06 February 2021

William Watkin

When I first received information about this medal from Ivan of the NSW RSL I was confused by the naming: J.85452 (DEV.B.10850) W. WATKIN. SIG. RFR. I hadn't seen the medal at this point and even though I suspected that the 'J' at the beginning of the service number meant Royal Navy, the inclusion of RFR made me wonder if this was a Royal Fusiliers medal. 

Ancestry gave me no clues but the UK National Archives confirmed that W Watkin was William Watkin who served in both WWI and WWII in the Royal Fleet Reserve. Now RFR made sense. Knowing the full name opened the flood gates of information. William was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire in 1901. He married Ida Etchells and died, also in Sheffield, in 1992. William and Ida has two sons: John 'Jack' Watkin and William 'Bill' Watkin.  

In 1948 Bill emigrated to Australia. On the ship he met Bridget Gannon and they married in 1949. Bill worked as a bricklayer and lived in Mt Pleasant, Western Australia. The 1977 electoral roll gave me the name of Bill and Bridget's daughter. Bill died in Fremantle as did Bridget, however, I was surprised to see that Bridget was cremated in North Ryde, NSW. That might have explained how the medal was found in Redfern by the NSW Police. 

When the medal arrived I recogised it as the Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. The ribbon, as seen in the pictures, represents the Royal Fleet Reserve. 

Once I had all the information I found a Watkin family tree on Ancestry. The tree owner kindly provided me with Bill's daughter's contact details. Now all that remains to to send William Watkin's medal to his granddaughter.

Thanks to Ivan for sending me the medal and John W for his assistance in this search. The returned medal tally is now 2596.

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