19 April 2011

Reginald Garfield

NX153363 Reginald Arthur Garfield was a Sapper in the Royal Australian Engineers from Sydney. Bill has tracked down his daughter but at the moment we don't know how three of his WWII medals went missing. These medals are from the NSW RSL box and the returned medal tally is now 874.

Update on 8 May 11 - photos added.


18 April 2011

Fothergill update

Recently I posted the details of Jack Fothergill. My hope was to find the family before Anzac Day 2011 which will be the 96th anniversary of Jack's death at Gallipoli. Bill's fantastic research skills has put us in contact with Jack's great nephew.
Thanks to Paul of Kuranda for sending this plaque to me.
The returned medal tally is now 871.

13 April 2011

Australian Honours and Awards

Thanks to a post on the British Medal Forum, I have recently been introduced to some great information about the Australian Honours and Awards system. The following links includes the Letters Patent, regulations and photos:
The Order of Australia
Australian Bravery Decorations
Meritorious Service Awards
Gallantry Decorations
Conspicuous Service

12 April 2011

195 John (Jack) Fothergill

I usually use this blog to tell the story of returns that we have made. Every so often, I use it to get some exposure for medals we have in a hope that a family will come across the entry. This strategy has worked in the past.

This particular search is for the family of John Fothergill, more commonly know as Jack. Jack was a tram worker in Melbourne prior to the war. His parents address is originally given as Euroa but they later moved to St Kilda. He is a very early enlistee, signed up on 14 August 1914 and has the regimental number 195 for 6th Battalion. After training in Egypt, he landed at Gallipoli at about 1000 on 25 April 1915. He was injured that afternoon and was seen walking back towards the beach. Jack was never seen again and later classified as killed in action. He has no known grave. Jack’s service record has copies of the correspondence between his parents and the AIF in an effort to try to discover what happened to him.
As I started researching Jack, I came across a number of Internet references to him, mainly linked to Dr Michael McKernan and the research he has already done. What Dr McKernan discovered is that each year from 1916 to 1948 his parents put an In Memoriam notice in The Argus newspaper. Dr McKernan wrote a piece for the National Archives of Australia magazine about Jack. The article is on page 5. From this data, I know that his parent names were Robert and Isabella. Robert died in 1939 and Isabella in 1948. Some of the notices mention a brother and sisters but I have not worked out their names.
I have Jack’s Memorial Plaque and hope that this entry might assist in locating his family.

Update on 8 May 11 - photos added.

05 April 2011

Victor Walter Leslie Miller

2166 Victor Walter Leslie Miller was an early enlistee from WA. His address on enlistment was Railway St Cottesloe (which Gail, Frank and I know pretty well). He was enlisted in to11th Battalion, AIF, which is still on the Australian Army ORBAT as a Reserve battalion. Victor's service record gave us heaps of clues, including a 1960 addition to the record which provides his date of death.
11 Bn, AIF is probably most famous for the group photo taken at the Great Pyramid at Giza. At home I have a large print of this photo up on the wall. The story of the battalion is told in the book Fremantle to France; 11th Battalion AIF, 1914-1919, written by an acquaintance of mine, Ian Gill. The book identifies some of the soldiers in the photo. When I get home I'll see if Victor gets a mention and if I can locate him in the photo.
Victor's WWI trio are from the WA RSL and the returned medal tally is now 870.

The officers and men of 11th Battalion, AIF.
A recent photo at almost the same spot. (Photo credit - LEUT Sara Mooney, RAN)

The article I have provided the link too appeared in the June 2004 edition of Sabretache and is written by another acquaintance, Anthony Staunton.

Update on 8 May 11 - photos added.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to identify Miller in the 11th Bn photo.

Brian O'Rourke

This return is of the 1939-45 Star awarded to NX152551 Brian Joseph O'Rourke. Bill has been in contact with O'Rourke's neice and this is what we have been told:

'I would be honoured to keep Brian's medals with my paternal grandfather's service medals. My grandfather Frank O'Rourke (Francis) died in Concord hospital in Sydney when I was about 12 and had lost an eye at Gallipoli. He had a sword and a feather in his army hat. I think Brian lived with him for a long time when he returned from New Guinea. None of my family ever marched on ANZAC day but would catch up with their mates in town after the march, and even though we never missed going into the March on the 25th April in our best clothes and wearing rosemary, and honouring the returned soldiers, my very own closet family would not march. They did not find anything positive about their experiences and found it too distressing to be honoured for the destruction and loss of life of so many good men. Franks medals and personal items never surfaced after his death and were believed to have been stolen. The saddest thing I ever heard was that his faithful horse that carried him bravely through war had to be destroyed by my Grandfather when he was returning to Australia. The same was for all the men. That would be soul destroying to men who had developed such a strong bond with their faithful companion when home was so far away.'

Most amazing is that the medal will be returned to another member of the Australian Surnames Groups. The link explains the research and the connection. The returned medal tally is now 867 and this medal is from the NSW RSL box.

Update on 8 May 11 - photos added.

02 April 2011

NX15378 James Aitken

The WWII group of six medals awarded to NX15378 James Haig Aitken were sent to me by the WA RSL. Aitken enlisted in Paddington, NSW although his locality is given as Leeton, also in NSW. Aitken died in WA which is why they came to me from that state but as it turns out the medals will be returned to Leeton.
This link is to the Australian Surname Group research thread about Aitken.
The medals returned tally is now 866.

Update on 8 May 11 - photos added.


Blog refresh

Last night, a couple of issues arose with the layout of this blog. When I tried to rectify the problems I worked out that the template design process had been updated since I first made this blog. I was very unfamilar with the different attributes of the template designer so it took a bit to work out what everything did, the colours I could use and the flash new things that Blogger does.
So, I've played around a bit and I think I have come up with an acceptable update of the layout.