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A RARE Meritorious Service Medal for service in Ireland, Royal Defence Corps.

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A RARE Meritorious Service Medal for service in Ireland, Royal Defence Corps.

Meritorious Service Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue ,17975 C.S. Mjr. J. Wood. R.D.C.

M.S.M. London Gazette 3 June 1919. ‘… in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war.’ ‘17975 Coy./S.M., 454th Coy. [Royal Defence Corps] (Bradford).’

Joseph Wood was born in Pendleton, Lancashire. A Collier by occupation, he attested for the Manchester Regiment at Ashton-under-Lyne on 28 September 1886, aged 19 years. With them he served in India, September 1888-December 1894. Attaining the rank of Colour Sergeant, he was discharged in September 1907 having completed his second period of engagement.

With the outbreak of the Great War he returned to military service and became a Company Sergeant-Major serving with the 454th (Provost) Company Royal Defence Corps. For his service in Ireland he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, his only military award. C.S.M. Wood died of influenza in Cork on 17 February 1919, aged 52 years. He was buried in the Philips Park Cemetery, Manchester. He was the husband of Mary Elizabeth Wood of 227 Mill Street, Bradford, Manchester, Lancashire.

With copied M.S.M. m.i.c. marked ‘Ireland’; copied service papers re service in the Manchester Regiment and other research.

The Royal Defence Corps was formed in March 1916 and disbanded in 1936.

It was initially formed by converting the (Home Service) Garrison battalions of line infantry regiments. Garrison battalions were composed of soldiers either too old or medically unfit for active front-line service; the Home Service status indicated they were unable to be transferred overseas. Eighteen battalions were converted in this way.

The role of the corps was to provide troops for security and guard duties inside the United Kingdom; guarding important locations such as ports or bridges. It also provided independent companies for guarding prisoner-of-war camps. The corps was never intended to be employed on overseas service.

Condition – GVF