My search for the family of Cecil John Harold Hayes began with an email from Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper. They had been contacted by Mr Cedric Brown who had seen an article about the McCarthy dog tag and wondered if I might be able to assist with a medal.
I rang Cedric who for more than 12 months had been searching for Cecil's family. He had received some assistance from other researchers but with no success.
Cecil enlisted for WWI on 2 occasions (link to service record). Firstly in July 1915 with the number 3836 and allocated to 23rd Battalion. He was discharged as medically unfit on 21 Feb 16. The photo below shows a very young Cecil when at the Broadmedaows Camp outside of Melbourne.
Just 2 months later Cecil enlisted again this time with the number 25874 and allocated to the 2nd Australian Light Railway Operating Company. He was eventually discharged on 14 Mar 19. His service record numbers 81 pages and there is a lot of correspondence about his medals and confusion surrounding their issue. I suspect that they went to one of his parents and Cecil never actually received them.
Fortunately, there is a family tree on Ancestry.com.au and 15 minutes after I started the search I had sent a message off to the tree owner. As it turned out it belonged to Cecil's daughter. I'll now arrange for each Cedric to send the medal back to Cecil's daughter.
Well done Cedric for not giving up the search. The returned medal tally is now 1311.