07 August 2011

Large family medal collection

Bill has just completed a wonderful piece of research that has seen 11 medals returned to the family of four soldiers, all related. This is the story of the research:
While working for Legacy, Kel Gulliver was given a box of medals and other miscellaneous items. It was believed the box may have belonged to a Legacy Widow. Unfortunately, there were no records with the items that identified her.
Recently Kel, now retired and having exhausted all other avenues, placed an item in the Veteran Affairs newsletter. At that same time Bill was researching another matter also listed in the same news letter so he contacted Kel to and volunteered our services.
The box in Kel's possession contained four sets of medals:
-one WW1 set awarded to David McLean, who tragically died on a troopship whilst returning to Australia, 
-the second set from WW2 awarded to his son, David H.C. McLean,
-a third set from WW1 awarded to Frank William Gibson
-and finally another WWI group to Frank's brother, Percival Thomas Gibson which included Percival's Death Plaque.
Along with all these medals was a letter that the Ships Chaplain wrote to David McLean's widow, a WW1 Returned From Active Service badge, a Widow's and a female relatives badges and school children's Peace Medalet.
It was while tracking the two families that Bill realised they were linked, David H.C. McLean and Frank had married sisters, Amy and Alice. The two couples went their separate ways and neither had any children.
One of the principles we follow is to always try to keep family medals together, thus the obvious choice now was to search for the next of kin of their brother Alfred, one of whose sons was killed in Malaya in 1942, while another, Henry, was a POW on the Burma Thai railway.
From all this Bill tracked down Alfred's grand daughter Kaye and has since rung Kel to give him the news and connect him with Kaye.
When Stan Savige sat down with other WW1 Veterans and formed Legacy to look after the widows and children of deceased servicemen and woman, we would I like to think he had people like Kel Gulliver in mind.
The full collection included:
David McLean WW1 Medals - QSA, 1914-15 Star, BWM and Victory Medal.
DHC McLean  WWII Medals - ASM 1939-1945, 39-45 War Medal, and a LSGCM.
Frank Gibson WW1 Medals - BWM and Victory.
Percival Gibson WW1 Medals - BWM and Victory, also his death plaque (pictured).
1 School children's Medalet.
Returned From Active service badge.
Female relatives badge.
Widow's Badge.
The returned medal tally is now 962.

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