John Lea

Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Personal Details

Born: 25 August 1881 in Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Family: He was one of nine children born to Isaiah Lea, a greengrocer, and Elizabeth Humphreys. He married Violet Mary Johnson in Atcham, Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1913. The couple had seven children, Gwendoline, Alice, Marjorie, William, Margaret, Elsie and Joan.

Residence: In 1891 his family were living at 4 Folly Lane, Whitchurch. By 1901 they had moved to 16 Yardington, Whitchurch. There is no address given for him on the 1919 Absent Voters’ List but on his discharge document from the Army in 1922 there is an address of 7 Sherrymill Hill, Whitchurch. In 1939 he and his family were living at 1 Brownlow Street, Whitchurch. At the time of his death, he was living at 187 Queensway, Whitchurch.

Employment: He was in the Army from 1903 until 1922. In 1939 his occupation was described as a general labourer.

Died: In 1959 in Whitchurch, Shropshire, aged 77.

Military Details

RegimentRoyal Welsh Fusiliers  (previously King’s Shropshire Light Infantry)

Rank: Company Sergeant Major

Service Number: 42372 (previously 7455)

Date of Enlistment: 8 October 1903

Date of Discharge: 6 March 1922

Reason for Discharge: Disembodied

Other Information: His brother, Isaiah, also served in WW1.

Medals and Awards

John was awarded the Campaign Medals (1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal)

Campaign Medals

Great War History Hub Whitchurch Shropshire Medals Front Image

The 1914 Star (also known as 'Pip') was authorised under Special Army Order no. 350 in November 1917 and by an Admiralty Fleet Order in 1918, for award to officers and men of the British and Indian Expeditionary Forces who served in France or Belgium between 5 August and midnight of 22–23 November 1914. The former date is the day after Britain's declaration of war against the Central Powers, and the closing date marks the end of the First Battle of Ypres.

The 1914–15 Star (also known as 'Pip') was instituted in December 1918 and was awarded to officers and men of British and Imperial forces who served against the Central European Powers in any theatre of the Great War between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915. The period of eligibility was prior to the introduction of the Military Service Act 1916, which instituted conscription in Britain.

The British War Medal (also known as 'Squeak') was a silver or bronze medal awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Allied Victory Medal (also known as 'Wilfred') was issued by each of the allies. It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory. Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') also received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' and all recipients of The 1914 Star or The 1914/1915 Star (also known as 'Pip') also received both 'Squeak' and 'Wilfred'. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.


John Lea — 2 Comments

  1. Marjorie who was John lea daughter was my nan been looking to find history of my mums side of the family which is the lea family of whitchurch, this is fantastic

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