Military Medal: Sergeant Albert Victor James, 46 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Pozieres Area, Pozieres
Accession Number REL23034
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1917-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Military Medal (Geo V). Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

History / Summary

4520 Private Albert Victor James, a 23 year old tailor from Kyneton, Victoria, enlisted on 3 September 1915. After initial training he was appointed to the 14th Reinforcements of 5 Battalion, AIF and sailed from Melbourne for overseas service on 28 January 1916 on the troopship HMAT A32 Themistocles. During training in Egypt James was transferred to 46 Battalion in April 1916. His battalion arrived in France in June 1916.

James was awarded the Military Medal for action at Pozieres in August 1916. The recommendation for the award reads, 'Conspicuous good work as Sergeant of Lewis Gun Section. Showed excellent qualities as Instructor and in the Field. This N.C.O. was wounded. POZIERES 5/15th August 1916'. This recommendation must have been written after 9 September when James was promoted to sergeant. On 31 August 1916 James received a slight gunshot wound to the hand. As a result of his evident skill with Lewis Guns he was sent to attend a formal Lewis Gun training school at Le Touquet in 1917.

On 13 March 1917 James wrote to his family: 'I got presented with my Military Medal Ribbon on Sunday...Birdwood making the presentation, my legs almost deserted me they felt as if they were made of jelly, but I mananged to get through the ordeal all right./ Dad you asked what I done, I only done my duty, my Officer thought that I was doing something deserving of merit so recommended me, I can tell you nobody got a bigger shock than I did when it was read out...'.

James was commissioned in April 1917 and was promoted to lieutenant on 11 September 1917. He was wounded in action a second time on 18 September 1918 during the battle for the Hindenburg Outpost-Line, when he received a severe gunshot wound to the head. He saw no further active service, and after hospitalisation in France and England returned to Australia on the hospital transport 'Leicestershire', arriving at the end of January 1919. He was discharged medically unfit on 8 March 1919.