The superb Great War Battle of the Somme November 1916 1st Barnsley Pals Military Medal and subsequent Italy Asiago Plateau 9th April 1918 Al Valore Militare in Silver pair to the Italian Theatre Distinguished Conduct Medal recipient Corporal J. Gibbs, D.C.M., M.M., 13th Service Battalion (Barnsley), later 8th Service Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, later Machine Gun Corps. Gibbs from Dunkinfield in Cheshire, was an original member of the 1st Barnsley Pals, who won his first award, the Military Medal for bravery during the Battle of the Somme in November 1916. He subsequently transferred to the 8th Service Battalion, and from November 1917 was sent with the 23rd Division to Italy where he fought with distinction on the Asiago Plateau, being awarded a rare gazetted Al Valore Militare in Silver for his actions on 9th April 1918, he went on to be further awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, when he and four others together with an officer went forward to secure a prisoner. Gibbs personally reconnoitred the enemy-posts and when the post was rushed, he disarmed one of the enemy who was about to bayonet the officer in charge.
Pair: Military Medal, GVR bust; (13-364 L.CPL. J. GIBBS. 13/Y. & L.R.); Italy - Kingdom of: Al Valore Militare in Silver, obverse with F.G. initials, reverse engraved in an official form; (JOSEPH GIBBS - ASIAGO - - 9 APRILE 1918)
Condition: both lightly polished, and both with edge bruising and contact wear, about Very Fine.
Joseph Gibbs came from Dunkinfield in Cheshire, now Greater Manchester, and saw service during the Great War as a Lance Corporal and later Acting Corporal (No.13-364) with the York and Lancaster Regiment, as a member of the 13th Service Battalion (Barnsley), which was otherwise known as the 1st Barnsley Pals.
An original member of the Barnsley Pals from when they were formed in September 1914, his battalion formed part of the 94th Brigade in the 31st Division. He would have accompanied his battalion to Egypt in late December 1915, and his unit landed there during January 1916. However having been posted to Port Said, and then on to Kantara, the 31st Division took over No 3 Sector of the Suez Canal defences. The stay in Egypt was short, and between 1st to 6th March the Division sailed to Marseilles for service on the Western Front.
With the onset of the Battle of the Somme, his battalion went over the top on 1st July 1916 in the attack on Serre. The Barnsley Pals were the two support battalions for the Sheffield City Battalion and the Accrington Pals. The 1st Barnsley Pals suffered 275 casualties on this day.
For his part, Gibbs, when still a Lance Corporal, was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field in the London Gazette for 12th March 1917, which indicates an award won during the Battle of the Somme in November 1916 in which period his division was embroiled in the Battle of the Ancre.
At some stage, Gibbs transferred to the 8th Service Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, a unit of the 70th Brigade in the 23rd Division, and from November 1917 was on active service in Italy.
During the fighting on the Asiago Plateau on 9th April 1918 he earned the rare award of the Italian Al Valore Militare in Silver, which was published in the London Gazette for 7th January 1919. Gibbs was the only member of the 8th Service Battalion to receive this honour, and in addition he was the only member of the Barnsley Pals to go on to receive this decoration.
Gibbs is recorded as having been hospitalised in the 52nd General Hospital in Italy on 10th May 1918, owing to a haemotoma of the nasal septum.
Gibbs went on to be decorated with the Distinguished Conduct Medal for the further fighting which raged on the Asiago Plateau, the citation for which was published in the London Gazette on 3rd September 1918, reading as follows: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when on patrol. He and four others went forward with the officer in charge to secure a prisoner. He personally reconnoitred the enemy-posts and when the post was rushed, he disarmed one of the enemy who was about to bayonet the officer in charge. Throughout he set a splendid example of courage and resource.’
He ultimately transferred as a Corporal (No.166466) to the Machine Gun Corps.