Can you find family of this Great War hero?

The certificate found amongst papers of a local man who died recently
The certificate found amongst papers of a local man who died recently

Pictured above is a certificate for a south Leicestershire soldier’s “distinguished service in the field”, signed by none other than Winston Churchill.

And now its finder is hoping to reunite it with the family of the war hero who was awarded it, almost 100 years ago.

The certificate was found amongst papers of a local man who died recently, by the executor of his will, Denis Cash.

It was awarded to JD Iliffe of the Army Ordnance Corps by Churchill, who at the time was the Secretary of State for War.

“I’d very much like to give this certificate back to a member of Mr Iliffe’s family” said Mr Cash.

“It would be free of charge - I just think it would be nice to post it back to the family.”

The certificate was awarded to Lance Corporal Iliffe in 1920, but refers back to service in the field during the First World War.

Lance Corporal Iliffe was also mentioned for his “distinguished service” in the London Gazette newspaper of October 7, 1918.

The Gazette is one of the official record-keeping publications of the British Government.

So can Harborough Mail readers find the descendants of JD Iliffe?

Mr Cash has done some research on Mr Iliffe and his family, which might help a Mail reader to make the link.

‘Dick’ Illiffe was born on May 28,1889 in Leicestershire, the son of Eliza Lee and George Thomas Iliffe.

By 1891 he lived in Kibworth Beauchamp, and he eventually became one of five children.

He had three brothers and a sister; Charles Henry Iliffe born in 1879, Thomas George born in 1880, Ernest Victor born in 1892 and Ethel born in 1894.

In the 1911 census when he was 21, he was employed as a solicitor’s clerk in Market Harborough.

He joined the Army early in the First World War.

He served in the Army Ordnance Corps, which dealt with the supply and repair of Army equipment, from 1914 to 1920, Mr Cash has discovered.

In 1918, when he was 29, he married Gertrude E. Atkinson in Market Harborough.

His parents lived at Handle Cottage in Fleckney Road, Kibworth Beauchamp until their deaths.

Dick Iliffe himself died more than 40 years ago - in December 1972 aged 83.

But it is quite possible that his grandchildren or great grandchildren, or the grandchildren and great grandchildren of one of his brothers or sisters, still live in the Harborough district.

Gareth Mears, archivist at the Royal Logistics Corps Museum in Surrey, added that Mr Iliffe served on the Western Front in France from 1915 until 1919.

He said the certificate was “notable - the vast majority of people who serve don’t get anywhere near it - but not rare”.

So is any of this information ringing any bells with a Harborough Mail reader?

If you believe you are related to Mr Iliffe, or have information about him, contact the Harborough Mail here: newsdesk@harboroughmail.co.uk