26 February 2017

Donald Rankine

Bill's latest success.
Regular followers of our blog will by now be used to the variety of stories that we tell and the routes we follow to return medals to families.
The story of SX12221 Staff Sergeant Donald Lloyd Rankine and the return of his medals is one such route. A path that had more right and left turns than a street directory. However, to protect the privacy of those involved much of the research has been omitted.
The background to the medals was their discovery in a box along with other sets of medals that the now deceased owner of the box had been trying to return. “It was his hobby” was the comment I received when I started asking questions, including the three most important. “Do you know how he got them, and from where?” and “….how long has he had them?”
“Er, yes” then “Er, no actually” was the answer. So the search began with three important elements missing. From whom and where had they come from and when.
Unfortunately, War Graves had no details of any family deaths, so it became a protracted search through those South Australian cemeteries that are on line. The link that finally took me to the family graves was Donald’s fathers fore names, George Lourdon.
From cemetery records it appears that Donald died in 1970 and his brother, George in 2000. From follow on research I found that neither had married.
So the search then stepped back a generation to their parents and their siblings. It has not been an easy search, but then again as Glyn will tell you few are. While the Internet has opened up vast fields of information, privacy legislation has closed off the critical part.
To Chris, that picked up the challenge deciding that the medals should not be relegated to a drawer. To Carmen who has accepted the responsibility of caring for Donald’s medals. From one ex-service man on behalf of another ex-serviceman. Thank you.

The returned medal tally is now 2022.

More assistance to the Victorian Police Force

One of the difficulties that medal collectors face when researching British issued WWII medals is that they were not named. That makes attributing a group to an individual almost impossible. When we receive groups like this it is impossible to determine the veteran or their family. Following WWII the British went back to the practice of naming medal so every now and then we get a lucky break and a British WWII medal group will have a later issued medal named medal. That is how Bill managed to solve this case of a group of five WWII RAF medals. Unfortunately, due to the circumstance we can’t provide many details.

Alex’s medals are home.
Under normal circumstance Alex’s medals, stolen from his sister’s home along with their presentation case, where they held pride of place along with other mementos, would have presented an impossible task. But it was Alex’s service after WW2, when the British defence forces had gone back to inscribing their medals that gave us the lead, as unlike his WW2 medals, they were inscribed with his name and Service Number.
At the request of the Victoria Police I will not detail the steps taken to find Alex’s family. At the further at the request of his sister the custodian of the medals, we have refrained from including, the usual photograph/s that often accompanies our stories.
But to Jackie of the Victoria Police, whose perseverance brought us into the case, thank you and well done.

The returned medal tally is now 2017.

Ken Astill

The Australian Defence Medal awarded to NX109343 Kenneth Stanley Astill came to me from Ted Ayres who has sent me several medals over the years.
Ken served in an Anti Aircraft Battery during WWII and then had a long career in the New South Wales Police Force. I came across this article about Ken and other retired Police Officers receiving the National Police Service Medal.
Ken died in 2016 and through information about his funeral I was able to make contact with his daughter Julie. I'll send Julie her father's medal in the near future and thanks to Ted for his role in returning this medal.
The returned medal tally is now 2012.

12 February 2017

Walter Kirby

Bill and I have great relationships with the Police forces around Australia. This return was initiated when I received a message from Leading Senior Constable Dale Annesley (VICPOL). Dale told me the following story:

'This medal was found at the Forest Hill Shopping Centre and handed in in 2012. I have an interest in medals so conducted enquires to try and locate the owner. The medal was issued to Walter Edward Kirby dob:28/07/1903 QX16807, served with 3rd reserve motor transport company, was a prisoner of war Java, interned in Thailand. Was born in Gympie, enlisted in Toowoomba nok: Ivy Kirby, died August 1978.'

A quick check of the WWII nominal roll confirmed all the details so I moved to the Queensland BDM and found the names of all of Walter's siblings. From there I moved on to the electoral rolls. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Walter and his wife Ivy had any children. I did located the name of a nephew who is also listed in the White Pages. I passed all this to Dale who has also kindly provided a newspaper article about this medal.
The returned medal tally is now 2011. 
PS, don't tell Bill that this took me about 4 minutes to resolve. 

Alfred and Samuel Morey

Some stories are really complicated to tell due to family complexities, the passages of time or side stories that just seem to over take the medal and the soldier.
In this case it is probably better to start with what I know and then introduce a tangent.
I was recently sent a Queen's South Africa Medal awarded to 573 Troop Alfred Charles Morey who served with the Victorian Bushman. I also received the 1914-15 and British War Medal awarded to 3025 Samuel George Morey, 1 Divisional Ammunition Column, AIF. These came to me from Adrian F of South Coogee.
Unraveling the connection between Alfred and Samuel was a little confusing but I eventually confirmed they were brothers. All this research also led me to James Mathew Morey but more about him later.
A letter that Alfred sent to his mother from South Africa was published in the papers and makes for interesting reading. A copy of this letter is below. In the letter Alfred mentions his wife but I could not find any evidence that they had children.
Samuel was a different story. He was the father of many children, several of who served in WWI:
665 Gunner Percival Henry Morey.
91 SGT Walter Henry Morey who was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal.
11777 Gunner William Ormsby Morey who was Mentioned in Dispatches.
It was through Percival's line that I have been able to contact the current generation. Percival and his wife Olga had a number of children. Their eldest son was Dennis and it is his family who I'll send the medals to. Here are the pictures of Alfred and Samuel's medal and Alfred's letter. James' story is further down the page.
The returned medal tally is now 2010.

Now back to Alfred and Samuel's brother, James. 568 Trooper James Matthew also served in the Victorian Bushman. He was a police constable in Victoria but it is the story of James and the regimental mascot, 'Bushie', which really makes for interesting reading.