Two World War 1 medals awarded to Pt Albert Corden are back in Uckfield. Some of the people who helped bring them to the town are, from the left, Jackie Love, Tina Newman, Tim Benians, Donna French, Diane Ward, Wendy Tagg and Neil Kerridge. There were also contributions from Duncan Bennett, Emma Anderson, Madeleine Judge and Maximum Diner.

Uckfield soldier’s World War 1 medals are bought for the town

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Donna French with the two World War 1 medals awarded to Pt Albert Corden.

World War 1 medals awarded posthumously to an Uckfield soldier have been brought back to the town after being spotted for sale online.

Townspeople clubbed together to raise the £143 needed to secure the purchase of the British War Medal and the Victory medal which were awarded to Private Albert Corden who died on December 15, 1918, a month after the armistice brought the war to an end.

It is thought that Pt Corden, who died in hospital in Brighton and is buried in a quiet corner of Uckfield cemetery near other war graves, died of war wounds.

Private Albert Corden's grave (foreground) with other war graves in Uckfield cemetery

Private Albert Corden’s grave (foreground) with other war graves in Uckfield cemetery

The soldier’s medals were spotted for sale on two different online sites by Donna French, an Uckfield town councillor, who mentioned it on a Facebook group, Uckfield Talk, sparking offers of donations which enabled the medals to be bought.

The gravestone of Private Albert Corden in Uckfield  cemetery

The gravestone of Private Albert Corden in Uckfield cemetery

There was chance for some of the contributors to see and handle them last night when Donna took them to Uckfield Civic Centre. They were pleased to have secured them for the town.

Both medals were established the year after Pt Corden’s death, the British War Medal on July 26, 1919 and the Victory Medal on September 1, 1919.

Donna said the aim now was to continue researching the life of Pt Albert Corden and to put the medals on display in town, possibly in the Civic Centre.

Pt Corden was the son of Albert and Mary Corden, of 63 High Street, Uckfield, and was born in Newhaven.

Pt Corden’s service number was 1564 and he enlisted soon after the outbreak of war in September 1914. He was twice wounded.

At the time of his death he was with the 16th (Sussex Yeomanry) battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment which was part of the 74th Division.

The British War Medal was a campaign medal of the British Empire for service in World War 1 while the Victory Medal was awarded to those who received the British War Medal and all who received the 1914 Star or 1914-15 Star.

Nine people helped to buy Pt Corden’s medals and Donna said that while they paid higher than the price usually achieved for similar medals the contributors were pleased to have brought them back to Uckfield.

It is not known how the medals came to be for sale, or whether any members of the Corden family are still living locally, but Donna said that if relatives came forward their wishes about the display of the medals would be taken into account.

If you know any more about Pt Albert Corden or where he would have fought and been injured during the war we would be pleased to add to this story. Please contact Cathy Watson on 01825 760102 or email cathy@uckfieldnews.com.

Pt Corden’s World War 1 medals can be seen below. The Victory Medal is left and the British War Medal right. Then the backs of the medals are shown.

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