This is a fantastic story from Bill:
While I cannot claim the record for the quickest return of a set of medals, and I must admit my envy of Glyn when he posts such a return where, looking at the name, and it is usually an odd one, he has used the Internet coupled with White Pages directory, and has as a result been able to complete a search in less than an hour. The case of the medals of Lydia Joy Waterfield has to date been a personal best.
It was the brother of Lorraine Green, (the Secretary of the Upper Yarra RSL) who when he recently set the winning bid on a set of candelabra at a deceased estate auction, started this search. For in the box along with the candelabra came a small cloth bag, in which there were two medals, impressed to 94858 L.J. Waterfield.
He and Lorraine then set out to find Lydia.
After several months with no success they contacted Jude Beshears, of the Victorian Branch of the RSL, who in turn directed them to me. From a quick conversation with Lorraine, it appeared that an extensive search for a Lydia Joy Waterfield in the Upper Yarra Region had proved fruitless.
At this point with the clock ticking (it was 3.17PM approx), I downloaded Lydia’s Nominal Roll entry at the Australian War Memorial, born at Jarnadup in WA, it gave her NOK as an Amelia Waterfield.
Taking the chance that Lydia more than likely had married after or during the latter stages of WW2, I went to the WA Reverse Marriages web site, sure enough Lydia Joy Waterfield had married Robert B.E.Milk in 1949, in Perth WA.
Again back to the AWM and its WW2 Nominal Roll, unfortunately there was no appearance for Robert.
Now it was to War Graves Canberra, did they have a date of death for Lydia either as a Waterfield, or as a Milk? The answer a resounding NO!
Back to WA and its on-line BDM’s, looking for any Waterfield born from 1915 onwards, there were quite a few, but I did notice that Lydia’s birth had been registered at Blackwood, as had an Alfred Arthur and a Norman Thomas Waterfield, both of whom appeared on the Nominal Roll, with Norman’s NOK shown as an Amelia Waterfield .
Now back to War Graves. Yes they did have date of death for both Alfred and Norman .
Now it was to the WA Metropolitan Cemeteries web site and there I found Alfred, but no Norman, nor could I find an appearance on the WA Reverse marriages look up for Norman. Which in turn led me to believe that he married either later than the WA records, of he married in another state, and possibly passed away there.
A quick call to a friend with Ancestry, and I had an old address for Norman, and his wife. Another quick phone call and I was speaking to his widow, she in turn provided me with the phone number not only of Lydia, who as I found out prefers to be known as Joy, but also her daughter.
Next I found myself talking to Joy, where after a long conversation, I finally convinced her that her Medals were not in storage as she believed but had been inadvertently misplaced and included in with the candelabra when they had been sold.
My final call (4.58 PM(well according to my computer clock) was to Lorraine to pass the details to her so that she and her brother can return the medals to Joy. As I write this story I am awaiting an email with an attached photo showing the re-union.
One hour, 40 minutes, not the fastest search that Lost Medals has ever done but it beats my longest record of nearly six years.
The returned medal tally is now 1212. Pictures to follow.