This story from Bill is just brilliant.
Readers of the Lost Medals Australia Blog, will be more than aware of the odd places medals are found.
But what does not often stand out is how close the medals have been to being lost forever.
Prior to her husband dumping the contents of a skip, Pauline always checks to see that no one has added chemical waste to the skip.
As she put it to me when we met. “It was odd, a brown paper bag tied up in a plastic bag”? Curiosity got the better of me”.
It was just as well it did. Inside the brown paper bag were the World War 1 medals of 1616 Private John Walter Snelling.
The search for his next of kin owes much to the team of the Australian Surname Group. As they came up with each individual clue, we slowly got closer to finding a next of kin. Complicating matters was that John, while wounded during the war, had died as a result of an Industrial accident in 1934.
But one thing the Australian Surname Group team has is persistence and as a result I found myself talking to Richard Snelling, John’s surviving son. It was for me an incredible experience to talk with a direct descendant of a WW1 Veteran
After I hung up and after I finally collected my thoughts I posted the following on the Australian Surname Group web site.‘Dear Team
Last night I spoke to Richard, John's last surviving offspring.
I left him in tears (of gratitude)
His father passed away when he (Richard) was only 5, and as he tells it Legacy to whom he will always be grateful stepped in paying for his and his siblings schooling and books.
On ANZAC Day his mother would let him wear his dad's medals, it is over 70 years since he saw his father's medals
On Wednesday morning (my postage day) a registered parcel will wing its way North.
Today when Pauline, who found the medals, dropped them of at the RSL, we had quite a talk of how the medals were found, in a skip and by chance, as she said “I thought it looked odd, a brown paper bag tied up in a clear plastic bag. I was curious”.
I had planned to, on Pauline's behalf, ring Richard and let them have a long talk, however Richard had to go out at the last minute, so this afternoon I called him and gave him Pauline's telephone number.
Later in the week I will ring back and see how it went.
But from me
The returned medal tally is now 1660.