26 January 2015

Leslie Hill

More outstanding research from Bill:
The search for a next of kin for VX93679 Private Leslie James Hill started when I received his 1939-1945 War and Australian Service Medal and the following comment from the donor, Nikki:
“We have tried to find him, but all we know is that there is no one called Hill in our family, extended or not”.
In reply to my enquiry as to their background, all that Nikki could say was that they were amongst a tin of badges, medals and other WW2 memorabilia, that her husband had inherited on the death of his father. 
War Graves, which is often my first port of call, could not help either. They had nothing on Private Hill. I then found myself looking on line at all the cemeteries in and around Melbourne and comparing them to the Victorian deaths records. Through the team at the Australian Surnames Group we finally found our man or at least the Leslie James Hill who best fitted our profile.
It was at this point that one of the Australian Surnames Group team located a family tree on Ancestry. While not an exact copy of our research data it came pretty close.
Now before someone asks why did we not go to Ancestry immediately, the answer was to us quite simple; we can’t accept ‘almost the same’. Dates and ages must align or should I say, should align. Accepting that Leslie died at 49 in 1975, it meant that he must have been born in 1926, not 1925 which his records show. Accordingly, Leslie was only 17 when he enlisted.
As it was, there were other discrepancies between Ancestry, Leslie’s service file and what we had been able to deduce, including that Leslie fiddled his age to enlist. We also discovered that he married but his son died in infancy.
So now our next step, was to look for Leslie’s siblings. While this approach did at times have us going around in circles, it brought us ,after some time to Leslie’s niece, Fay, his sister Dorothy’s daughter.
It was where Part 1 of this story came to an end. Last night I found myself sitting at my computer working on Part 2, writing a letter on Fay’s behalf to Honours and Awards enquiring as to what medals Leslie had been eligible for and also even more importantly what he had been issued.
If it should it appear that Leslie was eligible for more medals watch this space for an update.
PS. Yes I know the ribbon is wrong, this is how I received the medals, but Fay could not have cared less. And me, well I was glad to pass them on.

The returned medal tally is now 1614.

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