A hobby of people

June 2002, Volume 40 No. 6
As has been said in this comment many times before medal collecting is not simply the acquisition pieces of metal with coloured ribbons attached, rather it is a hobby of people, of events, of history and with each new addition to a collection comes pleasure associated with finding out as much as possible about the man behind the meal and about the action behind the award. Often collectors will turn to professionals to find out this information, often because they do not have the time, expertise or geographical advantages to be able to do such research themselves (trips to the PRO are not that quick and convenient when you live in Glasgow, or Honiton for that matter!), such researchers, particularly those stalwarts who advertise within these pages, are invaluable both for beginners and more seasoned collectors but even if their services are used extensively it is a rare enthusiast who doesn’t want to do some background reading on the subject of his collection (and jolly glad we publishers are too) and, as this reading develops, from simple background articles to more expansive dedicated volumes, so the collector finds that he too has become a researcher of sorts. This is true of practically all of us in this hobby and, sixty years ago, was the basis for the inception of the Orders and Medals Research society (OMRS), a body formed to allow collectors to get together and share their knowledge. Today, as the society celebrates its Diamond Jubilee, that principle still holds true with now nearly 3,000 members in the UK and across the world able to benefit from each others’ experiences. To celebrate this milestone the OMRS has organised a number of events, the first was the highly successful OMRS North in April and the remainder are mainly due to take place in September of this year to coincide with the OMRS convention, an annual gathering of members who come together both on a social level (the annual Dinner on Friday September 20) and to buy, sell and exhibit in the bourse the following day. These events include a General study Day at the PRO on Thursday September 19, a trip to the Royal engineers Museum at Chatham on Sunday September 22 and a half day tour of the Freemason Hall and Museum on Wednesday September 25.

However membership of the Society doesn’t just bring benefits once a year, all members receive the quarterly OMRS journal, an “American A4” size 60 page wealth of information that includes Society news, book reviews, medal rolls and articles, there are also regular “branch” meetings held all over the country, indeed all over the world where society members can meet and, in the spirit of the Society’s foundation “talk medals” and share their expertise. OMRS branches can be found in Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand and Australia as well, of course as the UK. British branches include Manchester, Cheltenham, Salisbury, Scotland, Northumbria, Sussex and the latest addition to the family the recently inaugurated Kent branch. More information on the branches, their meeting times etc. can be found on the Society’s website www.omrs.org.uk.

For those who missed the OMRS leaflet in last month’s MEDAL NEWS further details on membership and its benefits can be obtained from Jim Lees, the membership secretary at PO Box 248 Snettisham, King’s Lynn PE31 7TA e-mail jrlees@btinternet.com. For further details about the September events, or any other aspect of the Society’s work, the General Secretary, Peter Helmore, can be reached at PO Box 1904, Southam CV47 2ZX e-mail petedeehelmore@talk21.com

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In This Issue

Heroes15
James Dalton VC
The heroic assistant Commisary at Rourke's Drift
Research Notes19
Anniversary Project
the QSA as awarded to Strathcona's Horse
Family Album22
Out of the furnaces
Private Horace Inkerman Bennett, RAMC
Insight24
Men in Khaki and Fireman in glittering helmets
Ambulances of National Fire Brigades Union in the Anglo-Boer War
Profile27
An Old Soldier's tale
The service history of an Instructor of Musketry in the King's Own Borderers
Out & About31
The RAF Museum at Hendon
Spotlight34
A life of adventure
The adventurous career of Hugh Boustead
Badges37
the West Surreys - The Queen's Regiment
A distinctive device
Casebook41
His Own worst enemy
the misconduct of a Gordon Highlander
Background44
A medal short
Sir george Harvie Watt's war servuce
On the fringe46
Medal of the Royal Aeronautical Society
Rewards for Research

Regulars

The Editorial Page5
News and Views6
Market Scene10
On Parade48
Dealer's Lists49
Readers' Letters50
Medal tracker52
Classifieds54
Subscription form57
Calendar59