30 March 2019

WWII and Korean War medal group

These medals, awarded to Alan Sivell, cover two wars while serving in the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. When I was first contacted about these medals they had just been handed in to an RSL club after being found among items handed in to a charity shop. The RSL then took the medals to the Victorian Police and they were then sent to me
I was a bit confused at first when I couldn't find a RAN WWII record for this sailor but did find the post WWII service record for CPO Alan Sivell. The record states that Alan commenced service in the RAN in 1951. I made the assumption that the WWII medals were earned in the RN. This proved correct when I received the medals and noted that the WWII medals were not named and there was no Australian Service Medals 1939-45. Alan discharged in 1966.
Through Face Book I was able to get in contact with Alan's grandson and then Alan's son. The family now live in New Zealand and I'll get these medals back to them prior to Anzac Day.
Thank you to the finder of these medals and my Victoria Police contact Dionne.
The returned medal tally is now 2335.

16 March 2019

John Formby

These two medals and Returned From Active Service Badge came to me via Noel of Defence Archives after they had been sent in by a member of the public. The medals arrived in the post yesterday and even though I have a result with in 18 hours, the search was quite difficult.
The medals are the United Nations Korea Medal and General Service Medal 1918-1962 with Malaya clasp awarded to 5/2569 J E Formby. The first problem I encountered was was that Formby doesn't appear on the DVA Korean War nominal roll. This is not the first time I've come across a missing entry on this particular roll. What is did mean was that I had to find his full name through another source. Ancestry provided the answer after a lengthy search: I was looking for John Ernest Formby. The only usable information was two electoral roll entries in the 1960s for John giving his occupation as 'soldier', his residential address in a Canberra hostel and his date of death which occurred in Melbourne.
What his hostel address suggested to me was that John was single. Indeed, by the end of this search I found no evidence that he had ever married. Using the date of death from Ancestry I found where John was buried using the Victorian Cemeteries data base. To my pleasant surprise his date of birth was also listed. This proved to be a difficult next step in the search and after some frustration I turned to Trove and by narrowing the date search parameters to John's the year and month of birth, I found his birth notice.
From this notice, I learnt that John was the son of Mr and Mrs E Formby. Back to Ancestry and it took an hour narrowing down John's parents to Ernest James and Ethel Formby. There was a couple of electoral roll entries for different address in Victoria but the trail then ran cold.
The only reference I could then find was Ernest's death notice from 1949 which included the names of John and his two sisters, Doris and Ivy. By this time the entire family was living in WA.
What was becoming apparent with this search was that there was only one clue to take me to the next step. Usually there are multiple pieces of evidence which helps to corroborate what I've found or provides something extra to work with.
Each of John's sisters proved difficult to follow through the records as Doris married twice and Ivy married a man who was divorced.
Doris' first marriage was to Allan Scahill, a WAFL footballer in the 1930s and was awarded an OBE in 1979 for services to sport. WA electoral roll entries for Doris and Allan included their son and daughter, Patricia. Luckily, Scahill is a fairly uncommon name in WA so I used the WA reverse marriage site to narrow down the possibilities of who the daughter might have married. Allan's second wife was also named Patricia which confused me for a bit but once I worked out who Patricia (the daughter) married thing became clearer.
Patricia and her husband lived in Bunbury for many years and a check of the White Pages provided a possible contact in the same area. Taking a punt I rang the number today and sure enough I had found who I was looking for.
Patricia was able to confirm all the family connections but didn't know anything about John from after the late 1940s. At about the age of 18, John just disappeared and was never heard of again by his family. Patrica and I surmised that John joined the Army at about that time which also lined up nicely for service in Korea.
What I also found during this research was that Doris' second husband, Patricia's stepfather, was Gordon Winslade. This name rung a bell with me and I recalled my grandmother and her circle of friends using it in the 1970s. I mentioned it to my mother today and she confirmed that Gordon Winslade was a real estate agent in WA and this was the context that I would have heard him being spoken about.
It was really nice talking to Patrica and being able to fill in the blanks about John.
The returned medal tally is now 2321.

04 March 2019

Robert Glover

This group of five WWII medals awarded to NX139222 Robert John Glover have had an interesting journey over the last few years. Although, a complete history of where they have been will probably never be known.
I received the medals recently from Ivan of the NSW RSL state office, prior to that they had spent some time in a RSL sub-branch in the Northern Beaches of Sydney having been found on a school oval in the same area.
Thanks to information in this parent's death notices, that were available on line, it was easy to work out that Robert was an only child. Robert died in 1966 having never married.
The next phase of the search was quite difficult and involved going back in the Glover family history to work out who Robert's uncles and aunties were. I hit a few dead ends with a couple other family members until I looked at Robert's auntie; Ivy Grace Glover. Ivy had married Norman Micklem Morley which was the break I needed as this distinctive middle name was used in the next generation. Even after she married, Grace Micklem Morley was easy to follow through the electoral rolls thanks to her name. This branch of the family live in Victoria and it is Grace's son Graeme who I've been in touch with. Graeme tells me that Robert was known as Uncle Bob and I'll send the medal to him in the near future.
The returned medal tally is now 2318.

02 March 2019

Ernest Davies - Part Two

This is a first for me.
When I return a broken group of medals, for example one medal out of a WWI trio, I'm often asked where the missing medals might be. That is a really hard question to answer. Individual medals from a group might have been given to separate children or sold off during the Depression. One reason that the British War Medal is often missing is that it has a high silver content and as the price of silver has increased the medal has been melted down. What is a first for me is that I've been contacted to reunite a BWM with a broken group that I've previously returned.
The original story is from 2013 when I returned the 1914-15 Star and Victory Medal awarded to Ernest David Davies also known as David Ernest Davies. My communication with Ernest's grandson, Keith was really exciting and I was even provided a photo of Ernest's son with the medals.
I had thought that this story was over until yesterday when I received an email from Judith S who had found in her recently deceased father's possessions, Ernest's BWM and two boxing medallions. Judith had done a search of Ernest's name and came across my website entry from 2013 which listed his medals that I was looking to return.
This is the first reunite I've been involved with that completes a set of medals that I had previously returned. It really is quite exciting. Well done to Judith for going to the effort to find out who Ernest's was and taking the next step of returning these items to the Davies family.
The returned medal tally is now 2313.