28 September 2021

Will Pryor

I never fail to be surprised at the surprises these searches throw up. 

On the surface, when I first received this Australian Service Medal 1939-1945 it appeared to be quite straight forward. It was awarded to F5720 Arthur Edward Pryor, RAN. Arthur enlisted quite late in WWII, on 1 May 1945. His home port being Fremantle which is indicated by the F in his service number. Arthur gave his date of birth as 27 March 1927. Making him 18 when he enlisted. This didn't quite align with the date of birth I found for Arthur in the WA BDMs. The official record gives his year of birth as 1929 which made him 16 when he enlisted.

Arthur and his mother Annie, were easy to follow through the electoral rolls and a number of court case which were reported in the newspapers. Arthur and Annie left WA in 1948 and moved to Melbourne. The electoral rolls state that Arthur was a radio producer and scriptwriter. In the 1950's they moved to Sydney. Annie died in 1977 and that is the last record I could find of this family.

Annie is included on the Ancestry family of Jane who was able to fill in some blanks. Arthur's father was Thomas Herbert Pryor. Before WWII he separated from Annie and married a second time. He also changed the spelling of his name to Prior. Once I had this information I found Thomas' WWII RAAF service record

The next piece of information that Jane provided was that Arthur went by the name Will. Then came the next surprise. Will was a writer on the TV series Skippy. 

This medal appears to be a late issue. The naming style is not the same as those medals issued in the 1950s. The number is after the name, it is engraved rather than impressed and the engraving looks to have a shadow effect. 

Will's medal was sent to me by the Directorate of Honours and Awards and I'll send it to Jane to be the family custodian of this medal. The returned medal tally is now 2668.


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