I was browsing around, looking at 1915 issues of the Daily Mail, searching a bit vaguely for something else entirely, when I was delighted to find an article featuring that very likeable poet, F. W. Harvey, and the story of how he won his medal:
The article (published September 16, 1915) goes on to recount other medal-winning episodes.
The award that Harvey received was the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The episode is told in more detail in F. W. Harvey: Soldier, Poet by Anthony Boden. The ‘bludgeon’ was a threshing flail that Harvey had found in a french field. He afterwards called it ‘my medal winner’.
Boden’s biography is very enjoyable. It is written in a way that should be copied by anyone writing the life of a poet; the poems are included, in full, at the point in the narrative when they are written. When, as in Harvey’s life, there are periods where nothing much seems to be happening, the inclusion of a poem written at the time reminds us that his mind was very much alive, and that external incidents are not necessarily the most important parts of a poet’s life.
Also worth reading is Harvey’s novel, A War Romance, which I reviewed here a few months ago.