A rare Great War Battle of the Somme Military Medal and Imperial Russian Saint George Medal for Bravery 4th Class group awarded to Corporal F. Lee, 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, a pre-war regular soldier from Newport in Monmouthshire, who then saw service out on the Western Front from 13th September 1914. Twice decorated for his bravery in action during the Battle of the Somme, his Military Medal was gazetted on 1st September 1916, and his Saint George Medal for Bravery 4th Class on 15th February 1917, he being the only man in his battalion to receive this decoration for the Somme operations, and his combination is therefore unique within the battalion for the Battle of the Somme. Lee subsequently died in service, most probably of wounds whilst serving in the Ypres Salient on 12th March 1918.
Group of 5: Military Medal, GVR bust; (1117 L.CPL F. LEE. 2/WELSH R.); 1914 Star; (1117 PTE F. LEE. 2/WELSH R.); British War Medal and Victory Medal; (1117 CPL. F. LEE. WELSH R.); Imperial Russia: Saint George Medal for Bravery, 4th Class in Silver, this being the type issued from 1915 onwards, reverse bearing the impressed award number: ’No901662’.
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Frederick Lee was born on 25th June 1894 in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales, the son of one Anthony Leigh / Lee, surname spelt variously in different records for both the father and son, his father was a dock labourer. As of 1907 he was at school at Bolt Street Boys School in Newport. Having then enlisted into the British Army as a pre-war regular under the surname of Lee, he then saw service during the Great War as a Private later Lance Corporal and then Corporal (No.1117) with the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, being present with the British Expeditionary Force out on the Western Front from 13th September 1914.
It was during the Battle of the Somme, that Lee was serving as a Lance Corporal when he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field in the London Gazette for 1st September 1916, and he was then subsequently awarded the Imperial Russian Saint George Medal for Bravery 4th Class for his services on the Somme, the award being published in the London Gazette for 15th February 1917. Lee was one of 32 men of the 2nd Battalion to receive the Military Medal for their actions on the Somme, two further men received bars to their awards, and in addition he was one of his battalion to receive a decoration from the Russians for his actions during the same period.
The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for Friday, 16th February 1917, details under the title: ‘Welsh Soldiers Honoured’ it mentions that Lee was amongst three Welsh soldiers to be honoured by the Russians during this period, a Corporal William Morris of the Welsh Regiment received the Cross of Saint George 4th Class along with a Company Sergeant Major Arthur Edward Wilson, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and Lee was the only one shown to be awarded the Saint George Medal for Bravery 4th Class.
Lee died in service on 12th March 1918, most probably of wounds, and is buried in Minty Farm Cemetery at Langemark near Ypres.