30 October 2011

Thomas Ahern

The WWII War Medal awarded to N480223 Thomas James Ahern was sent to me by Jeff I with the hope that a family member could be located. This is the story from Bill:
The search for the next of kin of Thomas began on the 11 April 2010 when we received his medal, and though the usual twists and turns, over the last 17 Months we can finally call a halt to the search.
Thomas' medal has been returned to his sister Eileen. 
It was the help provided by Nicole, a member of the Geraldton Family Historical Society, that finally pointed Bill towards Eileen, that help finalise the search 
Thank you Nicole.
The returned medal tally is now 1012.

29 October 2011

Army News Paper

The Army News Paper has very kindly published an article about our recent milestone,
The story is on page 21 of the hard copy out now or at this link.

H2437 Kenneth Conway RAN

Here is the story of the Conway medal from Bill:
When Jennifer started researching her family tree, one of the links she found was to a cousin in Tasmania, who among many things informed her that she had Jennifer's fathers war medals, and would Jennifer like them?
Well the joy and surprise was tempered on arrival by the inclusion of the 1939-1945 War Medal of Kenneth Charles Conway Ex H2437 (RAN). From questions to the cousin and her own research it soon transpired that Ken was not a member of Jennifer's family, extended or otherwise.
Her next step to advertise in the Veteran Affairs Newsletter, brought Bill who was doing research with the RSL into the picture with an offer of help which Jennifer accepted.
One of the great things about returning medals is making contact with the families of the often deceased service personnel. But rarely as in this case do you have the opportunity, to speak to the recipient, the major problem being to now convince Ken that one of his prized medals was missing, and had been for some time.
Jennifer has now forwarded Ken's medal to him with a long letter explaining how she came by the medal.
The one question we cannot answer, however, for both Ken and Jennifer is where has the 'missing' medal been all these years, which if you think about it from Ken's perspective it has not been 'missing'?

27 October 2011

David Tollens

PM4494 David Frederick Tollens served in the RAN for a period of four years during WWII. Tollens was from a family with a long military history. His father and uncle moved to Australia from New Zealand during the late 19th century. His father served during WWI as 878 PTE William David Tollens in 13th LHR and later 2nd DAC. During WWII William served again as V83026. Uncle James spent his life in the Merchant Navy. David's brother was Charles Louis Tollens and served as V35227, VX142400 and in the RAAF as 440779.
I was able to track the family through the Electoral Rolls and worked out that David and his wife Margaret had no children of their own. The search then focused on the family of Charles and I've now spoken to Charles' grand son who the medal will be returned to.
The returned medal tally is now 1011.
Those readers who have an interest in the naming styles on medals will note the difference between the Navy style and those of the Army and RAAF.

23 October 2011

John James Samuel Horrigan

I was recently contacted by Les A from the Batemans Bay RSL who had the BWM awarded to 1981 John James Samuel Horrigan. Les was keen to see the medal returned to the family.
I came across a fair bit of information about Horrigan on varies genealogy websites but nothing definitive that led me straight to a living descendent. It took four days to unravel the family tree and draw together all the clues but I was eventually able to locate Horrigan's grand daughter in law and in turn his great grand daughters.
The returned medal tally is now 1010.

Bill's recent success

Bill has had some great success in recent weeks and here is a summary of his research:
A BWM and Victory Medal to Norman Neil Alan McInnes
A Korean War pair to Daniel Albert Walsh
A single WWII medal to Conway

19 October 2011

Thanks to the NSW RSL

I've mentioned both on our website and here about the fantastic relationship we have with the NSW RSL State Branch. The NSW Box was a treasure trove of medals which we have had considerable success with. There are still a a few to get through but we will get there eventally.
Today, I had the great pleasure of meeting with the Mr Don Rowe OAM, the NSW State President and his executive staff. I was very humbled to received a certificate of appreciation from the State Council.
Thank you Don, Ally and all at the State HQ.

14 October 2011

David George Irvin update number 2

Following the return of the memorial plaque to the family of David George Irvin, ABC South East NSW broadcast a follow up story. The audio can be heard at this link.
Thank you to Ian from ABC in Bega.
Army News also ran a story which can be viewed on page 8.

13 October 2011

Daniel Morgan

The search for the family of 1619 Driver Daniel Morgan has proved to be very tricky. Bill and I really ran in to some difficulty. Alex cracked the code when he realised that there were name changes due to different marriages and family deaths. In the long run we got there and Alex's clues has put Bill in touch with Morgan's great grand daughter.
As the pictures show this Victory Medal has had a hard life. A ding on the rim makes the '2' look a lot like '7' but Morgan definitely served in 2nd Light Horse Regiment.
Thank you to Douglas who first sent me the medal in 2009.The medal returned tally is now 1004.

01 October 2011

Another Fromelles story

In recent months I have been contacted by Colin Stalgis who is a relative of 2898 CPL Gregory Francis Stalgis. Gregory was another of the AIF soldiers killed at Fromelles on 20 July 1916 and buried in a mass grave. Just like David Irvin, Gregory's remains have been identified and he is now buried in a marked grave. Colin attended the reburial and has provided me with photos of the head stone, meeting with the Duchess of Cornwall and of Gregory taken a year before he was killed in action.
Colin is searching for Gregory's WWI medals and I've added the details to my research notes. Maybe this post with help uncover them.

David George Irvin update

In August I told the story of the memorial plaque presented to the family of David George Irvin. This post is to bring up to date the story of the return of the plaque to the family.
As I mentioned, I was hopeful that the Chief of Army's History Conference would provide the perfect opportunity to bring the Irvin family to Canberra and return the plaque. When I discussed this with Roger Lee from the Army History Unit, he was totally behind me. AHU, through Dr Andrew Richardson, kindly allowed me a time slot in the program to tell the story behind Irvin's plaque. After that, Major General John Caligari formally handed back the memorial plaque to the Irvin family.
The story was reported in the Canberra Times (thank you David) and I've reproduced it below.
Once again I must mention that it is thanks to the vigilance of Tim D that this return began at all.
(To view larger copies of this article click on the picture, a further zoom can also be done).