28 June 2016

Reginald James Robertson

On the scale of research difficulty, this has been one of the hardest. I received the WWI Victory Medal awarded to 1151 PTE Reginald James Robertson in 2004. The information available then wasn't that great so I've revisited this case on several occasions over the years. These fresh looks threw up a little bit more each time but also raised more questions than I could answer.
What I found out was that Robertson was born in New Zealand. His service record showed that his wife was deceased and his NOK was his son Eric. Eric had even signed for his medals as Robertson was deceased by the 1920s. Also in the service record was a letter from Robertson's son; R J Santon. Reginald James Santon died in 1929 so I followed Eric's trail through the electoral roll until his death in 1978. Eric also served in WWII. That is when I ran out of clues.
Recently, Anne has had a look at this case and found the one piece of information that bought everything together; she found the name of Eric's son.
What we know now is that Robertson died in 1917. The story of his death is below. Eric was 7 when this happened. Santon died accidentally in 1929. The Coroner's verdict was reported in the paper and this is also included below. 
Once Anne worked out the identity of Eric's son she was able to narrow down his location using the White Pages. I spoke to him this evening and while much of this information is new to him the end result is that Robertson's Victory Medal will soon be back with his family.
The returned medal tally is now 1844.
This studio photo may be of Robertson. The caption reads:
Studio portrait of either: 1151A Private (Pte) Reginald James Robertson, 24th Battalion, of North Gisbourn, New Zealand. Pte Robertson enlisted on 15 April 1915 and embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Euripides on 8 May 1915. He returned to Australia on 5 July 1916; or 590 Pte Robert John Robertson, 24th Battalion, of East Prahran, Vic. Pte Robertson enlisted on 13 March 1915 and embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Euripides on 8 May 1915. He returned to Australia on 26 August 1916.
Photo credit: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/DA08714/

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