24 April 2018

Jack Ghilks

This search took me back and forth to Great Britain on several occasions.
It started with an email from Chris S who had a WWII group awarded to NX65631 John Henry Ghilks. With such an usual surname I thought finding a relative would be straight forward. That is where I went wrong.
I came upon the odd reference to Ghilks but other than the basic information he was a bit elusive. This article from 1942 is one example.

His headstone caused a bit more confusion until I established that Alice was his second wife and finally the Australian end of the search was finished. Ghilks went by the name Jack. He was an auctioneer and antique collector. He emigrated to Australia in the early 1930s then moved from Leeton to Bathurst and finally the Gold Coast where he died in 1983.
Along the way he purchased and restored the 19th century Bathurst mansion 'Woolstone'. Unfortunately, Jack didn't have any children for me to trace down so I went looking for his siblings. The search was then redirect to England where I found a person by the name Ghilks living in the same small village that Jack was from. While a link existed I was redirected down another path and eventually contacted Jim B whose wife is related to the Ghilks family. Jim kindly put me in in touch with Andrew who is Jack's great nephew. Andrew emigrated to Australia in 1974 so the search has come full circle.
The returned medal tally is now 2216.

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