26 September 2011

Website Update

After all the excitement yesterday, Scott has updated our web site and the 'What's New' page.
One of the items that has been added was a recently published article from the NSW RSL magazine - Reveille. It is through the recommendations that we get from the RSL State and Sub-Branches that connects us with people who have medals that they have found. For this positive endorsement I am very grateful.

25 September 2011

We have now returned 1000 medals

This evening I received an email from Bill with some wonderful news. Bill has been researching a set of six medals and located the son of the veteran. This result takes our tally of medals returned to over 1000. I'm really pleased that Bill had the honour of reaching this milestone. Well done Bill.
So here is the story from Bill.
For a serviceman to lose his medals is an almost unbearable loss. But to lose the replacement medals?
Private Trevana Richard Isaac Taylor (V74398 and VX50857) had his first set of medals stolen about 16 years ago, or so his family thinks, he then applied for a replacement set, however after his funeral his family could not find his medals, which had been on display on his coffin. It has been a mystery that has plagued the family since Trevana's death in 2001. However an even bigger mystery for them now, is where have the replacement medals been from that date until August this year when the people at Southern Cross Recycling found them in a charity clothing bin.
The mystery aside, the medals are now back with Private Taylor's son John who plans to have them mounted, something his father never got around to doing. They will then be stored for safe keeping. As John said when I spoke to him "you don't get lucky twice."
This return owes a debt of gratitude to Pat Gauci, of Southern Cross Recycling, and it would be remiss of me not to thank her, rather than leaving them in a box she chose to follow up with Jude Busheers the Office Manager of the Victorian Branch of the RSL. Jude immediately passed to Pat, Bill's phone number with as Pat put it, a 'recommendation'.
The retuned medal tally is now 1003.

John Harold Cresswell

I've had the 1914/15 Star awarded to J20603 AB John Harold Cresswell RN, for just over 12 months. The initial search went very well as I was provided a copy of his British medal card. Then based on an educated guess I suspected that Cresswell emigrated to Australia and served in WWII as NX13725 Sapper J.H. Cresswell. The date of birth is earlier by ten years but this doesn't surprise me. After this promising start I ran in to the research brick wall, again.
Our new team member, Alex, had a look at this one and today put me in contact with Cresswell's grand daughter Lyn. She was able to confirm what we suspected. After service in WWI, when he had a ship sunk from under him, Cresswell emigrated to Australia in 1927. He did change his date of birth to 1906 so that he could serve during WWII. Sadly John was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1951.
Cresswell would have received three medals for WWI and since he was discharged in 1942 during WWII, he probably would have been entitled to at least another three or maybe five if he served overseas. Where the other medals are is anyone's guess. Even though the pictured medal has some marks on the reverse there is evidence of Braso on the obverse. This suggests to me that someone has looked after this medal in the past.
Thank you to Victor A for sending this medal to me and well done Alex.
The returned medal tally is now 997.

24 September 2011

Terence Webster

I've often mentioned the wonderful support I get from the RSL. When I first started looking for families the Queensland State Branch very kindly published the list of names I was researching. In 2001 they asked me to look at several sets of medals that they had been handed over the years. One of those groups was the WWII medals awarded to QX16468 Terence Edward Dowling Webster. I had a few leads which ran in to brick walls and over the years have revisited this search many times. Indeed, Bill and I have expended many hours on this particular group.
Recently, our research team has expanded with assistance being provided by Chief Petty Officer Alex Lewington. I've made reference to Alex in other posts but it is time he was pushed in to the lime light as Alex put all the pieces together to resolve this search.
So here is the link: Terence's sister was Myrtle, her daughter was Alice and finally her daughter is Sherry. Terence's medals will be returned to Sherry, his grand niece.
The returned medal tally is now 996.

22 September 2011

Albert Bisdee

The search for relatives of 3269 PTE Albert Charles Bisdee was very complicated. His service record initially lists his father as the NOK but with the caveat of 'address unknown'. This is crossed out and the name Edward James Barratt has been inserted with the relationship of cousin. These leads sent Bill and I off on several different research paths. Albert served in 11th Battalion, AIF.
On Monday I came across a family history blog written by Jessica Barratt which has an entry for Albert. Edward James Barratt is Jessica's great great grand father. Jessica's blog has some fantastic information about Albert including a wonderful photo of Albert in cowboy clothes. Below that is a picture of Edward with his family believed to be taken during WWI. Jessica has kindly given me permission to reproduce both in this entry.
Jessica's blog is a testament to some great family history research and a fantastic example of what can be published on line for future generations.
This 1914/15 Star came to me from Darrel H of the Boulder RSL. Darrel also sent me the Castle medal which was returned in June 2011. The medal is in great condition and is court mounted ready for wear.
The returned medal tally is now 990.

In this picture Albert is on the left.

Jessica believes this picture was taken during WWI and Edward  is second from the left.

Post updated 17 May 2012.

Thomas Allen

3455 PTE Thomas Andrew Allen enlisted in 1915 at the age of 43. He was allocated to 25th Battalion and was severely wounded in France in 1916. When he recovered he returned to his battalion but suffered from other illnesses which caused him to be hospitalised. In 1917 Allen was returned to Australia and discharged due to his advanced age.
This British War Medal is in great condition and court mounted ready to wear. Thanks to Jan M who is a serving RAAF member for sending this medal to me. The medal will be retuned to Allen's great great nephew. The returned medal tally is now 989.

13 September 2011

Archibald David Wilson

This search tested me a little bit as I quickly ran in to a brick wall when I found that 394 Dvr Archibald David Wilson, 12 Light Horse Regiment, died in 1940 having never married. I found a Public Trustee notice in the SMH archives about Archie, but that was about it. 
The next step was to look for any siblings. From the NSW BDM, I found that Archie was born in Forbes to a William and Florence Wilson. There was another child born to parents of the same name four years later in Forbes by the name of William Keith Wilson. There was no confirmation that it was the same family. William also served in WWI but the address for the NOK on the Attestation Papers were different from what is on Archie’s. I thought that it might not be the same family. However, in both service records there is a letter from the father to the Army concerning each son. By comparing the signature on the letters I could confirm they were from the same person and therefore establish that Archie and William were brothers. Page 23 for Archie and page 7 for William show the letters.
So then, the search started for William Keith Wilson’s family. I found that he married a Juliet Frances Stevens Montagu in 1926 and that Juliet died in 1989 in Bathurst. From there the trail to William and Juliet’s eldest daughter Peg was pretty simple.
When I spoke to Peg she pulled out all the medals that she had and was able to tell me that she had her father’s WWI pair and also the 1914/15 Star and British War Medal awarded to Archie. Therefore, with this return the full group is reunited.
This medal is from the Diane F collection. The returned medal tally is now 986.

Archie served with the 12th Light Horse Regiment which is most famous for participating in the Charge at Beersheba. The following is from the AWM web site:
The 12th Light Horse Regiment was raised, as part of the 4th Light Horse Brigade, at Liverpool, New South Wales, on 1 March 1915. It sailed from Australia in two contingents in June 1915. The first contingent put in at Aden on 12 July to reinforce the British garrison there against a predicted enemy attack; they only left their ship for a single route march, and sailed again on 18 July without having seen action.
The regiment was reunited in Egypt on 23 July 1915 and began training as infantry, having been ordered to leave its horses in Australia. A month later it deployed to Gallipoli. The regiment was again split up, to reinforce three light horse regiments already ashore - A Squadron went to the 1st Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron to the 7th, and C Squadron to the 6th. It was not reunited until 22 February 1916, by which time all of the AIF troops from Gallipoli had returned to Egypt.
Returning to its mounted role, the 12th Light Horse joined the forces defending the Suez Canal on 14 May 1916. In ensuing months it conducted patrols and participated in several forays out into the Sinai Desert. In April 1917 the regiment moved into Palestine to join the main British and dominion advance. It joined its first major battle on 19 April when it attacked, dismounted, as part of the ill-fated second battle of Gaza.
With two frontal attacks on Gaza having failed, the next attempt to capture the Turkish bastion was a wide outflanking move via the town of Beersheba, launched on 31 October 1917. A deteriorating tactical situation late on the first day of the operation caused the 12th and it’s sister regiment, the 4th, to be unleashed on Beersheba at the gallop - an action which has gone down in history as the charge of Beersheba.
After Gaza fell on 7 November 1917, Turkish resistance in southern Palestine collapsed. The 12th Light Horse participated in the pursuit that followed, and then spent the first months of 1918 resting and training. It moved into the Jordan Valley in time to participate in the Es Salt raid between 29 April and 4 May. The regiment subsequently manned defences on the west bank of the Jordan.
In August, the regiment was issued with swords and trained in traditional cavalry tactics in preparation for the next offensive against the Turks. This was launched along the Palestine coast on 19 September 1918 - it’s objective, Damascus. The mounted forces penetrated deep into the Turkish rear areas severing roads, railways and communications links. The 12th Light Horse was one of the first Australian units to enter Damascus on 2 October 1918. The regiment was soon involved in the next stage of the advance and was on its way to Homs when the Turks surrendered on 30 October. While awaiting to embark for home, the 12th Light Horse were called back to operational duty to quell the Egyptian revolt that erupted in March 1919; order was restored in little over a month. The regiment sailed for home on 20 July 1919.

12 September 2011

William George Field

This search took me in to the archives of the Sydney Morning Herald and the National Library of Australia's digitised records. I found the service record of 60218 Pte William George Field easy enough and this gave me his wife's name but the path ran very cold with his death in 1958. A search of the newspaper records showed that he was divorced in 1920 so I had to look and see if he remarried and if he had any children.
I found William's funeral notice which gave me his second wife's name, his daughter's married name and his grand daughter's first name. The unusual combination of names made locating the grand daughter reasonable easy, thanks to the Internet.
The British War Medal awarded to William will be returned to Toula in the near future and thanks to Adrian for taking the first step to see this medal sent home.
The returned medal tally is now 985.

09 September 2011

Phillip Flood

1035 Phillip Flood enlisted in to the 1st reinforcements of 41st Bn, AIF, however, it appears that upon arrival in France many of these reinforcements went to 9th Bn. After the war, Phillip was a farmer in the Wardell area south of Ballina. The Flood family still live in the region and this medal will be returned to his great niece.
This is another medal from the Diane F collection. The returned medal tally is now 984.

07 September 2011

What is wrong with the text?

For some reason the text on the blog has been reduced in size. This is not a change I've made and it was like this when I logged on this afternoon. Hopefully, it will self correct or I'll have to change a setting or two.

Eric Wand

This return is a pair of dog tags worn by NX156815 Eric Wand. From Eric's nephew I've learnt that he didn't have any children of his own. During the war Eric was involved in heavy fighting along the Kokoda Trail and recently his niece has walked along the track.
These dog tags are from the collection sent to me by Diane F.

Crawford Ernest Eyes

The Victory Medal awarded to 6/2124 Crawford Ernest Eyes NZEF, came to me from the collection of Diane F. My starting point when researching Crawford was the Auckland War Memorial Museum. This gave me the lead on the family and I soon discovered Crawford's brother William moved to Australia. A series of post of some family history websites lead me to William's grandson Peter, who lives in Melbourne.
Thanks to all the information that has been posted on the web about this family, the search only took about an hour. The returned medal tally is now 983.

05 September 2011

Australian Flying Corps WWI pair

This WWI pair was awarded to 977 2AM Alfred Henry Clarke who served in the Australian Flying Corps. The AFC is the forerunner of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Medals impressed with AFC are less common than those to other corps since the AFC was relatively small and if the soldier transferred in from another corps then the original corps will be on the medal. This pair is in almost as issued condition and it is possible that they have never been mounted for wear. These medals also come from the collection of Diane F. They are being returned to Alfred's grand daughter, Marilyn.
The returned medal tally is now 982.

03 September 2011

Peter Isaac McOrist

5157 Peter Isaac McOrist is shown on his service record as having served in 5th, 37th 60th and 65th Battalions. His medals are impressed with 60th Battalion. Peter died of wounds on 21 Feb 18 and is buried at Trios Arbres Cemetery in France.
Peter's WWI pair will be returned to his nephew.
These medals are from those sent to me by Diane F.
The returned medal tally is now 980.

02 September 2011

Victor Frederick Patterson

NX121609 Victor Frederick Patterson was from a large extended family. However, he didn't marry and died in 1969. His sister did marry but had no children. His brother Sidney also served in WWI and had three children. I've located one of those children and will be sending the WWII group of four medals back to the family in the near future.
Thanks very much to Jean H for sending these medals to me.
The returned medal tally is now 978.

Caldicott father and son medals

This return is very satisfying. Firstly, because three medals awarded to a father and son will be returned to the family. Secondly, because this family is very aware of their past and have gone to a lot of effort to record their history.
The first medal is the Victory Medal awarded to 7804 William Henry Caldicott. The other medals were awarded to his son NX72585 William Robert Ralph Caldicott.
I put this search together and found the link to the family based on the story written by William Henry Calidcott's grandson Peter and posted by his great grandson Matt.
Thank you very much to Diane for sending these medals to me. 
The returned medal tally is now 974.