31 May 2010

Thomas Update

The search for the family of PTE Murray Thomas that I posted on 25 May 10 has got better and better. As it turns out the the medals will be returned to Thomas' grandson Murray Wilton. This name might be familiar to Sydney readers. Murray is one half of the Two Murrays afternoon drive program on 2UE.
Murray called me the other day at my office and we had a wonderful chat about what a surprise it was for him to be contacted by Bill and then to be told about these medals. Murray very kindly offered to speak to me on air that afternoon. I am very grateful to Murray for this opportunity and I hope that this might lead to some clues about other medals we are researching.
Today the Thomas medals received a bit of a spruce up and were court mounted and cleaned. A couple of pictures are below. This work was done by MAJ Daryl Johnson who does the highest quality work with medal mounting.
The plan is for Murray and I to met in the not to distant future so that I can give him back these medals personally.

26 May 2010

James Kirkup Elliott

The search for NX21493 James Kirkup Elliott has been a long and involved one that had lots of dead ends. Lots of credit goes to the Yuku team for this one as they provided heaps of clues for Bill to follow. A lot of these clues gave Bill a headache but the end result is that the medals will go back to James' daughter. The story is best told through the search on Yuku.
The returned medal tally is now 663.

25 May 2010

James Brown

VX29288 James Alexander Brown served in the 1st Division Provost Company. The search for him was rather involved and is best explained by having a look at the research notes Yuku. Once again Bill and the Yuku team put this one together.
The medals are in as issued condition and have never been mounted for waring. The came to me via the Directorate of Honours and Awards having first been handed in to the Victorian Police by a recycling company.
These medals will be returned to James' nephew.
The returned medal tally is now 657.


2894 PTE Theodore John McCathy has a rather interesting service record. There is a bit more detail than usual including the results of his dental examination. It gets really interesting on page 24 where there is a copy of the telegram to his NOK advising that he had been repatriated as a prisoner of war. Unfortunately there is not a lot of detail about his capture and I suppose there might be something in the unit war diary. I come across very few POW medals so it is rather special to see this one head back to the family.
The returned medal tally is now 652.

243 PTE Murray Thomas

PTE Thomas served in the Machine Gun Corps and deployed to France. He was wounded in action and selected for officer training but was returned to his unit. He returned to Australia in 1919.
The returned medal tally is now 651.

22 May 2010

McPherson update

This story appeared in the Albert and Logan News Paper as a follow up to the McPherson return.

13 May 2010

Suhr update

No sooner do I put the Suhr MM post on this blog in a hope to find some clues and the search is resolved. I've just spoken to Eric's nephew and the medal will be returned to the family in the very near future.
The medal returned tally is now 649.


One of my sources of lost medals is through a couple of mail centers in Brisbane. When a package opens in the sorting process and the contents can not be connected to a sender they are investigated by the mail centre staff. Two contacts I have are Jackie E and Pauline S.
Recently Pauline sent me the WWII group awarded to QX6676 DONALD RUSSELL MCPHERSON. I picked them up from the post office yesterday and put the name and number in to Google. To my surprise the first hit was a story about these medals being stolen in April from the daughter of McPherson.
It took me a bit of time to track down the reporter and the proper police station but that is all resolved.
The returned medal tally is now 648.

12 May 2010

Eric Suhr

This is another occasion when I'm putting up a medal before we have resolved the search in the hope that exposure on the Internet might lead to a clue.
This is the Military Medal awarded to 11924 Eric James Suhr. He was a driver in the Army Service Corps and his MM was awarded for clearing wounded from a clearing station while under fire. The date of this action was 29/30 Aug 1918.
After the war Suhr returned to Melbourne where he was involved in a mechanic business with his father and brother. We know that in 1949 Suhr and his wife Betty Jean Suhr were living at Berfold, Castlemaine. There is also a bit of detail about his brothers and sisters that we are untangling, including a connection to a Miss Naomi Catherine Love who died on the 28 March 2004. Miss Love was the sister in law of Mildred Eileen Love(nee Suhr), the youngest sister of Eric James Suhr.

08 May 2010

Corporal Thomas Michael LAHIFF

NX131474 Corporal Thomas Michael LAHIFF has proved to be a difficult man to track. Bill and Yuku really had to dig hard to track down a relative. Through electrol rolls, service records and BDM records we have located Lahiff's great grand nephew.
Lahiff died in 1978 and is buried at Botany Catholic Cemetery (now Eastern Suburbs memorial), where he joined his mother and his brother Joseph who died of phneumonia, while in hospital recovering from wounds recieved during WWI. Thomas' RSL Sub-Branch had to stepped in and pay for his funeral to excuse him a 'pauper's funeral', which truly is the greatest insult a nation can show to a soldier.
These medals are in as issued condition.
The returned medal tally is now 642.

01 May 2010

Geer family medals

This afternoon I finalised a search which was very satisfying.
A little over a month ago I received several medal groups forwarded to me from the AWM with a request to try to locate the families. Two particular sets of medals intrigued me. The first was a WWI trio awarded to 572 John Geer, Ist Field Artillery Brigade, AIF. The second set was a WWII group of five awarded to 23740 John Edwin Geer RAN (know as Jack).
I was intrigued for several reasons. Firstly, John's number is rather low and as it turns out he enlisted in late August 1914. He arrived in Egypt in 1915 but was not sent to Gallipoli. He later saw service in France. Jack's RAN medals immediate stood out as the style of naming is quite different to Army medals. This can be seen in the picture. But most of all, it is uncommon to see a set awarded to father and son that are not still with the family.
I found a fair bit of information about the Geer family on a family tree website but not enough information to work out who was the closest relative by comparing names and initials in the White Pages.
The family tree site lead me to Jack's cousin on his mother's side of the family and when I spoke to him today I was more than a little surprised to discover that Jack is still alive. The only disappointment to me is that I didn't resolve this before Anzac Day 2010 so that the medals were back with the family for that remembrance. However, they'll have them for next year and many more to come.
The medal returned tally is now 640.