Military Medal for disabled soldier

A soldier patient at Wardown V.A.D. Hospital who had seen service throughout the war and come through safely until a few weeks before the armistice, when he was wounded and lost a leg, was presented with the Military Medal, watched by an audience at the Palace Theatre in Luton.

The Beds and Herts Saturday Telegraph (February 8th, 1919) reported that he presentation provided a pleasing interlude at the Palace, when Mayor (Councillor Henry Impey) pinned the medal on Cpl Arthur Poole, 200848, 1/5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment.

Cpl Poole had lost his leg below the knee, and his appearance on the stage on crutches, dressed in the familiar hospital blue, was the signal for enthusiastic applause.

The Mayor said that nothing gave him greater pleasure than to present a well-earned decoration to one of the nation's heroes. Cpl Poole, he said, volunteered for service in 1914, and came through safely until until a few weeks before the armistice was signed, when he had the misfortune to be to be wounded and to lose a leg as a result.

Notwithstanding that great handicap, he was cheerful and happy, for he had the consolation of knowing that his sacrifice had been made in a noble cause.

Recounting the service for which the medal was awarded, the Mayor said that on June 8th, 1917, during a raid on hostile trenches, Cpl Poole organised a bombing party and led them to the support of a similar party already engaged. He collected bombs and took them up to the bombers, and carried messages to the platoon commander, all the time under heavy shell fire.

He set an example of coolness, initiative and resource which was remarkable and of the greatest value, and throughout a period of 22 months at the Front had been responsible for consistently good work.

Pinning the medal on the gallant recipient, the Mayor added: “While you live to wear this medal – which I trust will be for very many years – you will be an example to your fellow citizens of bravery in the discharge of your duty. It is not of great intrinsic value, but it expresses the sympathy and appreciation of those who have recognised your valour and good work.

“I hope that in your future life you will have the best health possible under the circumstances, and that your country will see to it that you never want.”

The Mayor, having shaken hands with the medallist, announced that Cpl Poole was 'too bashful to make a speech.' and called for three hearty cheers, which were given with enthusiasm.