The exceptional and possibly unique North Russia August to September 1918 operations north of Oboserskava Armoured Train versus Armoured Train action gun commander’s Military Medal group awarded to Sergeant E. Hallwell, Royal Field Artillery, Territorial Force, who spent the majority of the Great War on home service, but then joined the North Russian Expeditionary Force in June 1918 as a member of the 2nd Brigade taking part in the Allied Intervention in North Russia. After service at Murmansk, he was moved to Archangel, and then assumed command of a field gun on an armoured train operating from that place. It was during the operations north of Oboserskava between 31st August and 6th September 1918 that Hallwell won the Military Medal, the recommendation of which fortunately survives. On one occasion with a reduced crew, he kept his gun in action under heavy fire and succeeded in forcing back the enemy armoured train. On another occasion when communication on the train had been broken by enemy fire, Hallwell re-established same under heavy fire displaying great skill and promptitude which had a very fine effect on the guns crews, who under fire for the first time, were becoming a little unsteady.
Military Medal, Geo V, bust; (830614 SJT: E. HALLWELL. R.F.A.); British War Medal and Victory Medal; (2515 SJT. E. HALLWELL. R.A.)
Edward Hallwell was born in 1889 and came from Worcester, Worcestershire, and enlisted into the British Army Territorial Force at Worcester on 28th September 1914. Hallwell then saw home service with the 4th Reserve Brigade, and would appear to have been destined to remain on home service for the duration of the Great War. He however then embarked for North Russia and disembarked at Murmansk on 22nd June 1918, and then fought in the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War with the 2nd Brigade.
Having embarked at Murmansk on 29th July and disembarked at Archangel on 2nd August 1918, he was then posted as a Sergeant and placed in command of a gun on an armoured train. It was during the period from 31st August to 6th September 1918 when in operations north of Oboserskava that Hallwell won the Military Medal for bravery in the field, the award being published in the London Gazette for 13th March 1919.
Fortunately his original recommendation survives: ‘During operations north of Oboserskava extending over the period August 31st to September 6th 1918, this N.C.O. was in command of a gun on the armoured train and has shown the highest qualities of devotion to duty, presence of mind and indifference to danger. On one occasion with a reduced crew, he kept his gun in action under heavy fire and succeeded in forcing back the enemy armoured train. On another occasion when communication on the train had been broken by enemy fire, this N.C.O. re-established same under heavy fire displaying great skill and promptitude which had a very fine effect on the guns crews, who under fire for the first time, were becoming a little unsteady.’
Halwell was congratulated on his actions by Major General F. Poole, Commander-in-Chief, North Russia Expeditionary Force. This is quite possibly the only example of a Military Medal awarded for an Armoured Train versus Armoured Train action. Hallwell was discharged on 25th July 1919. light edge bruising to last, Very Fine