UPDATE – 2nd medal completes Sjt. Alexander Cruickshank, M.M. gallantry group

Sgt A. Cruickshank, MMThe original story concerning Sjt. Cruickshank related the return of the Memorial Plaque (read here) given to his parents in 1922, and how it had arrived anonymously at MRNZ from Ireland, and its subsequent reunification with his medals displayed in the Marlborough RSA.

Since that post and to my utter surprise, a British War Medal (BWM) minus ribbon, also named to 6/2105 Sjt. A. Cruickshank NZEF arrived in the post from the same anonymous source as the Memorial Plaque. 

Being somewhat skeptical of its arrival believing the medal group in the Marlborogh RSA was complete, a close inspection revealed the medal to be completely genuine – correctly impressed, style of impression correct, degree of wear consistent with its age.  So why was there apparently two BWMs awarded to Sjt. Cruicksahnk?  Suspecting something was not right, I contacted Marlborough RSA President, John Forrest, and told him what I had and could he check the existing medals to see that they were genuine.  He assured me they were.  My initial thoughts were that if the medal I was holding was indeed an original, then it must either be the initial issued medal or a duplicate to replace loss.  Or, the medal in Sjt. Cruickshank’s group could be a genuine BWM to replace the one I had, but NOT named to him.  The last possibility was that the medal in the group was a replica medal used to replace the lost issued BWM and thus complete the group for display purposes.

I again contacted John and asked him to conduct some specific checks on Sjt. Cruickshank’s medals, specifically the details of impression, naming and genuity of the medal.  Fortunately my request coincided with a 100% stock check of all the RSA’s memorabilia and medals, and with a medal specialist in attendance.

Sgt Cruickskank medalsJohn phoned me back after the check and confirmed that the BWM mounted in Sjt. Cruickshank’s group was not his – it was in fact named to a Canadian Infantry soldier – 226416  R.A. WILLIAMS, 102 CDN INF.  It  is thought the error may have been made when the medal displays were being refurbished some 35 years ago.  As with Sjt. Cruickshank’s Memorial Plaque, how this medal found its way into an Irish collectors hands will likely always be a topic of speculation.  Needless to say, John is now double checking every WW1 medal group the RSA holds for naming accuracy.

A very satisfying outcome – I will be reuniting the British War Medal with Sjt. Cruickshank’s correctly named medals during my next visit to Blenheim in a couple of weeks.  The medal group of 6/2105 Sjt. Alexander Cruickshank, MM may then be accurately recorded as being 100% present and correct (and genuine), as personally presented to Sandy’s (Alexander) mother in 1919.

“ He sleeps beside his comrades,

In a land to us unknown;

But his name is written in letters of love

On the hearts he left at home”

The reunited medal tally is now 59.

bwm 2bwm 1

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