As many of you will know by now, currently at Quarry Bank we have an exhibition on called Heroes of Adventure, which commemorates the experiences of the Greg family, the workers and the villagers in the First World War. Ally and I led on the exhibition and we became very emotionally attached to the people’s stories that we researched. We became incredibly excited when we realised that we had the chance to recover the medals of Arthur and Bobby Greg, which were stolen from the Mill Manger’s Office in the 1978, where they had been kept for decades. Since 1979, they have been held in private collections.
Arthur and Bobby both fought and died in the First World War. Arthur was returning from a mission in 1917 with the Royal Flying Corps, when he was shot down and killed instantaneously. Bobby was killed by a shell after only two weeks at the Front, in May 1918.
After the end of the First World War the medals awarded to Arthur and Bobby were requested by and sent to their father Ernest William Greg from the War Office. The medals were subsequently mounted onto a wooden shield-shaped frame with golden-brown velvet backing fabric and glass front, and were possibly originally hung in Norcliffe Hall. The accompanying letters by King George V were also framed.
The medals awarded to the brothers were:
- The two Next of Kin bronze plaques awarded to Arthur and Bobby
- Arthur’s three medals: the 1914 Star and the British and Victory Medals
- Bobby’s British and Victory Medals.
These medals and their documentation, along with a large quantity of family archives and objects, were donated to the National Trust in 1939 by their younger brother Alec Greg, and were on display in the Mill Manager’s Office. However, in March 1978 the medals stolen apart from one – Bobby’s British War Medal. The rest were sold off in later years, but remained together as a collection.
Last year the medals came to light and Ally and our Regional Curator, Caroline, worked really hard to recover them and bring them back home.
David Sekers, who was the Museum Director at the time of the theft recounted:
‘the theft was very upsetting for Alec Greg, as they were such tangible reminders of his elder brothers’.
Finally, the medals are back at Quarry Bank, and now form part of our Heroes of Adventure exhibition. The medals will be on display until Sunday 16 November (and are now alarmed to the back teeth!)
Laura and Ally