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This page provides an example of a First World War gallantry group of medals that were awarded to an actual person. As with many groups of medals, especially to service personnel who served in World War One, the person in question did not live to receive this medals.

William Samuel Collis

William Samuel Collis

Photograph of William Samuel Collis

William Samuel Collis was born in Lancaster, the son of William and Mary Collis. He lived with his wife Gertrude Margaret in Montrose Street, Bank Top, Blackburn.

On 15 April 1901, Collis enlisted with the Royal Garrison Artillery for a service period of 12 years. His details at his enlistment are shown below.

Age   15 years
Height   5 feet 0.5 inches
Weight   102 lbs

During his army service period Collis served in the following batteries, including a transfer from the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) to the Royal Field Artillery (RFA).

Battery   Date Period
Depot RGA   until 16 April 1901
16 Company RGA   until 14 July 1902
138 Battery RFA   until 3 August 1904
3 Battery RFA   until 19 October 1906
64 Battery RFA   until 1 August 1911
63 Battery RFA   until his death

Following the completion of his first period of service, Collis signed on for a further period of service on 13 January 1913.

At the outbreak of World War One, Sergeant Collis was serving with 63rd Battery RFA in Cawnpore, India.

During the initial advance to Kut-al-Amera (Al Kut in Iraq) on 28 September 1915, Sergeant Collis was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his gallantry in repeatedly driving a supply wagon to provide shells for the artillery guns.

Driving the wagon

Sergeant Collis driving the wagon under shell fire (Deeds that Thrill the Empire)

The citation for Sergeant Collis' DCM was published in the London Gazette dated 22 January 1916:

34528 Sergeant W.S. Collis, 63rd Battery, Royal Field Artillery:

For conspicuous gallantry at Kut-al-Amera (Mesopotamia), on 28 September 1915. He brought up wagons to replenish ammunition three times during the day through heavy and well-directed shell fire, which was brought to bear immediately that the wagon appeared.

In a later action, Sergeant Collis was wounded and later died of his wounds on 13 December 1915 aged 29 years' old, and is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Kut War Cemetery in Iraq.

Sergeant Collis was also posthumously mentioned-in-despatches, the notification being published in the London Gazette on 5 April 1916.

As he died before he could receive any of his medals, they were sent to his wife; as his next-of-kin.

Sergeant Collis' medals consist of the Distinguished Conduct Medal (GV Type), 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and British Victory Medal (with MID oak leaf cluster).

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