AN appeal in the Hereford Times has helped discover the story of a Lieutenant Colonel who was awarded a number of medals for "exceptional service to the state" during the First World War.

At the end of October, The Friends of The Herefordshire Regimental Museum appealed to readers to get in touch with any information about those who fought at Suvla Bay in Gallipoli in 1915.

The museum wants to gather 100 of the battle's 1914/15 star medal to mark its centenary next August.

The appeal prompted 35 responses and 18 Suvla men have been identified- including the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Drage from Presteigne.

Colonel Andy Taylor, curator of the regimental museum, said: "He commanded the regiment throughout the First World War. He was wounded at Suvla Bay, on the day the battalion landed – August 8– but after medical attention rejoined the battalion on the 9th.

"Lieutenant Colonel Drage was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), was mentioned in despatches three times and was awarded the Order of The Nile by the Sultan of Egypt for exceptional services to the state."

The star medal count is now up to 90- about ten more than before the appeal- the display will be known as Suvla100.

It is a bronze star which has 1914-15 written on the front and a red, white and blue ribbon.

On the back of the medal is the recipient's number, name, rank and regiment.

Colonel Taylor said: "The response has been superb and we have identified medals and associated photographs and documentation for 18 soldiers and all have been made available for the display next year.

"Soldiers came from all corners of Herefordshire and Radnorshire and responses have been received from all across the country."

More than 1,000 men, mostly from Herefordshire, endured great hardships of heat, water shortage and insanitary conditions during the battle on the Turkish shores.

The Battalion lost 80 men and more than 800 were evacuated with wounds or illness.

There were less than 100 fit men when the battalion was evacuated four months after landing in December 1915.

The museum is keen to hear from anyone with details of Herefordshire Regimental soldiers especially those that served during the First World War. Call Colonel Taylor on 01432 853261.

Hereford Times: Woodland Trust