Early this month I received a call from the Secretary of the ACT RSL. He had a parcel addressed to me by name care of the RSL. When I collected it there was no indication of who sent it. That still remains a mystery and that it would come through the local RSL is quite strange.
The parcel contained a WWII group awarded to John Joseph Cody, an officer in the Royal Australian Navy. The name combination is rather unusual and I soon found his service record and details about the MID he was awarded. John (known as Jack) is also mentioned on the AWM website for a collection of 178 letters they hold that were written by Jack. The description says:
A collection of 178 letters of Lieutenant Commander John Joseph Cody written to his parents from between 1933, from the time he was a midshipman in the Royal Navy, to 1953, when he was Commander of HMAS Barcoo. These letters document his training at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, United Kingdom, his service with the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean Fleet and with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). He performed operational hydrographic surveys with the RAN Hydrographic Branch along the coast of New Guinea during 1942-43 when he was Commander of HMAS Polaris. Lt Cdr Cody's descriptive literary style reveals a reflective and dutiful man with an enduring love for his parents, a committed Catholic faith and a love of natural beauty.
I also quickly found Jack's headstone.
These details and information from the electoral rolls led me to determine that Jack didn't marry. So I started looking for any siblings. By linking several names I finally worked out the married name of Jack's sister and the name of her son. That is when the guess work started. I found several people with the same name but only one who was linked to the area of Melbourne where Jack lived. That same name appeared on the website of a charity in a neighboring suburb. Taking a bit of a punt I sent of a message to the charity which was forward to the person I was looking for. Today I received a call from Jack's nephew - my message had found the right person..
Here is the coincidence, Jack's nephew lives about 500m from a friend who I'll be visiting next Sunday. I think it might be worth calling past to drop the medals off.
Thank you to the anonymous donor and the and Kerryn who sent my message to Gerard.The returned medal tally is now 1687.