30 April 2010

Neal Joseph O'Connor

The medals awarded to Q153041 Neal Joseph O'Connor were sent to me from the QLD RSL in 2008. These medals have never been mounted for wearing and are still in their original box off issue. Include with this group is O'Connor's returned from active service badge and one of his dog tags.
This is what Bill pieced together about Neal:
Neal was 19 when he enlisted in December 1941, a Photographer by trade it was only by relinquishing his trade that he was able to get to New Guinea (ND) and the 'actual' war. First sent home from NG due to a football injury to his knee, he was able to get back in 1944, it was during this second time in country that he contracted Cerebral Malaria, for which he was medivaced to Australia. His malaria would plague him from then on, leading to his premature death in 1948.
The returned medal tally is now 632.

26 April 2010

Reginald John Holland

This is another one of Bill stories so here are his words:
Reginald John HOLLAND joins our August List, well his 4 medals do.
There are searches where the search is the unknown question, Reginald and his medals form the other side of the equation.
How did a the medals of a man living in Victoria (all his life) end up in a second hand shop in Adelaide, to be bought by a lady in 2000 or so as a present to her Husband, another ex digger.
Now the story gets interesting the lady died in 2004, her husband in 2006, and their son Michael HOLLOWAY 'inherited the medals' with the aim of returning them to the rightful owner, his first attempts were fruitless and as he admits he has been busy and just never got around to returning them.
So 'our' search started, been an interesting wander going nowhere, however I 'lucked' on to John's Son in law, Terry O'CONNOR and then the fun started trying to convince him that I had his father in laws medals, he was pretty sure I hadn't the family well actually John's grandson has the medals. So it has been a bit backward and forward since, however the medals are now back with the family. I have left it with them to work out how the returned medals ended up in Adelaide.
The medal returned tally is now 629.

British WWI Victory Medal - Pearson

When I first started researching lost medals I had a large number donated to me from the Queensland RSL State Branch. These medals had been handed in over many years and been kept in safe custody waiting to be researched. The original donation numbered about 20 medals of which one was a WWI Victory Medals awarded to MI-08623 PTE C.C. Pearson ASC.
Other than some very basic details about Pearson, I had no clues about him or his family. I made an educated guess that following WWI he immigrated to Australia so not knowing where he settled made it difficult to determine where to look for him. This name was one of several where the circumstance are very similar that is on my lost medal list.
This morning I was very surprised to receive an email from Bob Pearson who is the son of PTE Pearson. Bob has his father's 14/15 Star but never seen the other two medals that were awarded. Bob came across my entry about his father through a search of the Internet. This is a wonderful result.
The returned medal tally is now 625.

25 April 2010


SX971 Ian George McNeilage was a gunner from Adeliade who enlisted early in WWII as can be seen by his low service number. He died in May 1941 and his family has been a little difficult to track down. This search tested all of Bill's abilities but he came through in the end.
The medal returned tally is now 624.

22 April 2010

Henry Ernest Miller

3378 Henry Ernest Miller had what can only be described as an entertaining war. His service record details several offences of AWOL. He must have enjoyed himself while out on the town as there are details of the consequences of socialising with the local ladies. He was also wounded in action.
Originally posted to 15th Bn he later transferred to the Australian Army Medical Corps - Dental Service.
This medals was one of the very first that was donated to me by the Queensland RSL in 2001 so we have had it for some time.
The medal returned tally is now 622.

21 April 2010

James Bruce - RAAF

37607 James Elliott Bruce served in the RAAF and was posted to Base Torpedo Unit. There is very little information available on him and the search kept hitting dead ends. Bill's persistence and a lot of help from the Yuku team ended up following the family tree right to Bruce's sister.
The medal has had a pretty hard life as can be seen in the photo.
The medal returned tally is now 621.

133 Charles Nelleman

133 PTE Charles Henry Nelleman was an original member of 25th Battalion. There was some details on the web that helped me put together a family tree including the name of Charles nephew. This nephew is listed in the White Pages so I thought I was close to solving this search. When I rang I was told that he had died about a year ago. However, I was provided the name and number of a closer relative which was just the clue I needed.
The returned medal tally is now 620.

14 April 2010

Charles Alfred Heather

I sometimes get referrals from the most unlikely place. A couple of weeks ago I received an email at work telling me about a request in the Herald News Paper for any information about an AIF soldier. A lady had his memorial plaque and had run out of leads to locate his family.
I contacted the Herald and offered to help. A couple of days later the lady conducting the search dropped me a line with the number and name of the soldier. From there I found this information:
HEATHER, Private, CHARLES ALFRED, 850. 8th Bn. Australian Infantry, A.I.F. Killed in action 4th July 1915. Son of Edward John and Ada Main Heather, of 415, High St., Kew, Victoria, Australia. Native of Bournemouth, England. II. C. 28.
There was nothing in any of the archives of the contemporary papers to give me a clue and since Charles was not married there were no children to track down. It turned out his father's name was all I needed. I found one Internet reference to Edward John Heather which gave a name and number of a family member in Brisbane. I provided all this information to the lady with the plaque and sure enough it was the Right connection. Below is a photo of Heather's plaque.
The returned tally is now 619.

11 April 2010

CAPT Geoffrey Kiddle RFA

This search has proved to be very intriguing. Geoffrey Kiddle was from a prominent Australian pioneering family. His father was a pastoralist who farmed land around the Culcairn region in southern NSW. His uncle was John Beacham Kiddle who was a leading Victorian lawyer of the late 19th century. Geoffrey's cousin was Margaret Loch Kiddle a leading academic and writer on early Australian society. Geoffrey had one sister, Margarite who later went on the marry Colonel Sir Henry Davis Foster MacGreagh who was the Judge Advocate General of the British Forces from 1934 to 1955. Neither Geoffrey or Margarite had children.
Prior to WWI Geoffrey joined the Indian Army and at the out break of war he was transferred to the Royal Field Artillery. He saw service in France and was injured and Mentioned in Dispatches on several occasions. He later fought in Mesopotamia where he died of disease in 1916, he is buried in the Basra War Cemetery. I have a fair bit of information about his education and war service using the archived text of the Argus news paper and the Melbourne Cricket Club WWI Honour Roll, which says:
'Born in 1882. From Walbundrie Station, Albury. Educated at Melbourne Grammar School and
Cumloden. Went to France with the Royal Field Artillery in the first Expeditionary Force from India. Wounded three times, losing the sight of one eye. Mentioned In Despatches several times. Sent to Mesopotamia to join the force for the relief of Kut-el-Amara. Following strenuous times of desperate fighting and excessive heat, he died of illness in the British General Hospital at Basra on July 29, 1916.'
Indeed, there is so much information available I even found that his assets were valued at £43,160 when he died. A reasonable amount in 1916.
Other newspaper articles lead me to follow the family line of John Kiddle who had four children; Margaret, Lewis, Elizabeth and Ian. Margaret didn't marry and died of a kidney disease aged 44. Lewis was a bit more difficult and I ran into a dead end. The next in line was Elizabeth, whose engagement notice to Keith Bush I stumbled upon. The next lead was Elizabeth's death notice from 2008. Taking a punt I wrote to the retirement home mentioned in the notice and my letter was forwarded to her family who I've now been in contact with.
How the plaque left the family is a interesting post script. A relative of the person who sent the plaque to me was the lady in waiting to Lady MacGreagh. When she died she left the plaque and a copy of one of Margaret Loch Kiddle's books to the lady in waiting. With no link to the Kiddle family they asked me to return this item. Where Kiddle's medals are is unknown.
The returned medal tally is now 618.


Post update 19 July 2015 
Today I received the most surprising email from Martin of Melbourne. In part his email said:

Hi Glyn.
I googled Captain Geoffrey Kiddle and came across your blog. Thought you might be interested in this photo, which I took at Melbourne General Cemetery yesterday. I was looking for someone else's grave but military-related headstones, particularly WW1, always interest me.
Thank you Martin, this is a great photo.
Post update 24 June 2017
I recently received this email from Anthony Kiddle:

'Geoffrey Kiddle is a relation of mine be it a distant one ... I have made it a mission of my mine to retrieve any medals issued to a relative that appear on the open market .. I notice you found his 'death plaque' and u states his medals are missing .. for your information I have recently recovered them on the open market and they are safely back in the family fold'.

Thank you for the update Anthony and for this photo. That is wonderful news.

07 April 2010

Flying Officer Bruce Quist

These medals are being returned to the family of 286453 Flying Officer Bruce Quist who served in the RAAF during WWII. The medals came to me un-named and there is a very good explanation for this. After the war it took some years before medals were produced and issued. Each service was responsible for issuing to there own people. In an effort to not delay the process to long the RAAF issued medals un-named and asked that the medals be returned at a later date for engraving. Many veteran, having already waited so long chose not to return the medals or there was confusion as to who had received their medals.
FLG OFF Quist received his medals in late 1953 from the Department of Air. The photo shows the blank medals sent to me and and the scan shows his full entitlement.
The returned medal tally is now 617.