Gaol and Medals

Gaol and Medals

Digest Contents

...brushes with the State

Gaol and Medals

Our brushes with government take many different forms, but the two extremes are being put in gaol and being honoured for service and bravery with a medal. A number of different websites have led to unearthing O*T*RIDGE events in these areas.

Gloucester Gaol Records

5 O*T*RIDGEs appear in the Gloucester Gaol records between 1804 and 1857. Most were remand prisoners - the concept of bail was very rare in those days, and even those not arrested would still be shown in the Gaol record for their court appearance. Even worse, those who were found not guilty might be retained for a few days more before being released - claims for compensation would no doubt have been met by howls of laughter from the Governer !

A selection of these records are shown here:

William Otridge (a Tailor) was accused of receiving from a Richard Holder a variety of Mohair material. There is a very full description of him, but he was found Not Guilty and released 3 days later! However, William was not so lucky the next time the long

arm of the law caught him, and he was brought up before the Wiltshire Assizes in 1833 for obtaining money by false pretences. He was sentenced to 7 years' transportation to Australia and died in a Chain Gang in Tasmania in 1836.

Nigel Oatridge, who also went to the Antipodes, but under his own steam after his sentence of 6 months, the price to pay for being found guilty of " Stealing 42 pounds weight of bacon, one dress, one pair of duffers & one umbrella Value 50/- the property of Ann Hoult at Tidenham on 24th November 1860 "

His cousin Edward was involved in the same charge (as was a Richard Holder no 260), but was not held in Gaol before the hearing and was acquitted. Edward had a military record as will be recounted next.

Medal Records

Every person serving in the armed forces in World Wars 1 and 2 was awarded a set of medals to mark their involvement and some regard this as "medals with the rations". However, before we look at those, I have found 2 more unusual medal awards.

This is the Indian Mutiny Medal, awarded for service in India. The same Edward Oatridge as above joined the 4th Foot (Kings Own) Regiment in the mid-1840s, and is found in the 1851 Census in Plymouth Citadel. Between 1857 and 1859 he was involved in the Indian Mutiny Campaign, being listed as a Private with the 1st Battalion. He had returned home by 1860, for then he married Hannah HOOPER on 12 August, the marriage certificate showing his Soldierly occupation. Like many other soldiers in those days, with no pension, he must have found the return to civvy street hard, perhaps leading to his brush with the law above.

This is the Albert Medal for civilian gallantry. It was awarded to Charles OATRIDGE (1846-1928) for his part in the Tynewydd Colliery Disaster of 1877. This disaster in a Welsh valley produced four first and twenty-one second class 'land' medals. On 11 April 1877 the pressure of water collecting in the old workings of the Cymmer Colliery forced its way into the Tynewydd Colliery in the

Rhondda Valley, Glamorgan, drowning four men, killing one by compressed air and trapping the other nine working in the pit at the time. Four of the trapped men were rescued after eighteen hours of effort but the other five were to remain entombed for many more days, their release being the result of skill, bravery, endurance and comradeship of their fellow-workers in the area, owners, managers, colliers and firemen alike: Charles was one of these men.

Now the more mundane World War I medals. What I have are the record "slips" on which the details of the recipient and medal awards were recorded. A selection of them are shown below:

Henry John OTRIDGE (of the "London" branch) was 41 when the war started so was employed on non-combatant duties as a Driver with the RASC

Frederick Richard OATRIDGE (of the "Severn Valley" branch) was in the Worcester Regiment, and was invalided out in 1916 for reason unknown.

This is my own grandfather, Charles Arthur Valentine OTRIDGE, and it shows that he was an inaugural member of the RAF, having first been in the Somerset Light Infantry and RFC.

This is the record for William (Frederick) Otridge, and there is no hint that he paid for his medals with his life, dying on the Somme on 16 Sep 1916. He is buried in the No 2 Serre Road Cemetery.


Back to top    Digest Contents