18 February 2016

Another international return

These medals are well traveled and are about to head overseas again. The WWI trio awarded to L-13790 Phillip John Pratley and WWII medals awarded to N465580 Joseph Pratley were sent to me from Rita of the Australian High Commission in London. The medals had been handed in based on the WWII medals having been awarded to an Australian solider.
It was easy to work out who Joseph was and that Phillip served in the Royal Fusiliers. Everything after that was a lot more difficult.
Joseph was the son of Charles and Mary Pratley who lived in Goulburn, NSW. After enlisting he served in Bougainville but accidentally drowned. A picture of his head stone is at this link. Mary died in 1944 and Charles in 1950. Working backward I found that they emigrated to Australia in 1922. But who was Phillip?
Eventually it became apparent that Charles was Phillip's brother and as there were no other family in Australia is was reasonable to assume that Joseph's medals were sent to the family back in England. After several months of wading through the UK census, birth and marriage records I determined the names of Phillip's wife, his daughters and their husbands. All the clues pointed to this family living in Plymouth. I ran in to a bit of a brick wall and thought the best strategy to locate the current generation was by putting a letter to the editor in the local paper. This was turned in to an article which was published online at this link. Not long after publication I received an email from Phillip's grandson. I'll send the medals to him shortly.
Thanks to Rita at the High Comm and Neil at the Plymouth Herald.
The returned medal tally is now 1777.

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