The search was a reasonably complicated one which pivoted on one simple constant fact that I could follow through the both UK and Australian records.
6452 Ernest James Davies was a 33 year old single draper when he enlisted in 21st Battalion, AIF in 1916. Ernest saw service in France but he suffered from the conditions he encountered in the trenches.
Ernest was born in 1883 in Aberdare, Wales to James and Ann Davies. His parents names were in his service record so he was easy to find in the UK census records. He was one of 10 children. The problem I faced was working out which of the many men by this name was the right person living in Australia. This led me back to that one constant: Ernest was a draper.
I located the correct immigration record and found that Ernest, at the age of 30 in 1913, left the UK aboard the Orient Line ship "Otranto" for Melbourne. This helped me to narrow down the possible options in the Australian electoral rolls until I isolated the correct man based on his employment - a draper. Also at the same address was Gladys Davies who turned out to be Gladys Annie Ester Price who Ernest married in 1925 aged 42. There is no evidence that they had children so I had to go back and research Ernest's nine siblings.
One sister, Lena, married
Arthur Jenkins and their son was Thomas James Jenkins. Thomas' daughter
is Linda who married Neil Pxxxx. Their daughter is Sarah who I found is doctor in the UK. My only contact option was to call Sarah's practice, request their email address and hope an email would get through to her.I got far more in return than I could hope for. Sarah forwarded my email to Linda who has contacted me with some additional information which has filled in a few blanks that I had about the Davies/Jenkins connections. Linda is Ernest's great niece and I'll soon end the medal to her in the UK.
This search has been going on since June 2015 when I received Ernest's BWM from Max Howard of the Toodyay RSL. How the medal ended up in rural WA is a mystery I don't think will every be explained.
This might just be a simple medal but for Bill and me, as well as all those associated with Lost Medals Australia over the years, it marks a significant milestone as this is the 2000th medal that we have returned.