'Most decorated' soldier's medals return home to Yorkshire

Thomas Patrick Carney as a young soldier
Thomas Patrick Carney as a young soldier
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Is this 20th-century Yorkshire soldier one of Britain's most decorated servicemen?

An impressive collection of gallantry medals won by Thomas Patrick Carney are now on display at the York Army Museum.

The Carney medal collection

The Carney medal collection

A boy solider, Carney was just 15 when he was decorated in his first campaign - the Boer War. Serving with the East Yorkshire Regiment, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery in 1900, and was based in India for the next nine years.

He saw active service again in World War One, when a Bar was added to his previous citation when he displayed great courage while under attack in the trenches.

Carney followed his father into the regiment and his four brothers also served alongside him. He remained in France until the war ended, finishing as a warrant officer.

One his return to England, he was awarded the Military Cross in recognition of his work to hold a bridgehead from enemy advances for 15 hours in 1918.

By the end of 1919, he had left the army after 21 years and three major gallantry honours. He joined the Home Guard in World War Two, and was given the Meritorious Service Medal in 1953.

Between them, the Carneys served for 130 years and were awarded 26 medals.

Curators of the museum moved to secure the medal collection when they came up for auction in London to ensure they returned home to Yorkshire.

Wing Commander Alan Bartlett said:

“As soon as we saw that these special medals were up for auction in London, we did everything we could to secure them and bring them home to Thomas Carney’s regimental museum. Not only did he win two DCMs and a Military Cross, but he served in three major wars and was one of five brothers in the regiment – a great story and we are thrilled to have the medals in our collection. We will now try and do some further research and do our best to contact the surviving family and try and put together a clearer picture of the East Yorkshire Regiment’s ‘Fighting Carneys’ ”.