Distinguished Service Order, 1918
Accession number: OB1997.212/1
This medal was awarded to Captain Home Peel of the 1st/8th Battalion (Post Office Rifles).
Peel joined the Regiment as Second Lieutenant in 1914 and later became Lieutenant and Captain. The battalion saw active service from March 1915 but sadly Peel was killed in action near Longueval on 24 March 1918 during the retreat from Cambrai.
This medal is a Distinguished Service Order, instituted in 1886 for individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war, typically in actual combat. Recipients of the Distinguished Service Order were entitled to use the letters DSO after their name.
Peel was recommended for a Distinguished Service Order for his part in the battle of the Somme in 1916 but at this time he was only mentioned in the despatches. His bravery was later rewarded however when in 1918 he was finally awarded a Distinguished Service Order.
Peel was also awarded a Military Cross medal for leading an attack on German trenches at Festubert in 1915. The BPMA also holds this in the collection as well as other medals of Peel’s, all of which were purchased at auction in 1991.
The medals are accompanied by nearly 60 documents and photographs relating to the career and wartime service of Home Peel, including certificates, coronation invitations, letters, newspaper cuttings, recommendations, dedications and much more.
Perhaps the most moving of these documents is a letter sent to Mrs Peel from the German Soldier who found her husband's body. He writes; "Although enemy and sometimes deeply hurt by the ridiculous tone of your home press, I feel it as a human duty to communicate you these sad news. Capt. Peel was killed in action near Longueval and died, as it seems by the wounds received, without suffering." This shows that even in the bloodiest of battles and in the face of the enemy, humanity and compassion still existed.