16 February 2019

John Speers

After the last return took almost a decade, at 18 hours this one is remarkable quick. The Victory Medal awarded to 3041 Acting Lance Corporal John William Stanley Speers, 30th Battalion AIF, was sent to me by Patricia F from Sydney. Patricia found the medal in the effects of her late father. How it came in to his possession is unknown but understanding more about John's (know as Jack) life it wouldn't surprise me if he sold his medals during the Depression.
After Patricia first contacted me I did some initial research based on information in his service record. When the medal arrived yesterday Patrica included some research she had done and this confirmed what I had found.
On Trove there are multiple articles about arrest warrants being issued for Jack having failed to support his wife and their subsequent divorce in 1913. The divorce story mentions 'children' which were his daughters. His service record states that Jack was a widower which I'm not sure is completely accurate, it also names his daughter Beryl as his NOK. Jack died in 1938.
Beryl married Percy Medway in 1926. They live on Percy's family grazing property near Gunning and had a daughter, Shirley.
Shirley married Bruce Mould and they lived in Cowra. Having found Bruce's death notice from 2017 it was easy to locate his son Peter. I called Peter yesterday evening and left a message which he responded to today.
I read in Jack's service record that he received a gun shot wound to the face and was later deemed to old for active service. The pre-war court reports of 'habitual drunkenness' combined with effects of his service must have made for a difficult life.
Jack's brother Alfred had served in the Boer War as part of the second Western Australian contingent. I found several stories about him, mostly negative ones which were post war but the story below is a little more interesting that most of the others.
How the medal eventually found its way in to the possession of Patricia's father will likely never been known but it will soon be returned.
The returned medal tally is now 2310.


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