27 March 2015

John Peach

Another medal that I received recently from the WA RSL was the Defence Medal awarded to WX2112 John Henry Peach. I found John on an Ancestry family tree and a message was soon dispatched. The tree is owned by Diane who forwarded my message to David who is John's grandson. We have now been in contact and I'll dispatch the medal in the near future.
The returned medal tally is now1644.

25 March 2015

Neil Anderson - a story of coincidences

This story has far to many coincidences.
After the publication of the Brook story in the Canberra Times I was contacted by Dr Laurence Anderson. He had found a collection of items under a house which included three WWII medals, letters, address books and even old bank passbooks. The medals were in their original box and addressed to Neil Anderson. I had to look twice to confirm that despite their surnames being the same there was on other connection between Laurence and Neil. That was the first coincidence.
The information that Laurence provided from the the documents he found showed that Neil was a British soldier who served in the Royal Engineers. A search of Ancestry confirmed that a Neil Macarthur Anderson lived at the address that the medal were found at. I also found that he died in 1973. From the 1977 electoral roll I worked out that the name of one of Neil's daughter's is Janet Macarthur Anderson. There was no sign of this name in the 1980 electoral roll but with such an unusual first and second name combination I soon found Janet's married name. This led me to a phone number in northern NSW.
At the same time, I arranged to collect the medals from Laurence whose practice is directly opposite my office. Coincidence number 2. I wandered across the road today and met Laurence. The next coincidence is that Laurence has an interest in military history and has combined this with his hobby of film making. He recently made a short film called The White Feather. The trailer can be seen at this link. Laurence also introduced me to one of his staff who had seen the Canberra Times story and told Laurence about it knowing that he had found the Anderson medals. Yet another coincidence.
This evening I called Janet and explained what Laurence had found. I could really hear the surprise and excitement in her voice when we talked about the discovery. I now know that Neil was at Dunkirk and took part in the D Day landings.
The pictures shows Neil's medals, including a France and Germany Star. As was the custom for British WWII medals, they were issued un-named. However, as they were found in their original box of issue it is very easy to attribute them to this solider.
The returned medal tally is now 1643.

19 March 2015

John Topliss

Bill and I never fail to be amazed at what gets handed in to the the RSL State Branches and then forwarded to us. Long time readers will recall the NSW box and the medals we have received from the Victorian and West Australian RSLs. Yesterday, I received a box from Wendy, my contact at the WA RSL which contained several medals groups.
One of the groups was awarded to F4106 John Alfred Topliss. The number is for a member of the RAN whose home port was Fremantle. From the WA electoral rolls I was able to work out that John Alfred and his wife had a son by the name of John Edward. There are no electoral rolls past 1980 on line so I lost the trail. However, by a frustrating process of elimination I worked out the maiden name of John Edward's wife. This led me to the Brady Family Tree in Western Australia which listed John and his wife so I fired off a message. By this morning I had been connected with John's daughter who has suggested that her brother, also named John, is the best person to receive the medals.
Thank you Daryl and Michelle for your prompt assistance.
The returned medal tally is now 1640.
 It was normal practice that WWII stars awarded to RAN were un-nammed.

Walter Dryburgh

Some returns are just meant to happen.
At 1755 this afternoon I opened an email from Dennis of Melbourne. He asked me to call him so he could explain the full story behind a group of medals he purchased many years ago. Being a former solider and having respect for the man who was awarded these WWI medals, he had them mounted and framed. The medals were awarded to 807 Walter Vincent Dryburgh who served with the 29th and 32nd Battalions, AIF.
While I was talking to Dennis I searched Ancestry and found Walter on several family trees. The owner of one promising looking tree was marked as private but I was able to determine two points. Firstly the owner was Walter's great niece and the tree title was TiffanyDryburgh. A quick search of the internet took me straight to the website of photographic artist Tiffany Dryburgh. This was far to much of a coincidence so I called the contact number and sure enough I had the right person. This was all done by 1813 (sorry Bill). I've now connected Dennis and Tiffany. Dennis has kindly given me permission to post the photo he provided.
The returned medal tally is now 1635.

05 March 2015

Kenric Morrison

Kenric James Ker Morrison enlisted in 1915 and allocated to to 30th Battalion, AIF. He later commissioned and transferred to 57th Battalion, AIF. On 1 October 1918, Kenric was wounded in action and eventually lost his arm.
When Kenric returned to Australia he settled in Hornsby, NSW with his wife Ina and established a poultry farm. The street they lived on is now called Morrison Place. Kenric died in 1955 and didn't have any children.
Kenric's brother was Roland Noel Morrison who was a chaplain. At aged 56 he enlisted for service in WWII. As the padre of the 2/23 Battalion he was at Tobruk and was Mentioned in Dispatches.
I've located Roland's grand son, Ian, also a padre and I'll send him the medal in the near future.
Much thanks go to the Huxley family who I met in Canberra when they gave me the medal.
The returned medal tally is now 1632.

01 March 2015

Father and daughter groups

In the past I've researched father and son groups but I can't remember having returned medals to a father and daughter.
The father is 22036 Gunner John Herbert Brook and the daughter is NF451938 Enid Mary Brook. The medals came to me in a tin that was found by the great team of The Green Shed. Working out who Enid married was reasonable easy as there was a badge in the tin with the name Forbes. Using all the small clues I was able to put it altogether and I've now been in contact with Enid's daughter.
The returned medal tally is now 1631.

More success for Bill

More success for Bill.

The search for the family of Flight Lieutenant B began with a mystery package previously referred to on this blog.
For once the sun seemed to smile on me. I was able to find the grave plaque of our veteran along with that of his wife. These gave me their children's details and I was able to progress from there.
The medal disappeared many years ago while the family was moving. While there is only one of the  medals now back in the family, I advised them to get it mounted so there is less chance of losing it in the future.

The returned medal tally is now 1627.

Charles Nayler

This story from Bill has both a positive and negative aspect.
The search for the family of QX9091 Charles Thomas Nayler started when a former vice president of a Qld RSL was asked to arrange the remounting of a set of medals.
His problem, he explained, was that on checking them he discovered that there was a 'ring in', namely the 1939-1945 ASM, of Nayler. This I believe occurred when the medals were originally mounted by a ‘professional’ medal mounting service many years ago.
As you can imagine this search has involved a lot frustration and dare I say it, angst. To avoid any unnecessary embarrassment to several families that have now or are now becoming involved I have not included any further details. However, I will merely say that several sets of medals are currently being ‘examined’.
This, by the way, is not as rare as it seems. Recently an ex-serviceman was looking for his medals. The medals had been set up in a display case back in 2004. It is only recently he realised that the medals in his display frame are not his. Unfortunately, the shop that mounted the medals went out of business quite some time ago.
To those of you who read this Blog and have medals and are considering having them re-mounted, please remember to check the inscription on the medal when you go to collect them.

The returned medal tally is now1626.

22 February 2015

Thomas Johnson

Just in from Bill:
Thomas Johnson's War Medal arrived in two parts a jiffy bag with a short note, that explained the medal along with others include in the bag were given to an RSL Branch by the family of a collector. They didn't want the medals and felt that the RSL could either put them on display or return them to a next of kin.
Somehow the medal has, over the years, been twisted or abused so that the medal separated from its suspender. However, it is nothing that a competent jeweler cannot fix.
The successful search really owes everything to the team at he Australian Surname Group. At the request of Thomas’s great nice who will receive the medal, many of the details that would normally be posted have been held back, to preserve privacy.

 The returned medal tally is now 1625.

C O Fitzgerald 9th LHR

The search for the family of 615 T/SGT Charles Otho Fitzgerald threw up many unexpected surprises. Charles was the son of Lord Charles Fitzgerald who was in turn a son of the 4th Duke of Leinster. Unsurprisingly, there is quite a bit about this family in the Victorian newspapers from the early 20th century. I've included a few articles below.
Charles was a member of  the 9th Light Horse Regiment. It would appear that he suffered an injury after being kicked by a horse and subsequently transferred to the Anzac Provost Corp. Charles brother George served as a captain in the 5th Battalion.
After the war Charles married Mary Pearl Millicent McIntosh but they didn't have any children. I followed the families of several of Charles' siblings and it was through his sister Mable that I have arrived at the current generation.
Mable married Robert McCracken who also served with the 5th Battalion. Robert was an original Anzac and this story provides some interesting information about his family.
It is Mabel's grandson who I've been in contact with and will return the medal to.
Thanks to Helen M who sent the medal to me.
The returned medal tally is now 1624.


21 February 2015

Wallscourt Steen Kelly

I commenced this search at 1300 today and at 1840 I was speaking to the nephew of the subject of this search. 5 hours and 40 minutes of solid research to get a result. There is a considerable amount of information available about this officer and I'll be including it in the story.
Yesterday, the medals awarded to Wallscourt Steen Kelly arrived in the mail, sent to me by Tony B. Wallscourt enlisted in 1916 and allocated to the 38th Battalion. His experience in the Senior Cadets saw him quickly promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer. Then in 1917 he was commissioned and moved to the 60th Battalion. Later in 1917 Wallscout was wounded in action having received gun shot wounds to his right thigh. He was also mentioned in dispatches. Wallscourt's appointment in the AIF was terminated in February 1918 to take up a commission in the Indian Army. Wallscourt was also a first class cricketer.
The Kelly's were a reasonably prominent family in their district in Victoria and as a result there they were mentioned in the newspapers on many occasions. It was through these stories that I was able to piece together Wallscourt's life and family connections. I've included some below which include pictures of him. He eventually retired from the Indian Army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Wallscourt married late in life to Mina Branigan who served as a nurse during WWI.
The newspaper articles gave me the names of Wallscout's brothers, Rudyard and Hubert. Rudyard served in the RAAF during WW2.
The Kelly's eventually settled in WA and Rudyard lived in Applecross. Using this information I could track Rudyard's children John, David and Delrose. John had a career in the RAAF and a very interesting piece of information came out about him. He was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1952. This award was for saving the lives of several Royal Navy sailors who got in trouble swimming off Cocos Island. I've included an article about this incident as well.
John died in 2012 and on a hunch I searched the West Australian newspaper death notice archives. I got luck and John's death notice was online. To my surprise the notice mentioned Rudyard's other son David and gave his phone number. I was soon talking to David who was able to confirm all that I had found as well as fill in some blanks. He also told me more about John's award.
As well as his WWII pair, Wallscourt was awarded the India General Service Medal with clasps for Waziristan and the North West Frontier.
The returned medal tally is now 1623.

This is Wallscourt's MID.

Wallscourt with fellow officers in 1918

Wallcourt's engagement to Mina

Wallscourt with fellow officers of the Indian Army

Wallscourt's death notice

John Kelly's BEM

19 February 2015

Raymond Spencer Veitch

This search has several twists which I've not encountered before. Let's see if I can explain it easily.
In January I was contacted by Ted from WA about three WW2 medals awarded to N99670 Raymond Spencer Veitch. With the group was a commemorative medallion for the attacks on Darwin in 1942. The first twist was that Ray's grand daughter, Nicole Wright, has posted a 'looking for' add on the NSW RSL website about these medals and how they were lost. Unfortunately, when Ted tried the phone number and email address that Nicole posted they were both inactive. That is when he contacted me.
When the medals arrived I noticed that they were marked with a (D) to indicate that they are an official duplicate set.
All my efforts to find Nicole were unsuccessful so I looked at Ray's siblings in the hope that they would know her. My search led me to Marissa who is Ray's great niece. The next twist is that Marrissa is also a serving solider. As it turned out, today I happened to be visiting another base near where Marissa is posted to. This afternoon I took a slight detour and delivered Ray's medals. The medals are back with the family and Marissa's uncle will do some more research looking for Nicole. I'm also hopeful that one day Nicole will search for Ray's name and come across this post. Then I can connect two branches of this family.
The last twist is that these medals were returned on the 73rd anniversary of the bombing of Darwin.
Thanks to Ted. The returned medal tally is now 1620.  

10 February 2015

Thomas Haworth

Bill's success story of today.

The search for the next of kin of Thomas Eugen Haworth began with a mystery parcel from ANZAC House here in Melbourne. As Elizabeth, the Chief Executive Officer’s Secretary, said “Its rather a mix this time”.
And what a mix:
An Italy Star,
A 1939-1945 War Medal
An Atlantic Star
An Africa Star
Thomas’s Korea medal
A 1970 Commemorative Medal celebrating the visit by Pope Paul the IV to Australia.
And last but by no means least; a USSR medal commemorating the end of WW1 (Yes WW1, the one that finished in 1918)
Plus some other items:
A passport wallet less the passport, but containing a Riggers Handbook, and a 1957 copy of the ‘Rules of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes’
The piece de resistance was an Income Tax Notice of Assessment for 1983.
Who said returning medals wasn’t interesting? Okay different then.
So now to find the family of 5/1617 Thomas Eugene Haworth to return his Korea Medal.
War Graves provided me with his date of death and I found that his wife's name was Madge. Thomas was a West Australian, the 5 in his service number having given that away. That made my next port of call Karrakatta cemetery. There among the records I found Thomas. But no mention of Madge, his wife, so now the chances were I was looking for her.
A quick check of White Pages on the Internet and 5 minutes later I was talking to Madge. The story of the missing medal unfolded. Madge had attended the ANZAC Day service and march at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne some 3 years ago. It was not until later that she  realised that the safety pin that had held her husband’s Korea War Medal had come undone and the medal had dropped off.
So where has the medal been for the last three years? No one knows other that the person who passed the medal in to ANZAC House. 
While I apologise for the photo of Tom’s medal, it was a result of trying to highlight the hole left by the errant safety pin. If you look at the ribbon you can see the large hole left by the ‘unsafe’ safety pin. Those of you who are expecting me to rant about safety pins and their unreliability are going to be disappointed.

The returned medal tally is now 1616.

09 February 2015

The search for James Peake

Bill and I are often asked what our research process is. Some searches are relatively easy as the person we are looking for might appear in an online family tree or easily identifiable through some other source. Other searches are very complex requiring the examination of multiple source documents and no small amount of luck. I thought I would take readers through a very detailed description of this search to give a better idea of some of the effort we go to in order to get a solution.

WX12289 James Elliot Hughes Peake was known as Jim. I found this out when I spoke to his nephew today. I now know that his name change to Jim wasn't the only one he underwent. More about that later.
This is a picture of Jim from his service record.
It is now that some of the confusion and difficulties surrounding the identity of Jim started.
Jim was from Kalgoorlie and I found him easily in the electoral rolls. At the same address lived Jenny Everson Peake. However, in his service record it stated on several occasions that his NOK was Jenny Everett Peake. This is close but other facts didn't line up. I just couldn't conclusively link Jim to another person called Jane (Jenny) Everson Peake who I found quite a bit of detail about.
This is were the investigation got really tricky. Knowing that Jim was from Kalgoorlie I started searching the online Goldfield's newspapers using Trove. I probably used about 30 different search  combinations but came up with some interesting results.
The first was an engagement notice for a William Loneragan, the step-son of Mrs JE Peake. I knew this was the Mrs Peake I was interested in as her address (given in another engagement notice) was the same as one from Jim's service record.
I then returned to the electoral rolls and followed William and Edna through different addresses around WA. William was a radio engineer and worked at several stations including Kalgoorlie and Northam. I also had a look at the family of Edna Lemmon and to my surprise found that her father worked at the telegraph station at Applecross. Members of my family will realise the significance of this but for everyone else, I should explain that this station was very close to my grand parent's house in Alfred Cove, may parent's Applecross home and our family home in Booragoon.
The next clue from Trove was the wedding notice for William and Edna.
Once again, my family will recognise one particular location in this notice.
The next usable piece of information I found was a birth notice announcing a son to William and Edna. What the notice didn't say was what the child's name was. Interestingly, William also served during WWII in the VDC.
All this information really bought me to a dead end. Not having the son's name was the problem. I then started doing some sums. The child was born in 1941. That would mean that he would appear in the electoral rolls from about 1960. I began scrolling the electoral rolls and in 1968 came up with a likely candidate by the name of William Axxxx Loneragan. The WA Reverse Marriage index gave me his wife's name and I then found them in the White Pages. However, there was no conclusive evidence that this person was related to the William Loneragan from Kalgoorlie I was searching for.
There was nothing else to do but ring the number I had found. After explaining the reason for my call I discovered that I was indeed talking to William's son (Jim's nephew) and he was able to fill in a lot of details.
Jenny Peake had three daughter's, William was a foster child and Jim was an adopted son. Jim's name at birth was Thomas Elliot Hughes. All these name changes was what caused me to be so confused. When I spoke to William today he was able to read to me a very touching note that accompanied a photo of Jenny that said that the family was very close.
This piece of research was quite difficult. It took me a month or so to get to a point where I had a lot of different threads but it wasn't until last night that I was able to bring all the threads together. A fair amount of luck came in to play today but in the end a successful result.
Thank you to George O'C for sending me the medal and to Liane for her assistance.
The returned medal tally is now 1615.
One other coincidence in this search is that William lives in the same complex as Gail, Frank and Gloria.

26 January 2015

Leslie Hill

More outstanding research from Bill:
The search for a next of kin for VX93679 Private Leslie James Hill started when I received his 1939-1945 War and Australian Service Medal and the following comment from the donor, Nikki:
“We have tried to find him, but all we know is that there is no one called Hill in our family, extended or not”.
In reply to my enquiry as to their background, all that Nikki could say was that they were amongst a tin of badges, medals and other WW2 memorabilia, that her husband had inherited on the death of his father. 
War Graves, which is often my first port of call, could not help either. They had nothing on Private Hill. I then found myself looking on line at all the cemeteries in and around Melbourne and comparing them to the Victorian deaths records. Through the team at the Australian Surnames Group we finally found our man or at least the Leslie James Hill who best fitted our profile.
It was at this point that one of the Australian Surnames Group team located a family tree on Ancestry. While not an exact copy of our research data it came pretty close.
Now before someone asks why did we not go to Ancestry immediately, the answer was to us quite simple; we can’t accept ‘almost the same’. Dates and ages must align or should I say, should align. Accepting that Leslie died at 49 in 1975, it meant that he must have been born in 1926, not 1925 which his records show. Accordingly, Leslie was only 17 when he enlisted.
As it was, there were other discrepancies between Ancestry, Leslie’s service file and what we had been able to deduce, including that Leslie fiddled his age to enlist. We also discovered that he married but his son died in infancy.
So now our next step, was to look for Leslie’s siblings. While this approach did at times have us going around in circles, it brought us ,after some time to Leslie’s niece, Fay, his sister Dorothy’s daughter.
It was where Part 1 of this story came to an end. Last night I found myself sitting at my computer working on Part 2, writing a letter on Fay’s behalf to Honours and Awards enquiring as to what medals Leslie had been eligible for and also even more importantly what he had been issued.
If it should it appear that Leslie was eligible for more medals watch this space for an update.
PS. Yes I know the ribbon is wrong, this is how I received the medals, but Fay could not have cared less. And me, well I was glad to pass them on.

The returned medal tally is now 1614.

21 January 2015

Edward Power

This is a really great story from Bill.
When I returned the Victory Medal awarded to 3424 PTE D M J McNeil to his granddaughter, Robin, she mentioned that her family also had a medal that they had been trying to return to the recipient’s family. Would I like to take it and see if I could do just that?
So from one successful conclusion a new search started.
The search for the family of 12381 PTE Edward Aloysius Power owes much of it conclusion to the team at the Australian Surname Group.
Following his brother Cyril into the Army, Edward served in both France and Belgium. However in the case of both brothers document sources dried up. While he came from a large family, none of Edward’s brothers married, well we (the team) could find no record of any of them ever marrying. But his sisters did. This in itself was a further frustration, it meant that in one generation all of Edwards possible next of kin had a different surname.
Edward didn’t help matters either deciding at some time in his life he didn’t like the name Aloysius so he changed it to Arthur. Effectively he disappeared for several years as he exited from a series of the Electoral Roll as Aloysius only to re-appear several years later as Arthur.
It was not until ‘Jenn’ picked up on an obscure link that we were able to find the rest of the family. However, with none of the males marrying, it was left for us to look to Edward’s sisters.
One of whom, Tertia, trained with Dame Nellie Melba, embarking on a brilliant worldwide career as a soprano. In fact there is a recording of her on YouTube.
It was through a great piecing together of a long list of somewhat disjointed facts that we were able to finally locate a living descendant. That is not where our story ends. It was to have a second ending, next it was time for the family to discuss the matter and decide who amongst the surviving family should accept it on behalf of the family and hold it in trust for the next generation. It was Joan, daughter of Edward's eldest sister Patricia, who the family selected.. Nearing 90, Joan still has a crystal clear memory of Edward, his brothers, and the whole Power family for that matter.

The returned medal tally is now 1612.

18 January 2015

Bill's Christmas Tale part two

A Christmas Tale – A Work in Progress Part two.
One of the first things I always do when I receive medals is check that they are all to the same person.
In the case of ‘MacNamara’, there was a small problem.
For as Ian the husband of his granddaughter said: “We know it’s Patricia’s grandfather, but the spelling on one medal is wrong, and so is his Service number. Yeh, they have been in one of her father’s old tins for some time, and we have always planned to get them mounted, but”.
And so part two began. It began with a considerable period spent scanning the Australian National Archives.
There are 54 files linked by the name MacNamara  but there are 400 files linked by the name McNamara, but none of them shared his regimental number 1426.
Only 1 file had the correct regimental number (1426) and the same given initials.
So what of the medal with the wrong no (1428). It took some gentle rubbing with a cotton bud and lens cleaning fluid, to remove over 70 years of grime/grease and verdigris, until the Regimental number transformed from 1428 to 1426.
So far so good, I now only had one regimental number to consider but why was the ‘a’ dropped and how come two units were shown?
Well it was back to ‘Mac’s’ file. If the medals were to be mounted together, then the granddaughter had to be sure that the missing ‘a’ had been an human error, she could accept no less.
It was the third and a much slower read through that brought the missing ‘a’ to light.
When Mac had been repatriated to Australia in June 1916, it had been Army policy to type out the service file in its entirety, this was done to ensure that all the facts were present in the members file, and that regardless of the wear and tear a service file had been exposed to, none of the actual history had been lost.
For whoever typed the file dropped the ‘a’ from MacNamara, and from then on ‘Mac’ was ‘Mc’ to the Army. However, complicating the fact was that Mac’s medals were all not all issued at the same time. The issue dates were:
1914-1915 Star 17/6/1920
British War Medal (BWM) 4/5/1921, and the
Victory Medal (VM) 23/5/1922.
In fact his medals cards for the BWM and VM showed Mac’s name as McNamara. Only the Star had initially been transcribed correctly. The VM medal card had later it appears been altered from McNamara to MacNamara. The BWM was overlooked. It was the odd one out.
Perhaps to some the time an effort spent in researching the differences was unnecessary. But I leave you with a thought.
If I had not taken the time to follow through, there is I believe the possibility that there is someone out there who had no medals, and whose grandfather had been a McNamara.
What do Mac’s medal look like now?

15 January 2015

Jep Kenny

New Year's Day saw an email arrive in my in box which is similar to so many that we receive. It explained that amongst the family WWI medals was a medal named to a person who was not a family member. How the medal came to be with the family collection was a mystery.
In this case the medal is the 1914-15 Star awarded to 3041 Jep Francis Kenny. Jep was originally allocated to the 6th Battalion, AIF but transferred, firstly, to 58th Battalion then 57th Battalion during February and March 1916. Jep died of wounds on 17 July 1916 aged 19, one year and one day after he enlisted. He is buried in the Anzac Cemetery, Sailly-Sur-La-Lys.
Jep's mothers maiden name was Jesperson which I suspect inspired his name. Quite a bit of information was available about the Kenny family on several genealogy website. However, the usable information ceased around WWII. I then had to construct a family tree for Jep's sister Barbara Caroline Catherine Kenny who married George Wiffin Simmonds. The electoral rolls provided the names of Barbara's children which led me to contacting the wife of Jep's nephew.
Thank you to Belinda and her mother who sent me the medal. The returned medal tally is now 1611.

14 January 2015

Post update - Jack Flynn

The post about Jack Flynn has been updated with the addition of a photo of Jack in uniform. 

Walter Lyon story update

This article about the return of the WWI medals awarded to Walter Lyons was recently published in the Hawkesbury District Independent. It is great to see Bill get recognised for his effort.

08 January 2015

John 'Jack' Flynn

I received the 1939-45 Star awarded to NX69940 John 'Jack' Henry Raymond Flynn earlier this morning. His distinctive name quickly led me to his service record and his wife's name. However, this is when it got tricky. I found a family tree on Ancestry.com.au which gave me is daughters name but not her surname after she married. But the tree did give me the name of Jack's grand son - Steven John Wxxxxxx. After using several combinations of name searches I got another hit on a private (not accessible) Ancestry family tree. The owner of the tree has the username of StevenW so I made an assumption this was who I was looking for.
Within a couple of minutes of sending of a message I had a response which included a contact phone number. I've now spoken Jack's grand son and will send him the medal shortly. This search took about 30 minutes (sorry Bill).
In Jack's service record there is a series of letters advising the Department of Defence that he had lost his medals and the process to official replacements medals. The medal I'll be returning is one of the original medals that was lost in the 1960s. The second picture is of Jack from his service record.
Thank you to Dave G for your part in this return. The returned medal tally is now 1610.

Post update 14 Jan 15
I've been kindly provided a picture of Jack to add to this story. Thank you to Steven for his kind permission to use this photo.

05 January 2015

Lawrence Finch

Compared to many other countries Australia is very lucky to have extensive records available for public access. All WWI AIF service records are free online and many WWII records have been digitised. Similarly, there are newspaper archives available through Trove. I used all of these in the search for the family of Lawrence Arthur Finch.
Laurie first enlisted as a solider (NX136570) before transferring to the RAAF (433431) and completing pilot training. Laurie's brother Jack also served in the RAAF. The free online resources gave me enough information to narrow the Finch family down so that my search on the not so free Ancestry.com.au was relatively simple. This search gave me the names of Laurie's parents, his wife and his son. Back to the free Ryerson Index confirmed the dates of death of Laurie, his wife and their son Michael. I was back at square one.
Through Trove's newspaper archives I did find Laurie's father's death notice which gave me Laurie's sister's married name. This name is quite unique so it was back to Ancestry and a search of the electoral rolls gave me her son's name. This is Laurie's nephew. My next free resource was the White Pages and I quickly found the nephew's phone number.
This medal was one of those that came to me in the NSW box.
The returned medal tally is 1609.