30 August 2018
Bill's persistence really paid off with this return.
It is nearly ten years since ‘Robert’ bought a set of WW1 medals impressed to 1423 PTE Private George Chioman, RWR. The source was a deceased estate auction in Victor Harbour, South Australia.
From his research Robert believed the medals may have come to Victor Harbour via Queensland. In the end he posted an advert in the ‘Found Medals’ Section of ‘Vetaffairs', the magazine published by the Department of Veteran Affairs. It was there that I saw his request for help. This is where my part of the story begins.
While the 1423 regimental number was compatible with the Australian numbering scheme used during the First World War, it was the RWR that directed me to the United Kingdom. This led me to find the medal card of Private George Chipman, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
With the aid of Jenn from the Australian Genealogical Surname Group, we were able to track forward to George’s grandson, Stephen, who still lives in England. .
George Chipman, who died in England in 1961, had an eventful war. He was taken prisoner in 1917, and saw out the last years of the war as a POW in Munster, Weestfalen, Germany. To say that Stephen was astounded to get a call from Australia, is putting it mildly.
As to how George’s medals got to Australia, that is another story.
It is an amazing co-incidence that, as we were contacting Stephen, he received another email from a lady who had come into possession of a POW post card, that George had written to his brother, Albert along with a photo that she believed to be George. Out of respect to George’s family we have refrained from posting the photo. However, the post card is in itself a snapshot of history.
Perhaps I should close with the email that Robert sent to Stephen. It says it all:
My name is Robert xxxx I live in a town called Victor Harbor, a coastal town 80k South of Adelaide, South Australia.
About 10 years ago I purchased a set of WW1 medals at a deceased estate in Victor Harbor.
There is a slight possibility these Medals may have found their way down from Queensland (Aust).
I tried on many occasions to find a relative to hand over the Medals, but had no luck searching Aust Archives.
I posted a “found Medals ad”, in a paper published by Aust Veteran Affairs.
I was soon contacted by a Military history/research group who were prepared to take up the search on my behalf.
They had access to records world wide, and soon came up with a “hit”.
The rest is, as they say, history.
Whilst this search was going on I was contacted by another WW1 Veteran’s family who said, the Service number is the same as our Grand Fathers!
It seems the British and Aust Government used the same numbering system during WW1, hence the duplication of numbers.
I am a Vietnam Veteran, my Father a WW2 Veteran and my Grand Father a WW1 Veteran.
My, and my families Medals are very precious to me.
So, would you like me to post the Medals to you, it would be my pleasure.
Their was a huge amount of time and effort put into tracking the rightful owners, we both owe the “team” A HUGE THANKS AND WELL DONE!
The returned medal tally is now 2245.