WW1 OBE / Harvard Medical Unit?

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by Edie L, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Edie L

    Edie L New Member

    February 21, 1917 the Harvard Surgical Unit set sail on the Andania from Boston, Massachusetts to support the war in France. My Grandfather, Ernest Grandville Crabtree was one of those doctors. I have been able to compile a number of items from that voyage, including an OBE with supporting documentation from King George, his brass buttons from his uniform, his US passport signed by the US Secretary of State, Robert Lansing and a recognition from the Secretary of State for War, War Office Whitehall, noting that Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig recognized Dr. Crabtree for his "gallant and distinguished services in the field, as commanded from the King." In addition Dr. Crabtree was recognized by Admiral Byrd and a mountain peak was named for him on one of the Admiral's Journeys. Does any of this have any worth? Any suggestions on what I might do with this?
  2. sniper

    sniper Active Member

    Welcome to the forum Edie,

    When King George gave your Grandfather the OBE it wouldn't of meant as much as it would to a UK or Commonwealth citizen, he wouldn't of been known as Sir as he would of been had he been from the UK. For that he would of had to become a UK citizen and he would of had to swear allegiance to the King.
    Where is the mountain named after him? Not sure what you would do with this information, have you thought of writing his biography? When you ask if it has any worth, what do you mean by that? Are you after making money from the information?

  3. Edie L

    Edie L New Member

    Sniper...I agree with you as to the value to a British subject, but the question is how many of these were given to Non Brits who supported the British efforts during the War. Also, do the documents, medal and pictures have any value for a collector or museum? I haven't a clue!
  4. sniper

    sniper Active Member

    Hi Edie,

    Quite a few were given to non brits during and after the war so it was not strange for this to happen. I believe that over 1600 were given out to non brits for their war efforts as it was a new medal started by King George.
    Saying that, the medal and documents will have a worth. Are you planning on selling them? Collectors will buy them, but do you want a collector to have them? My thought on this is this. This could be an important part of the USA's part in the war, but only to those that are interested in this subject, which will probably only be a select few and you would have to have at least two really wanting this to make money from it. I have always believed that if this is a family piece then it should remain in the family. You are only the custodian for the time until you hand it down to the next family member. If you have no-one to hand it on to then GIVE it to a museum, let everyone have the chance to see how well your Grandfather did. Its called being proud of your family heritage. I would never sell my Grandfather's BEM, its a family medal and i am only looking after it until i hand it down to my son. In my will there will be a clause that this medal or any family piece will ever be sold.
    But in the end its your decision on what you do with it.

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