30 November 2014

2 medal stories

More great work from Bill

One of our most enduring relationships is with the Victorian Police force, an organisation who the longer I deal with its uniformed officers, the more grows my admiration and respect.
The following are two stories, that while successful in their outcomes, are different in their reporting.
This is two stories in one, both in support of the Victoria Police.

In the first case it was four medals, 39-45 and Pacific Stars the War Medal and the 39-35 ASM. It all began with an email:
'G’day Bill, I have been given your details in the belief that you may be able to assist us’
And so the search began that concluded this week with the return of an ex POW’s medals to his surviving family.

The second story began with a phone call from Senior Constable Amy Virgona of the Frankston Police Station. Amy had the medals of VX20252 Derek Leslie Austin, which had been handed in by a builder after been found on a house renovation site.
In many ways the search was straightforward, and it was from Derek’s death notice that I obtained the names of his surviving children. Two phone calls later and I was finally able to speak to his eldest son, Bill. I've now passed Bill’s details to Amy for her to arrange the return.
Derek Austin had quite an interesting military career, enlisting in June 1940, at the age of 19 he would see service in the Middle East, as part of the Tobruk Garrison, an experience that would stamp him as one of a select band of people; a Rat of Tobruk. Its emblem he wore proudly on his medal bar. He would also wear the Polish Armed Forces in the West Military Cross of which only 100 were awarded to Australians who served alongside Polish forces in Tobruk. Derek later served in New Guinea. 
From these two stories, 12 more medals have been returned. The tally is now 1593.

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