30 April 2012

Resizing photos tutorial

I often get asked how to resize photos so they can be posted on blogs or forums that have size limits. I’m sure there are many methods and we also have a program for doing fancy stuff with photos but I find this the easiest method for a simple resize.

As part of the Microsoft Office package there is a program called Picture Manager which is the program I use for resizing. Picture Manager can be found through the Start menu.

Or by right clicking on an image you can open the image in Picture Manager.

By selecting this option the picture will open up at its full resolution. The first step I take to resize is to determine if the image needs to be cropped. This can be done by cropping the photo.

By using the guides you can choose the exact part of the image you want to show. Once done click ‘OK’.

The cropped picture will take up most of the screen. To reduce the size of the picture select 'Compress Picture'.

You will then have the opportunity to determine the size of the photo. For my blog I choose ‘Web Pages’. Select ‘OK’.

The photo will then be compressed and will appear much smaller on the screen. It will now be a size that can be saved to a web forum post. I save the photo as another version of the original so that I keep both photos.

27 April 2012

WWII medals - David Smyth

This is a story 66 years in the making. Here is the information from Bill and the family who had the medals:

These WWII medals were awarded to VX117643 David Smyth but have been in the possession of David Smith's family for many years. Mr Smith tells us the medals were in the belongings of a family member who served as a driver during WWII. She wore the medals with pride every Anzac Day so the family assumed they were hers. Mr Smith says that in 2010 another family member noticed that the naming on the medals was to David Smyth.
As it turn out Mr Smith’s relative had never received her medals so Mr Smith applied for and received her entitlement. It is thought that Mr Smith’s relative might have had friends name Smyth many years ago. Mr Smith goes on to say ‘After Bill did his magic and traced Michael (relative of David Smyth) this proved to be the case.’

The medals will soon be returned to the Smyth family. The returned medal tally is now 1133.

Victory Medal and WWII War Medal - James Brown

These two medals span the service of one man in two wars and serving two countries.
15595 PTE James Brown served in the Royal Scots during WWI. He later emigrated to Australia and served in the Australian Army during WWII as V4808 PTE James Brown, this time with 17th Garrison Battalion. James would have been entitled to more medals, most notable the WWI British War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939-45.
This search started with a post on the Australian Surname Group forum. We ran in to a few dead ends but the family came across the entry and contacted us.
The medals will be returned to James' son and thank you to Jo D who sent me the medals in the first place. The returned medal tally is now 1131.

25 April 2012

Post Update - Burnett Gray

The City of Port Phillip have added a piece to their web site about the return of Burnett Gray's medals. I would like to thank the Council and staff for their interest in this story. My original post on Burnett Gray is at this link.

24 April 2012

Cecil Riley - Pacific Star

I received this Pacific Star awarded to NX168349 Cecil Francis Riley in October 2010 as part of the NSW RSL box. The initial search for Cecil proved fruitless so I put the medal aside.
Yesterday I decided to have a more in depth look and the first new piece of information I found was that his service record had been digitised (to access the service record follow the steps in this tutorial). I then moved to the NSW birth, deaths and marriage records but found very little on Cecil. Similarly, there is little information on Ancestry in the form of electoral roll entries.
I did find a family tree which showed he had a daughter but not what her name was. I then had to do a bit of research gymnastics to get to the name of the daughter. The tree owner's user name included the name 'Burns' and a branch of the family had a person with this surname. By following the different branches I surmised that it was Cecil's daughter who was the owner of the tree and that she was married in to the Burns family. Still no name but I could work out her father in law's name. This information led me to another family history research site where the father in law was also listed. I sent a message to this family and with in 30 minutes I had a reply which included the name and contact details of Cecil's daughter. Sure enough my hunch had been right.
Regrettably, I won't be able to have this medal back with the family in time for Anzac Day 2012 but I'll post it in the very near future.
The returned medal tally is now 1129.

21 April 2012

Post update 2 - 32621 George Johnson

I have just been sent a photo of George Hardy Johnson to accompany the original post about this soldier. This link is to the first update.
Thank you once again to Adrian for providing me all the additional material on the Johnson and Habgood families.

20 April 2012

British War Medal and Victory Medal - William Henley

The search for the family of 632 PTE William Henry Henley was one of the most difficult I've conducted (to access the service record follow the steps in this tutorial). Henley's British War Medal and Victory Medal came to me from the same source as the Maddock medals. Henley service record shows he was 18 years old when he enlisted with his parents consent as he was under 21. The hand written note signed by his mother agreeing to him enlisting is at the bottom of the first page of his service record. His enlistment date was 23 March 1915 and he was allocated to 24th Battalion. Henley transferred to 61st Battalion, 5th Battalion and 21st Battalion before returning to the 24th in September 1917. In October 1917 the 24th Battalion was fighting at Ypres and on 10 October Henley was killed in action.
Henley's service record makes interesting reading from a social sense. After his death there was little information provided to his family and the allotment made from his pay to his mother was ceased. This caused his sister to write to the Army asking for verification of his death so that a pension could be arranged. Henley's mother was in such financial distress that she had to sell her furniture to pay the rent. Henley's sister states in her letter that he was actually 17 when he enlisted not 18 and a half as indicated on the enlistment papers.
Henley had two sisters and one brother. One sister died shortly after being born. The other sister married but later divorced not having had any children. Her husband also served during WWI. Henley's brother served during both WWI and WWII. He married but also divorced without having had children. He was a bit of a rat bag and I came across several newspaper reports about his different court appearances. This was during the 1930 which might explain things. By the 1950s the Henley line had died out.
I couldn't work out if Henley's father had any siblings so I looked at the mother's line. Henley's mother was Henrietta Callow. She and her brother, William Callow, were born in Tasmania in the 1850s but later both moved to Victoria. William had seven children some of who died young or never married. One daughter, Laura, married Charles Watson. They had three sons. I found the wife of one of the sons (now deceased) but since she had married in to the family she thought it better that I talk with her niece from the Watson line who is the keeper of the family history. Today I spent quite some time talking to this lovely lady, now 80, about all the connections and her third cousin William Henley.
Once again thanks to Rod S who forwarded the medals to me and to Catherine who wanted the medals returned in the first place.
These medals are in as issued condition and unfortunately is a broken group. Henley was also entitled to the 1914-15 Star which is missing.
The returned medal tally is now 1128.

The BWM and the Victory Medal were issued some years apart, the BWM in 1921 and the Victory Medal in 1923. The variations in the naming is easy to see. I'm not sure if it because the impressing machines were wearing out or what but the 'W' and 'H' on the Victory Medal (the bottom one in the pictures) are struck so that the left hand leg of each letter is barely visible.

Pacific Star - Frederick Jones

This Pacific Star was one of those included in the NSW RSL box. It was awarded to N467913 Frederick Arthur Jones. We have had a look at this one in the past but ran in to a few brick walls. I recently decided to have a closer look and combine information from Ancestry.com, The National Library of Australia, the Ryerson Index and the NSW BDM. No one resource gave me close to the full picture so I had to make some extensive notes from the different documents and links that I found.
After all that is got down to taking yet another punt. I knew the address that the Jones family lived in through the 1940s and 50s. This was in a smallish NSW town so I had a look in the White Pages not expecting too much since Jones is a common name. That was until I saw that there was a Jones living at the address next door. A quick check of the electoral rolls showed that this Mr Jones had been in the same house since 1954. If he wasn't related he must have at least known the Jones family I was looking for.
When I called this morning I found he was the brother of Frederick.
This medal is a officially issued duplicate as can be seen by the 'D' under the number and name. By the style and method of naming I estimate that this duplicate was issued in the late 1980s or 1990s.
The returned medal tally is now 1126.

18 April 2012

Post update - 32621 George Johnson

This update provides some additional information on the return of the WWI pair to the family of 32621 GNR George Johnson.
The Johnson's were an early pioneering family of WA. They eventually settled in Guildford and lived in 'Seaton Rose'. The house has been renovated to its original grandeur and is pictured below.


"The current owner who has extensively restored and renovated the house is shown trying to determine the  position of the following  photo taken on the same veranda. The Johnson family business was flour milling in the now demolished mill seen in the background below. A remnant of the wall can be seen still standing above and is now listed for protection." (Provided by the family)  

This photos shows 'Seaton Rose' c 1924. The young chap is George's nephew.

George had five sisters. One sister, Helena, married in to another WA pioneering family - the Habgoods. Helena's husband was Robert Henry Habgood. The Habgoods opened up parts of the Pilbara for farming. The following pictures show the grave of Blanche Habgood who was the sister of Edith Cowen who is depicted on the Australian $50 note.

Thank you very much to Adrian, George's great nephew, for providing all this additional information and the pictures.

13 April 2012

Another biscuit tin - J.J. Lamond

Bill and I are having a run on biscuit tins at the moment.
This tin was sent to me from Townsville. The tin was discovered in an old out building on the property which the current residents have owned for 22 years. They had only recently discovered the tin before sending it to me last October.
The medals were awarded to QX36418 Joseph (Joe) John Lamond. The group consists of the 1939-45 Star, the Pacific Star, the Australian Service Medal 1939-45 and the War Medal. These medals are an official duplicate set that have been reissued by the Department of Defence. The 'D' that indicates they are duplicate can easily be seen in the photos. This link is to an explanation about duplicate medals.
Thank you to Julie F who sent the biscuit tin to me. The returned medal tally is now 1125.

11 April 2012

British War Medal and Victory Medal - 32621 George Johnson

32621 George Hardy Johnson served in the 10th Field Artillery Brigade. Johnson appears to have gone by the name G Hardy Johnson throughout his life. His service record shows that he was a Land Agent from Guildford, WA.
Johnson's service record also shows that his medals were returned in 1924 as they couldn't be delivered. In 1936 he claimed the medals and signed a receipt for them.
Johnson didn’t marry nor have any children. The medals, which are in as issued condition, will be returned to his great nephew.
(To access the service record follow the steps in this tutorial.)
Thanks to Ian C for sending me the medals. The returned medal tally is now1120.

10 April 2012

Queen's South Africa Medal and British War Medal

This pair of medals is quite an unusual combination. The first one is the Queen's South Africa (QSA) Medal awarded for service during the Boer War. The QSA covered the period 1899 to 1902 and then the King's South Africa Medal was awarded after 1 January 1902 as Edward VII had come to the throne.
The QSA of this pair was awarded to 170 George Hamilton Sydney Maddock. George served with the 4th Contingent of the Queensland Imperial Bushmen. The clasps with the medal are for Transvaal, Orange Free State and Cape Colony. The Australian War Memorial Boer War nominal roll indicates that George was also with the 6th contingent. The QSA is named to the Queensland MR (Mounted Rifles). George's brother Arthur also served with the 7th Battalion of the Australian Commonwealth Horse.
George enlisted to the 11th Australian Light Horse for WWI. This link is to his service record. (To access the service record follow the steps in this tutorial.) He was later allocated to the Imperial Camel Corps. His British War Medal is named to the Camel Corps which makes the pair of medals unusual. The BWM is his only entitlement from WWI and this is confirmed in a series of letters in his service record.
George was from a rather large family, he married and had one son. All of his siblings who survived past childhood also married and had children but the family has been difficult to find. George and his brother Arthur married the Queale sisters but all of the close subsequent generations have died out. George's son and Arthur's three sons all served during WWII with one being a POW. However, none had children of their own.
I have found a relative who has considerable family history material for the Maddock family and I'll return the medal to her. Thanks to Rod S who forwarded the medals to me and to Catherine who wanted the medals returned in the first place.
The returned medal tally is now 1118.
The QSA:

 The BWM:

WWII group of 5 medals to RAN

This group consists of the 1939-45 Star, the Pacific Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939-45. The medals were awarded to W1265 Able Seaman James Robert Carr. Carr's service record is also available on the NAA. (To access the service record follow the steps in this tutorial.)
Carr's medals were found in Queensland in 2005, they were then handed in to the Queensland Police who forwarded them to the Directorate of Honours and Awards. The medals were sent to me in 2010. Most of the leads we had ran to nothing and Bill put a post on the Australian Surname Group. Carr's grandson, Ben, came across the entry and got in touch with us.
I'll put the medals in the post next week so that they are with Ben by Anzac Day.
The returned medal tally is now 1116.

09 April 2012

Service Records tutorial

One of the best resources available to researches of WWI Australian military history is the service records of the AIF soldiers who served. These are available free on line through the National Archives of Australia website. On our web site I have a step by step guide on how to access these records but in recent months the NAA website has been updated and the process of getting to the service record has changed slightly. Also, when I first started this blog most of the readers knew how to access the service records. Now I find that many readers need a bit of a helping hand especially when I post a link to the service records. I hope that this tutorial is helpful to readers.
This post was updated on 17 Feb 13 to reflect changes to the NAA website.
To start with access the NAA home page at this link. The full address is  http://www.naa.gov.au/

On the left hand side of the homepage are the words "Search the collection". Click on this link to go to the next page.


In the middle of the page is a light blue box with the words "Search as a guest". Click on this link to go to the next page.


At the top of the page is a tab that says "Name search". Click on this link to go to the next page.


In the family name box type in the surname you are searching. Immediately below in the drop down box select World War I then click "Search".


The next page will open and there will be the number matches. Click on "Refine this search result" and a new page will open up. In search boxes insert the first name or the service number to reduce the number of results.


This will go to a new page which shows fewer result matches. Click on display.


On the right side of the page will be a book/page symbol and the words "View digital copy". Click on this and the service record will open up in a new page.

04 April 2012

Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 awarded to SGT Leonavicius

Some searches come together very nicely while others take forever. This is one of those ones that worked out very well and it took not quite a minute from the time the medal arrived in the mail to me speaking to the soldier's widow.
43114 SGT Algimantas Stanaslovas Leonavicius was born in Germany then emigrated to Australia. He served in the SASR during the conflict in Borneo known as the Confrontation. The only lead I could get on Algimantas was to his name on a RSL honour board in South Australia.
Due to the unusual surname I took a punt that there wouldn't be many relatives listed in the White Pages. Sure enough there is only one person by this name in SA so I called and ended up speaking to Algimantas' widow. He died in 2000.
Thanks to Helen and Rod who found the medal and sent it to me. The returned medal tally is now 1111.

Mayor of St Kilda Burnett Gray - British War Medal and Victory Medal

In a similar way to Bill having received medals found in an old biscuit tin, I have recently received a large collection in a cigar box and cash tin. The items were found during a house clearance and include not only medals but photos, letters and news paper clippings relating to Alfred Charles Burnett Gray.
Burnett, this is the name he went by for his entire life, was from a pioneering family of Geraldton, WA. His father established a prosperous business in Geraldton which later relocated to Melbourne. I've included a copy of his Who's Who entry below.
Burnett went to school in Adelaide and later to Wesley College, Melbourne. While at Wesley he wrote the Founder's Day song. At the bottom of the page at this link is the song and details about Burnett. When his father died he returned to Geraldton to wind up the business there and relocate his mother and siblings to Melbourne. Burnett had three sisters and one brother. His two elder sisters never married and died in the early 1960s. His younger sister married but the marriage did not last although she had one son. He saw service in WWII but did not marry and died in the 1980s. Burnett's youngest brother married and also saw service during WWI but unfortunately he also did not have any children.
Burnett married Queenie Hilary Margaret Smith and like most of his siblings Burnett and Queenie didn't have children. Burnett died in 1968.
Burnett is most notable for being the first Councillor of a Victorian City Council to enlist in to the ranks for WWI. He served as 6804 ER-SGT Burnett Gray (the ER-SGT means Engineering Sergeant) in the 22nd Battalion, AIF. After he was invalided back to Australia in 1920, and while still in hospital, he was re-elected to the St Kilda council. Burnett became Mayor of St Kilda in 1922.
Burnett is commemorated in Melbourne by having had a park named after him as shown on page 27 of this short history as well as an infant care centre. There are also several mentions of him available on Trove.
Burnett's business and civic service is explained nicely in this entry. Click on the picture to increase the size.

A photo of Burnett.

This is a picture of the cigar box and cash tin.

This is all the items in the cash tin.

Burnett's medals.

The direct family line of Burnett's father died out in 1980. I then had to look at at the family of Burnett's uncle Edward Gray. This also proved a bit difficult as five of Edward's seven children either died young or didn't have any children. Burnett's cousin William Gary had two daughter. It is one of these who I've located.This branch of the family is in WA where Burnett was from originally.
Thank you to Rosalind who found the medals while doing a house clearance and though they should be back with the family. The returned medal tally is now 1110.