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.