29 October 2018
We receive requests for assistance from many directions. This particular search request came from the Yeppoon RSL. Kay, the Sub-Branch secretary, had received a set of medals which had been stolen then recovered with some other medals.
The solider in question was SX3447 William Archibald Kearns who was born in 1916 and died in 1952. His NOK was listed as Rachel Kellaway which threw me for a bit but after a lot of head scratching I worked out that William was the son of Richard Kearns and Rachel Anne Bell. After Richard died, Rachel remarried John Kellaway. What I also found was that 28087 Richard Hugh Bell Kearns also listed his NOK as Rachel Kellaway.
The electoral rolls gave me the name of Richard Hugh Bell Kearns' wife which led me to her death notice. From this I had the names of two daughters, a son and daughter in law. Then I had to start taking a few educated guesses. The son/daughter in law name combination had one entry in the electoral roll. To my surprise the address, from 1980, was here in Canberra. I had no confirmation that I was correct but I found the daughter in law's name on the list of volunteer guides at the Australian War Memorial. What I couldn't find was a current listing of this couple in the White Pages. However, the secretary of my former RSL Sub-Branch manages the volunteers at the AWM so I put in a call to him and he kindly connected me with who I was looking for.
I still had no proof that I was right but when I rang and laid out what I knew it turned out to be the correct family.
The last piece of this puzzle has been to connect William's nephew with Kay in Yeppoon so that the medals can be returned in the near future.
The returned medal tally is now 2278.