More good work from Bill.
Opportunity shops have always played a big part in medals getting lost. Medals that are often left in coats or boxes that once would have been consigned to the local tip. Such was the case of the medals of Pilot Officer Robert Mark Tovey. Discovered in a donation of clothes that had been left at an opportunity shop, Jeff and his wife Karla reached out to me asking for help to return the medals. Their problem and what became mine, was that they did not know who had dropped of the clothing.
One problem I soon discovered was that War Graves had no record of Robert's death. This is something that both Glyn and I find becoming more common these days.
Jeff and Karla work as volunteers at the ‘Vinnies’ store in Mt Gambier so that became my starting point which led me to Robert’s grave in Mount Gambier. However Robert’s date of death, 12th November 1996, presented its own problem. Records have a habit of, over time, and particularity when funeral directors merge, of getting lost.
However, with the help of the Electoral Rolls, newspapers and a bit of luck, namely guesswork born of experience, I eventually found myself talking to Charles, Robert’s son in law.
At the time neither he nor his wife Sophie had realised that when they had a clear out of old clothes, her father’s medals had somehow been included in the box that was sent to ‘St.Vincents’.
At this point the medals are now back ‘home’ and Jeff and Karla are rightly pleased that they have been able to return them.
The returned medal tally is now 1693.