This is a little hard to explain but here goes.
Last Tuesday I received a parcel from the Directorate of Honours and Awards. The parcel contained three separate groups of medals and numerous other items. Initially these had all come from the Victorian Police who wanted to see them returned to the rightful owner.
The first WWII group was awarded to QX62854 Harry Francis Smith. The second WWII group was named to Q266459 Edward Claude Holmes. What immediately struck me about this pair is that they are lazer engraved which means they were only issued in the last 10 years or so. The final group was contemporary and named to S C Holmes. There was one connection with the same surname but was Smith also related?
It took about 5 solid hours on Wednesday night to untangle the family connection. What I worked out was that Harry and Edward were related by marriage. I could follow the Holmes family through the electoral rolls and the first big break came when I found Stephen Charles Holmes listed, in 1980, as a solider serving with 6 RAR. Then the trail went cold.
I took some tricky research on Thursday to workout that Stephen later became a Padre and did some service with the RAAF. I then tracked him down to a parish in Victoria only to be told he had moved on in 2013. However, I was given the name of another church in Melbourne to which I sent an email and then the waiting started.
This evening Padre Stephen rang me. My message had got through. Stephen tells me that he thinks the medals might have been thrown out accidentally and that he did spend some time searching for them. I'll be sending all this back to him soon along with the WWI whistle that Stephen tells me was used in the trenches.
Thanks to the Leading Senior Constable Penelope D from the Victorian Police, Shane D from Honours and Awards and my mate Roland for his assistance. This search ended up taking just three days to complete which I'm pretty happy about.
The returned medal tally is now 1734.