18 September 2019
Henry Appleby's lost medal group
Fantastic research by Bill.
The search for VX110755 Private Henry Appleby has been truly a search for a man who never was.
It started with a phone call from David Keall, the former President of the Victorian TPI, he had been given a set of medals to see if he could find the ‘owner’.
He had tried but hit brick walls, which we know all about. After a quiet Saturday together looking at what he had and what I could find on line, we both came to the conclusion that Henry was the ‘man who never was’. This was later confirmed when it was discovered that he does not appear on the WW2 Nominal Roll. The Service numbers prior to and after Henry appear but not Henry's.
From War Graves I got his date of death; 31st May 1988, which confirmed that he did exist, only he was missing from the list, why? That is being looked at.
Then it was back to the search roundabout. From the State Library I obtained his funeral details, where he was buried and his wife’s name.
Based on the time since Henry died, I took the well-worn path of looking at other people named Appleby buried in the same cemetery. Then it was to the on-line newspapers looking for what may have been written firstly about Henry and secondly all other Applebys appearing on line.
It was the entry for his wife, Maisie that referred to Henry and their children which finally took me to the Funeral Directors who had conducted her funeral.
Then it was a wait of less than an hour and Henry and Maisie’s daughter Lisa rung me.
From our conversation a gem stood out. Henry medals were stolen in 1983.
So where had the medals been? From the condition of the ribbons and the medals, they appear to have had a hard life. As for the medal’s future, Lisa has already put in train plans to have the medals cleaned and re-ribboned. They will ultimately be passed to Henry’s grandson.
In the future I hope to be able to provide a photo of the refurbished medals. And as for the Nominal Roll well, that is now being corrected.
The returned medal tally is now 2399.