18 April 2021

Australian Active Service Medal

It never amazes me what just turns up in the mail. Last week I received an Australian Active Service Medal. Included in the presentation case was the Iraq 2003 clasp, miniature and Returned from Active Service Badge

The recipient wasn't aware this medal was missing so it is nice to get it back to him. Thanks to some well refined search techniques it took me less than one minute to locate the owner. 


The returned medal tally is now 2610.  

10 April 2021

Leonard Seymour

This search had an outcome that I wasn't expecting when I started researching NX155505 Leonard Edward Seymour about 12 months ago. 

The 1939-45 Star and Pacific Star awarded awarded to Leonard were sent to me by Sue M last April and since then each lead I had ran cold. Indeed, Leonard proved very elusive to track down. I now know that he distanced himself from his family and there is very little public information about him. All I had to work with was the name of his WWII NOK. This was his mother Nellie. From this I used the NSW BDM to find the names of all his siblings and his father, Leonard snr. I also found a couple other people with exactly the same name living in NSW. This made tracking the Leonard I was after through the electoral rolls very difficult. Leonard may have married in 1950 but there were no children and he may have died in 2004 but I couldn't be 100% certain.

When all the other leads dried up I went back to the NSW BDM and found two marriages for Leonard snr. The first to Nellie in 1921 and the second to Esther in 1967. This was the key to success. I used the combination off all the information I knew to be correct to find Leonard snr's death notice. I've added this below. What this gave me was the names of the other children and their partners. Leonard jnr is named on his own.


I then looked at family tress of the other children and followed Florence who married Alex Archer. They had several children and this is where I found the unexpected. One of Florence's sons was 2788583 Private Gary Alex Archer. Gary was a member of 9 RAR and served in the Vietnam War. On 4 Feb 69, Gary died of injuries he received in an accident at Nui Dat. Originally buried in Terendak cemetery,  Malaysia, Gary's remains were amongst those which were repatriated to Australia in June 2016.

I've now been in touch with Leonard jnr's nephew and his family. I think that a few missing pieces about the family might now be filled in. I also know that the family have great pride in their military history and that Leonard's WWI service will now take a place in the family history story.

Thank you to Sue for sending me the medals. The returned medal tally is now 2609.

14 March 2021

Allan Brown

This search came to me by a circuitous route which included contacts at the Army and Air Force History units and the Directorate of Honours and Awards.

The original request for assistance came from Queensland Police Sergeant David H who had recovered two WWII medals awarded to NX127488 Allan Owen Brown. What I was able to provide David was that Allen died in 1984, his wife Mary died in 2004. They had one son whose name is William. In the late 1970s they were living in Bexley NSW. I wondered if William had moved to QLD so I provided David with his full name. This turned out to be the case and David found William on his own database. AS it turned out the medals were stolen a year or so ago.

Thanks to Tim at AHU and Jo at Honours and Awards for the referral.

The returned medal tally is now 2607.

27 February 2021

George Henry Dawe

This is a really interesting story which threw up several surprises along the way. 

My part started recently when my colleague Nick B showed me a WWI pair of medal awarded to 4481 CPL George Henry Dawe. George was originally allocated to 5th Battalion, then reallocated to 46th Battalion before ending up in 4th Division HQ. Nick had already established that George was mentioned in dispatches and here is a citation.

George was 32 when he enlisted and his father was his next of kin. This made me wonder if he ever married. I'll come back to that because the first post war information I found about George was when he gave evidence against a Victorian MRH.

One other article about this case mentioned that George was an actor which led to a whole lot of new search parameters and results. This time I found two articles in The Bulletin about George. The first about being an actor in London before WWI.

The second is about his death in 1924 aged 44. It also confirmed that he did marry.

George's widow was Eleanor, better known as Lala. They had married in 1921. Lala's first husband was KIA during WWI. This information led me to George's grave. George's family were monumental masons which might explain the grandeur of the family headstone. George also worked as a monumental mason when acting jobs were scarce.

Knowing that George didn't have a direct descendant led me to look at his wider family. Other names on the grave gave me the information that I needed. George's brother Frederick also served in WWI with 2nd Field Company Engineers. The family line I was able to follow was through Fred's eldest daughter and onto her oldest son. This is Bob G who is George's great nephew.

I've now connected Nick and Bob and will post photos of the medals in the near future. The returned medal tally is now 2605.
 


 




 

18 February 2021

John Cadger

This is another search that I've revisited many times over the years. Every now and then there has been a snippet of information that finally led to me being able to return this medal to the family. There is very little to tell about John Cadger other than he was in the 7th Battalion of the Scottish Rifles. I took many hours of research time to get almost nowhere. Having it finalised is very satisfying.

Thanks to Liz J who sent John's medals to me and to Sue P who put the final piece in place. The returned medal tally is now 2603.





Henry Payne

This return has been 13 years in the making and finalised on the barest of information. 

I received the 1914-15 Star awarded to SS-17784 Henry Payne in 2007 and it took several revisits to the records to draw everything together. Henry was a soldier in the British Army Service Corps and it was considerably lucky that his pension record is available on line. Henry was discharged from the Army in 1916 due to being medically unfit. I was a bit surprised by this until I worked out that Henry was born in 1867 making him 47 when he enlisted. In 1911 Henry was living with his 88 year old widowed mother and four siblings so I made an assumption that he didn't marry or have children. 

I found Henry in an Ancestry family tree and sent a message to the tree owner. Overnight received I received a reply from the tree owned who is the great grand daughter of Henry's sister Ellen.

Thank you to Glenda R who sent me the medal via Charlie E.

The returned medal tally is now 2601.

I forgot to take a picture of the reverse f the medal. An update will come soon.
 

17 February 2021

Francis Nunn

Other than the WWII DVA nominal roll entry for WX10318 Francis Herbert Nunn, I found no other Australian records for this soldier. This was a very frustrating search that commenced in 2013. I was only thanks to snippets of information that appeared on genealogy website over several years that helped me piece together Francis' family tree. After Francis discharge in 1944 I found no more information about his.

What I did know was when and where Francis was born. His place of birth was Steeple Bumpstead, Essex, UK. His siblings were William, Gladys and Eric. This information led me to Ben who is the great great  grandson of Francis' sister Gladys. Francis was the only member of his family who emigrated to Australia so these medals will be sent to England where his family remained.

Thanks to Garry G who sent me these medals in 2013. The returned medal tally is now 2600.





  

06 February 2021

William Watkin

When I first received information about this medal from Ivan of the NSW RSL I was confused by the naming: J.85452 (DEV.B.10850) W. WATKIN. SIG. RFR. I hadn't seen the medal at this point and even though I suspected that the 'J' at the beginning of the service number meant Royal Navy, the inclusion of RFR made me wonder if this was a Royal Fusiliers medal. 

Ancestry gave me no clues but the UK National Archives confirmed that W Watkin was William Watkin who served in both WWI and WWII in the Royal Fleet Reserve. Now RFR made sense. Knowing the full name opened the flood gates of information. William was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire in 1901. He married Ida Etchells and died, also in Sheffield, in 1992. William and Ida has two sons: John 'Jack' Watkin and William 'Bill' Watkin.  

In 1948 Bill emigrated to Australia. On the ship he met Bridget Gannon and they married in 1949. Bill worked as a bricklayer and lived in Mt Pleasant, Western Australia. The 1977 electoral roll gave me the name of Bill and Bridget's daughter. Bill died in Fremantle as did Bridget, however, I was surprised to see that Bridget was cremated in North Ryde, NSW. That might have explained how the medal was found in Redfern by the NSW Police. 

When the medal arrived I recogised it as the Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. The ribbon, as seen in the pictures, represents the Royal Fleet Reserve. 

Once I had all the information I found a Watkin family tree on Ancestry. The tree owner kindly provided me with Bill's daughter's contact details. Now all that remains to to send William Watkin's medal to his granddaughter.

Thanks to Ivan for sending me the medal and John W for his assistance in this search. The returned medal tally is now 2596.






'Snow' Allinson

The WWI Victory Medal awarded to 4899 Leonard Thomas 'Snow' Allinson was sent to me by Ingrid in June 2020. The first thing I found online was a picture of Snow as a toddler. Snow was born in 1894 so this photo is probably from 1896.

Snow served in the 53rd Battalion, AIF. After WWI he married Marge Marshall and died in 1942. They didn't have any children so I turned my attentions to Snow's siblings. Through his sister Doris' family line, I identified Karen who was the great niece of Snow. While I had the names of Karen's parents I didn't know her married name. I hit a brick wall at this point so set the search aside.

Last weekend I rid a refresh of several searches including the Allinson search. I found an Ancestry tree which included Snow's sister Doris. The tree owner , Neil H, kindly provided my Karen's email address so I fired off a message to her.

Yesterday, I had a lovely call from Karen and she was able to put all the pieces together for me. Karen also tells me that has a granddaughter who is very interested in her family military history. Snow's Victory Medal will soon be returned to Karen and her family.

Thank you to Ingrid and Neil for the roles they played in this return. The returned medal tally is now 2595.




    


02 February 2021

AC Dawson

When I first started researching VX36870 Albert Cyril Dawson in May 2020, I quickly found all the basic information about him, his wife and daughters. Then I got to the mid 1970s and the information all dried up. I set the medals aside in the hope that a fresh look in the future would bring up something new.

Over the weekend I took another look at Albert and sure enough I found a tree on Ancestry which it turns out is owned by Albert's grand daughter. Sian tells me that two of Albert's four medals are in the custody of her grand mother and the other two were with another relative, or so they thought. These were the two medal that I had. At some point the two medals were handed in to the RAAF Museum in Victoria and then sent to me. 

It is very pleasing that not only are these medals being returned to the family but also they are being reunited with the rest of Albert's medal group.    

Thanks to David G for sending me the medals. The returned medal tally is now 2594.

30 January 2021

GA Collingwood

This search stated with an email from Ivan at RSL NSW HQ. Ivan sent me a WWII group of five medals and a set of dog tags that originally came from the Weston RSL sub-branch. Weston is in the Hunter Valley and this location made a lot of sense as the research progressed.

The medals were awarded to NX23081 George Arthur Collingwood. George was reasonably easy to follow through the electoral rolls as he lived at only two addresses in Weston from the 1930s through to his death in 1975. Also at these addresses were George (snr), Elizabeth and Ernest Edward Collingwood. While this information was very straight forward things got confusing based on information on several Ancestry family tress that had the names right but almost every other detail wrong. 

It was a heavy trawl through the records but I worked out that George (snr) and George Arthur emigrated to Australia in the mid 1920s. Father and son settled in Weston. Elizabeth and her other son Edward followed a bit later and arrived in Australia in 1926. Arthur and Edward worked in the coal mining  industry all their lives. They lived together at the same address all their lives. Neither brother married. George (snr) died in 1953 and Elizabeth in 1964. Edward sold the family house in 1991 and died in Newcastle in 1995.  

The research was really going off he rails as I bounced from family tree to family tree which showed that George and Elizabeth never left the UK or gave dates which didn't match the official records. I finally got to a tree which had the correct details and dates that aligned with what I knew to be true. This tree belongs to Tony who is a relative of the Collingwood family and lives in Victoria. 

Even though the medals are well mounted, I suspect that Arthur also received the 1939-45 War Medal but it isn't included in the group. Thanks to Ivan for sending me the medals. The returned medal tally is now 2592.    





12 December 2020

David Mytton

I recently received an email from Margaret P who found a WWI Victory Medal among her late brother's possessions. Margaret's brother lived in North Queensland but she wasn't sure how he came to have this medal.

The medal was awarded to 5864 Private David Christopher Mytton. David was part of the Australian Veterinary Hospital. While there was a large requirement for veterinary services during WWI, it isn't often that I see medals to a unit like this. David was almost 45 years old when he enlisted in 1916. He was from a reasonably large family who lived in England. David emigrated to Australia and was a Tin miner around Charters Towers. There is no evidence that David married and based on the fact that his NOK was his mother, I'm confident that he remained a bachelor all his life. 

As part of my research I found several news paper articles that mention David. I've added them here as well as his death notice. The lost item advertisement, placed in 1949, is interesting. I wonder if his medals were in the port when it was lost? For those who have never lived in Queensland, a port is a bag. David died in 1953.

I quickly found David on an Ancestry tree and was soon in contact with a decedent of David's brother John. Margaret is now in contact with the family and David's Victory medal will soon be sent to them.

 

The returned medal tally is now 2587.


 

05 December 2020

Cyril Maddock

This Victory Medal has been in the possession of Glen H for some time but he wasn't progressing very far with the research so I had a look for him.

The medal was awarded to 34317 Cyril Vivian Maddock. Cyril, and his son Ian Cyril, were rather easy to track through the public records but I had real difficulty locating the current generation of this family. Through Ancestry I fired off a message to the owner of a tree which included Cyril. That message was passed on to Cyril's grandson who I connected with Glen.

As part of the research I came across these two photos of Cyril.


The returned medal tally is now 2586.

  

 

 

A stolen ADM

This is another story that started with a medal being handed in to the Queensland Police Service and my mate Tim seeking a little bit of help. 

Tim had received an Australian Defence Medal but was stuck locating the soldier. All Tim had was the initial and the surname. It took a little bit of back tracking through open records but I was able to give Tim the first and second name. Using this information Tim found a burglary report from 2018 when the medal was stolen. He now has been in contact with the owner and the medal is on the way back home.

The returned medal tally is now 2585.

22 November 2020

Sister Kathryn Concannon

This is the latest set of medals that I received from Bob and the Mt Gambier RSL. Bob tells me that this collection was found in a roof space of a house in Mt Gambier.

The medals were awarded to SFX26182 Lieutenant Kathryn Concannon. With the medals is a photo album and other mementos belonging to Kathryn. Using Trove I found several newspaper articles from the 1930s about Katheryn graduating a nurse and being appointed as a nursing sister at a regional hospital in South Australia. As I've mentioned in the past, the public records available from SA are a bit thin so didn't hold out much hope for a quick result, despite the unusual surname. I did find that Kathryn died in 1985 and that there was no one listed in the White Pages in Mt Gambier. But I got a break, Kathryn is included in the family tree on Ancestry. I fired off a message to the tree owner and sure enough I had found the keeper of the Concannon family history.

As part of the research I also found that Kathryn's brother Alexander John was KIA on 3 May 1917 at Bullecourt.

Thanks again to Bob for sending me the medals which will soon be sent off to Ros who is also in Mt Gambier. 

The returned medal tally is now 2584.

 





09 November 2020

Jack Parker Thomas

This story is the result of helping out my mate Tim L from the Queensland Police. I can track the exact time it took to conduct this search thanks to the time stamp on our text conversation.

At 1401 I opened a text from Tim which had the details of a RAAF veteran whose four medals had been handed in. The veteran was A31329 Jack Parker Thomas. The basic details were easy to find on the DVA nominal roll. It looks like he was listed as presumed dead at one point but later repatriated to Australia. When I checked the electoral rolls it looked as though Jack continued to serve in the RAAF until 1960. 

 Jack was from Bright in Victoria and also lived in Melbourne. In 1980 he moved to Queensland. He died in Noosa in 2004 but his ashes were returned to Bright where he is commemorated. I couldn't find any evidence that he married or had children so I looked at his siblings. 

At 1418 I responded to Tim that his brother Frank had married Thelma Cook and their daughter Wendy had married William H. The White Pages has one entry in Bright for this surname so on a hunch I gave the number to Tim.

At 1525, Tim texted me back to say that the hunch proved correct and the number was for Jack's great nephew who also holds Jack's ashes. In less than 90 minutes this search was resolved and will soon be finalised when the medal are back with Jack's family.

 The returned meal tally is now 2581.


 

31 October 2020

A very small world

Earlier this month I posted the story of Gerald Crawford and the relationship that this return established with Bob of the Mt Gambier RSL sub-branch. After the Crawford success, Bob told me that he had more medals that had come to him via the South Australian Police. The medals are the Australian Active Service Medal 1945-1975, the Australian Service Medal 1945-1975, the Australian Defence Medal and the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal all named to Hector Donald McKaskill.   

As soon as I saw the name it immediately rung a bell with me, but before I got to excited I needed to prove a link which I suspected existed. I found Hector in the electoral rolls and that he was an Army officer with many years service. I also found the Commonwealth Gazette entries that conformed several long service awards and promotions. I also found that Hector died in in 1995 in WA. It wasn't until I found the death notice of Hector's wife, Ruth, which mentioned her son David 'Spike' McKaskill, that I knew my initial suspicion was correct.   

Many who read this forum, particularly members of the Royal Australian Armourd Corps, will recognise the name 'Spike' McKaskill. Spike, like Hector, had a long career in the Australian Army reaching the rank of Brigadier before he retired. I worked for Spike when we were both posted to Land Development Branch in 2003-04. That is why the name McKaskill was so familiar to me when Bob first told me about these medals. 

Thank you to Lea who helped me reconnect with Spike.  

The returned meal tally is now 2577. 

Bob receiving Hector's medals from the SA Police