Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (13 January 2021)

David Lloyd

David Lloyd
In my early days on the staff at the Public Record Office, opening time on certain days was always the same. At 9 o’clock, there would be a noisy stampede up the stairs, frequently lead by a certain member of medal community! David Lloyd was almost always a few minutes after the stampede, proceeding upstairs to the reading rooms in a stately fashion, never hurried, always calm.

In the 1990’s, and after rearrangements of the reading rooms, David would always try and sit in the same place. If you couldn’t find David, you could always look for his blue pencil case as that would at least indicate that he was in. David was always generous with his introductions and contacts. Of all of the introductions perhaps one is worthy of mention.

After an auction we both attended we went to Baldwin’s, when they were still on Adelphi Terrace, and I was introduced to the late Ron Barden. As I was with David, I was allowed behind the counter, where the three of us talked medals. On a subsequent visit on my own, Ron introduced me to Chris Webb, and said “this is William Spencer, he works for David Lloyd”! David now had staff and it caused us much amusement.

Many people know of David’s research service, from his initial handwritten Medal Index Cards, which evolved over time to digital (by email) copies of the same Medal Index Cards, and copies of many of the other records held at The National Archives. After the death of Ernie Platt, David became a keeper of one of the keys to the Great War Silver War Badge records. Ernie had indexed all of the Silver War Badge records, long before digitisation, and David provided an essential and popular service for those seeking to ‘unlock’ a Silver War Badge, and identify the recipient from the number, or vice versa. Such was the demand for access to the Silver War Badge key that many of the staff at Kew simply pointed people towards David, for him to sprinkle his magic on their conundrum.

In 1996, I lent David and Jen my guides to Iceland as they were going there on holiday. When the guides were returned, they were accompanied by a small pair of woollen boots for my elder daughter Lucy. When I was unable to attend auctions, David would bid on my behalf. If I was successful, I would drive over to his house to pick the medals up. On a number of occasions, when we got to his house, Jen would entertain Lucy whilst David and I talked medals. A few times, Lucy came home with some little trinket, given to her by Jen.

David’s funeral was held in the same church, where some years before, he had stopped Norman Jackson’s Victoria Cross from falling from his coffin.

Whilst the woollen boots are a physical reminder of David and Jen, this catalogue of the second part of David’s medal collection is another reminder of a marvellous and generous and gentle man, who will be missed by me and wider medal community as a whole.
William Spencer
(Former Principal Military Specialist at The National Archives)