27 December 2016

Thomas Sparks

It has been a few years since either Bill or I have received a old tin full of bits and bobs including medals. This particular collection came to me from Alice and Avon H who found it in a property they purchased. They were told that the tin had originally been found at the local tip.
The tin contains many items connected to NX585 Thomas William Sparks. There are his medals, his discharge certificate and other documents, badges and other personal items. From his number it is clear that Sparks was an early enlistee from NSW. What came as a surprise to me is that he was a member of the 6th Division Cavalry Regiment which was immediate familiar to me as a fore runner to a unit I have served in: 2nd Cavalry Regiment. This is Sparks entry for this unit.
When I received Alice's first email about this collection I found a bit of information about Sparks quite quickly. While he lived for many years in NSW, I found that he was buried in Queensland. I also found his wife's name was Nancy. Using the search parameters of their first names and being resident in Queensland, I found the 1980 electoral roll entry for Thomas and Nancy living on the Gold Coast. This is the last roll available online so a bit of luck had gone my way. Also listed at the same address was another Thomas Sparks which I assumed to be their son. That is where I felt the research until the medals arrived just before Christmas.   
This afternoon I double checked my research and came to the same conclusion and found one person in the White Pages whose initial/name combination matched the 1980 electoral roll entry. I took a punt and called the number to find that I had the right connection. I had located Sparks' son.
Thank you Alice for trusting me and sending all these items to me.
The returned medal tally is now 1992.

13 December 2016

Percival James Chandos Mellor

It often mystifies me how medals end up where there do. Especially when they originate from the other side of the world and there is no obvious explication as to how they got to Australia.
The BWM awarded to 329149 Sapper Percival James Chandos Mellor was sent to me by the Narrogin RSL. Narrogin is a small farming community about 200km south east of Perth but when I had a close look at Percival's history there is no link with this part of Australia.
Percival was a 42 year old, single schoolmaster from Birmingham UK, when he enlisted in August 1918. His corps was the Royal Engineers and he arrived in France just before the armistice.
Percival married in 1929 aged 53 but there is no other record I could find until the probate of his will in 1960. His estate was valued at a little over 3000GBP and the beneficiary was named as Andrew John Perry, schoolmaster. The only other lead I found was on an Ancestry tree which put me in contact with the family of Percival's brother.
Without some serious research I don't think that I'll be able to work out how the medal got to Narrogin. Thanks to Lorraine of the Narrogin RSL who trusted me to complete this research on their behalf.
The returned medal tally is now 1982.