10 December 2010

Willy Stein

The search for N5287 William James Miller Stein led me down a path which I did not expect.
The NSW RSL was recently contacted by a gent whose daughter had three WWII medals and wanted them returned to the family. Given my current location I thought it might be difficult to conduct the research.
Once the medals arrived at home and I had all the details I thought that I would see if anything obvious jumped out. The only real clue from the WWII nominal roll was that Stein originally came from Grenfell in NSW. Having been through Grenfell when posted to Kapooka I knew it to be a smallish town so there might still be family members there. From the NSW BDM I established that Stein married Lora in 1944 and from the Ryerson index that he died in Sydney in 2008. However, Ryerson showed that a death notice was published in the Grenfell paper so it was back to Grenfell. The White Pages didn't reveal anything conclusive but I got a hit on a blog which told the history of a farm near Grenfell that had once been owned by the Stein family. This is the link to the Ochre Archives entry that I came across.
I was very impressed with the amount of Grenfell local history information on Phillip's blog so I dropped him a line to see if he knew of the Stein family.
Knowing that contacting people in Australia would be difficult for me, Phillip very kindly offered to make some calls for me. In very short order Phillip located Val who is one of Stein's sisters and I now know he was called Willy. Val put Phillip on to another sister, June Potbury, who in turn provided the contact details of Willy and Lora's son Allen.
When I RTA and able to send these medals back to Allen the returned medal tally will be 817.

I am very grateful to the assistance that Phillip provided me. He has told me a story about how small a world this is. Phillip knows June from another encounter, Phillip told me: "One very curious twist from the above research … June Potbury is the woman that I and another bloke extracted from a car accident a couple of years ago." Here is the link to Phillip's selfless action.

Update on 8 May 11 - photos added.

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