21 February 2015

Wallscourt Steen Kelly

I commenced this search at 1300 today and at 1840 I was speaking to the nephew of the subject of this search. 5 hours and 40 minutes of solid research to get a result. There is a considerable amount of information available about this officer and I'll be including it in the story.
Yesterday, the medals awarded to Wallscourt Steen Kelly arrived in the mail, sent to me by Tony B. Wallscourt enlisted in 1916 and allocated to the 38th Battalion. His experience in the Senior Cadets saw him quickly promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer. Then in 1917 he was commissioned and moved to the 60th Battalion. Later in 1917 Wallscout was wounded in action having received gun shot wounds to his right thigh. He was also mentioned in dispatches. Wallscourt's appointment in the AIF was terminated in February 1918 to take up a commission in the Indian Army. Wallscourt was also a first class cricketer.
The Kelly's were a reasonably prominent family in their district in Victoria and as a result there they were mentioned in the newspapers on many occasions. It was through these stories that I was able to piece together Wallscourt's life and family connections. I've included some below which include pictures of him. He eventually retired from the Indian Army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Wallscourt married late in life to Mina Branigan who served as a nurse during WWI.
The newspaper articles gave me the names of Wallscout's brothers, Rudyard and Hubert. Rudyard served in the RAAF during WW2.
The Kelly's eventually settled in WA and Rudyard lived in Applecross. Using this information I could track Rudyard's children John, David and Delrose. John had a career in the RAAF and a very interesting piece of information came out about him. He was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1952. This award was for saving the lives of several Royal Navy sailors who got in trouble swimming off Cocos Island. I've included an article about this incident as well.
John died in 2012 and on a hunch I searched the West Australian newspaper death notice archives. I got luck and John's death notice was online. To my surprise the notice mentioned Rudyard's other son David and gave his phone number. I was soon talking to David who was able to confirm all that I had found as well as fill in some blanks. He also told me more about John's award.
As well as his WWII pair, Wallscourt was awarded the India General Service Medal with clasps for Waziristan and the North West Frontier.
The returned medal tally is now 1623.

This is Wallscourt's MID.

Wallscourt with fellow officers in 1918

Wallcourt's engagement to Mina

Wallscourt with fellow officers of the Indian Army

Wallscourt's death notice

John Kelly's BEM

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