30 November 2018

Athole Rogers

Some searches oscillate between having easy periods then really difficult sections. The search for Athole Eric Rogers is typical of an easy - difficult story.
The search commenced with an email from LH who had two WWII medals and other family items belonging to RAAF member Athole Eric Rogers. I started the search about 12 months ago but it wasn't until I recently received all items from Linda did I appreciate the extent of the family history collection that Athole left. With the medals came Athole's birth certificate, his discharge documentation, numerous letters and family photos. All this was is a tin to keep them secure.
Athole was easy to find thanks to this entry from a PNG expat site:

Athole Eric ROGERS (24 December 1990, aged 68)
Athole went to PNG in 1948 to work for Wyatt's Store, then in the early 50s he joined Burns Philp and worked for them as Merchandise Manager until 1979 when he retired to Tasmania. He was one of BP's most popular managers and a great asset to the Company. He will be fondly remembered by many ex-residents of PNG. No further information available.

Then things got difficult. I knew that Athole retired in Tasmania, however, the state records aren't available publicly so the search ground to a halt. Persistence paid off and through an Ancestry tree I've been in touch with a niece of Athole's and will return this collection to her safekeeping.
The returned medal tally is now 2287.

29 November 2018

Contemporary RAAF medals

I'm going to keep this story short as there is not much to tell. This week I received the National Medal, Defence Force Service Medal and Australian Defence Medal from David B. These three medals were awarded to Allan, a retired Flight Sergeant who served in the RAAF.
I didn't have much difficulty locating Allan in the electoral rolls but after 1980 there was nothing. I resorted to seeking help from a RAAF Face Book group and the Defence Military History forum. I got a couple of clues which narrowed down the search area but nothing definitive. Then Paul O came through with an address, a land line number and a mobile number. It was the mobile number that has remained constant for Allan. I have just spoken to Allen and will be sending his medals back to him soon.
The returned medal tally is now 2285.

12 November 2018

Thomas Biddle

The Grafton Box is really throwing up so interesting medals.
This is the second medal sent from the Grafton RSL awarded for Boer War service. The first was a Queen's South Africa Medal awarded to Trooper Tom Barnes of the Australian Horse. This Queen's South Africa Medal, with five clasps, was awarded to 353 Trooper Thomas John Biddle, New South Wales Mounted Rifles.
The NSW BDM and the electoral rolls gave me all the basic information: Thomas was born in 1875, he was married to Ethol McIntosh and died on 3 Feb 1957. Then I discovered a gold mine of information when I found Thomas' obituary on Trove. What this told me was that Thomas was a police officer who was posted to numerous stations around NSW. More importantly it gave me the names of Thomas' children. One daughter was Myraa (Mrs A Snow) of Mullumbimby NSW. The electoral rolls, which aren't available online after 1980, provided just one entry which gave me a clue to the next generation and this was the name of Myraa's son. This was Peter Snow and once again it was only one entry on the internet that confirmed for me was that Peter also lived in Mullumbimby. Even though Myraa died in 2004 there is still an entry in the White Pages for her. I took a punt and called the number to find that Peter is at the same address. Peter recognised his grandfather's name as soon as I mentioned it so all my assumptions proved to be correct.
The returned medal tally is now 2282.

11 November 2018

Eric Fry MM

One of the surprises that I found in the Grafton Box was a Military Medal awarded to SJT Eric Rosewarne Fry. I thought that with that name the search would be on the easy side; how wrong was I?
Eric's WWI British medal card threw up all sort of complications. Firstly, Eric was a Sapper in the Divisional Engineers, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. His number was originally 149 but later changed to 207416. At some point Eric was reallocated to the Royal Engineers and awarded the Military Medal. I couldn't find the award citation or the date of the action but the London Gazette date is 22 Feb18.
Later in 1918 Eric was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Reserve Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. The medal card indicates that Eric was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Then the search got difficult.
Eric was 24 when the war ended and at some point he married May Dickerson Foster. Eric died on 12 May 1957.
May remarried, this time to a US citizen, Carroll Milan. After that there was a gap of about 40 years in the records until, very much to my surprise, I discovered that May died in Sydney on 15 Oct 98. At least that explained how Eric's MM turned up in Australia.
My search then focused on Eric's brother Donald Bernard Fry. Though a tree I found on Ancestry I've been able to have a messaged passed to one of Donald's daughters and I'll soon send Eric's MM back to the UK. Nigel D from Chatham, Kent has been very helpful in this search and will also be the go between to return the medal.
The returned medal tally is now 2281

Angus Eades

Tracking down W43885 Angus Eades proved to be a little difficult. I was confused at the start of this search as to why a man in his early 20s didn't enlist until 1942, had a 'W' rather than 'WX' number and was in the Labour Corps. With no other evidence, all I could think of was that Angus was in a protected occupation and his skills were required for the national effort at some point.  
Angus did marry but I had to trace down a relative through his wife's family. I was hopeful that Angus ASM 1939-45 arrived with them prior to Remembrance Day.
Thank you to Bruce R who found the meal and forwarded it to me.
The returned meal tally is now 2280.