Parks Medals

 

The total cost to the Office of Works of the 120 King George V Royal Parks Coronation Medals was £18.16/9d.

 

Conclusion

 

I am aware that in the past, Royal Parks Medal Rolls have been compiled from a number of sources and published, providing a valuable service. The previous known total was believed to be 119 medals for London and Edinburgh.

My research has identified an authoritative source; the original His Majesty’s Office of Works correspondence identifying all relevant documentation regarding Coronation (Police) Medals to Royal Parks staff. [v]  

 

As a result of my research, the number of medals are confirmed as 109 in London and 11 in Edinburgh. The names of all the recipients, (including Inspector Graham Davis of HM Office of Woods, not previously recorded) are verified by official documentation. Some insightful period background detail has emerged and the total cost of the 120 medals, £18. 16/9d, corroborated by original documents.

I believe it will be a useful resource to fellow collectors and enable them to research their own medals in more detail.

 

I also found an article from ‘The Scotsman’ [vi] newspaper published in Edinburgh on 30 May, 1912 that records the presentation of the medals to the Park Keepers at Holyrood Palace the previous day. [vii]

 

The article gives biographical details of each of the men and includes their previous service in the Navy and Army. I have researched the early careers of the 11 Holyrood Park recipients and hope to publish that material in the future.

 

I have endeavoured to make this article as accurate as possible but I take full responsibility for any factual errors that may have crept in. Please contact me to correct any factual errors.

 

[i] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 96.

 

[ii] The National archives, WORK 21.29/28, Page 96

 

[iii] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 95.

 

[iv] The National Archives. WORK 21/29/28, Pages 82.

 

[v] The National archives, WORK 21.29/28.

 

[vi] The National archives, WORK 21.29/28.

 

[vii] British Newspaper Archives, Scotsman Publications BL_0000540_19120530_194_0006

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