27 November 2014
It is Bill's turn to have a purple patch.
The story begins as so many of late with an email from an RSL sub-branch. On this occasion it was from Trevor Clerke, the Secretary of the Port Vincent RSL sub-branch, SA.
‘We recently had handed to us WW1 medals for 2628 Walter Roy Lyons. One of the townsfolk, well into their 70's were finally cleaning out some of the effects from their parents who had run a boarding house in Sale, this they think that is how the medals were in his Dad's general box of bits (like we all have). They have no ribbons but are tied together, with what appears to be jeweller’s chain’.
And so the search began.
Walter was 21 when he enlisted on the 26 May 1915, serving in France as a driver with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade. Like many returning Soldiers from the First World war, Roy never married, spending the years following WW1 as an itinerant worker. While this presented problems in trying to track his travels, it later transpired that he kept in constant touch with his family. I did find his brother Charles, who also had served in France during WW1 and WIA, but he too proved to be equally elusive. However, it was the relationship Walter kept up with his sister, Kathleen that helped in the end to locate his family. I might also add the death notice of his niece Barbara Sexton, the daughter of Kathleen, that played no little part in the conclusion of the search. That conclusion was locating Frank Sexton, Walter’s great nephew.
I recently received the following from Frank;
“Hi Bill and Trevor, thank you so very much for the effort in tracking our family line and contacting me. When I was first contacted by Fiona from Anne Wilson Funerals and then spoke to you Bill, the news that my Great Uncles medals had been found was unbelievable and for me like winning the lottery. I had just turned 8 when "Uncle Roy" as we called him died, but remember him always happy to see us and always so nice to me.
In later years I had wondered what happened to his and his brother's personal property as they had no other family, but put it down to those who don’t really have the same respect for history as some of us. No matter, the fact that you have again given his family a tangible connection to Uncle Roy and to a life changing part of his life as a 21 year old is absolutely wonderful.
Bill, once I have the medals mounted and on display it will be a pleasure to send you photos.’
Shortly, Trevor will be meeting with Frank Sexton, Walter’s great nephew where the medals long missing from the family, will ‘go home’.
The returned medal tally is now 1575.