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Stolen/Lost Medals + Militaria


Well done Kate. As usual you are right on the ball. A great initiative. If this new forum subject returns one lost or stolen medal or momento it will be worthwhile. I often look on ebay at all the memorabilia for sale and wonder about the origins of the items that are offered.
Ross
10/24/2003, 10:21 pm Link to this post Send Email to saint54   Send PM to saint54
 
Kate Blake Profile
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Ross,
This is something close to my heart (I have lost family medals out there somewhere....)
I have often wondered the same thing with the Auctions.I buy things (too often), for no reason other than I just can't stand the thought of these items going out of the country. With the photos I find, I add them to the website in the hope someone may find a lost family member there. (Have managed to reunite a couple which is a great feeling.)As you would know (only because of your help) not long ago I purchased an album off Ebay that obviously belonged to one of the Officers in the 37th.(Smith I think) It contains some absolute Gems of photos including Robert Grieve and Symons both V.C winners. I can't help but wonder where on earth it surfaced from. I have never seen these photos beforehand, and I can't imagine any family just ditching it (but then again these things can and do happen)
 Also I remember when I was first trying to locate replacement medals for Grt Uncles, one dealer told me that they just buff off the name on old medals and can change it the name you want added - it just made me feel sick that someones history could be wiped like that - and opens up a can of worms for unknowing family researchers desperate to find a relatives [sign in to see URL] think it should be illegal to alter the medals .
As you said if this forum can help return just one item it will be worthwhile, Let's see what can be achieved!!Any ideas welcome.
Kate
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Re: Stolen/Lost Medals + Militaria


It is a great idea Kate. I imagine between the forum members we would cover an enormous amount of ground in this area.

The RUSI library in Sydney had 100's of books stolen from it's library about 2 years ago. I will see if I can find the list of books that they sent to the members & pop it up here.

Yes 100's of books were stolen- hard to imagine a thief that brazen considering all that security. I think it must have been an 'inside job'. Some of the books on the list are just are not replaceable these days,but they would all have been stamped RUSI in the book.

Cheers
Geoff S

I suppose we all know of similar stories.
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Re: Stolen/Lost Medals + Militaria


Kate
I still hold out hope of finding my father's Korea medals. When he and Mum went on their honeymoon to Melbourne in 1957 he took with him a suitcase that apparently contained his momentos including his service revolver, medals, uniforms etc. When they left he forgot to collect it from the hotel. He returned about a year later but the hotel had sold it. I dont think my father would have been too worried - he had never even collected his WW2 medals and we received them when he died. I just hope no-one has ground out his name on the medals.
Ross
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Re: Stolen/Lost Medals + Militaria


Ross,
Good luck with your search. You just never know how these things may turn up. The idea of buffing off the names on medals is just so abhorrent to me, especially as it does away with any chance of ever reuniting medals with family. It is illegal to deface or alter our currency and I believe this should also include war medals.
Ross, which battalion did your Dad serve re/ WW2. Yesterday I attended the funeral of a WW2 digger (the son of a 37th man, who I feel very privelged to have crossed paths with - Ronald James Sutton - (Ronnie Jim)I felt an immense sadness as I looked about at all the WW2 men who attended - they are all so frail now, it will not be to long before there are very few of them either.
Kate


Last edited by Kate Blake, 10/29/2003, 9:48 pm
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Re: Stolen/Lost Medals + Militaria


Kate
Dad actually was in the RAAF during WW2. He joined when he was 18 and went to Canada and trained as a bomber pilot. By the time he was 19 1/2 he was a Sergeant Pilot. Just after he completed his training the war in Europe ended so he was sent home, and never flew on any operations. I think the reason he never collected his medals was that he thought he hadnt done anything special, although he was awarded the Returned from Active Service Badge. He served in Korea as a sergeant in 1RAR. One bloke who knew him in Korea and later training 'nashos' at Puckylpana [sorry about the spelling] told me at the 1991 1RAR reunion that my old man was the only army NCO he had ever seen wearing pilot's wings - he called him the sergeant with wings. Alas Dad was no angel, but a good father and husband none the less.
Ross
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Re: Stolen/Lost Medals + Militaria


FYI

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Last edited by Geoff S, 3/13/2004, 4:13 pm
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Re: Stolen/Lost Medals + Militaria


I think that a big part of the problem is that there is such a lucrative collectors market, with little regulation and certainly no code of ethics. I've been trying to find my grandfather's medals, which were taken & sold by a cousin's husband in 1971. Because of family involvement in the theft it was never reported, which makes it really difficult to do anything. From some of the other posts here it seems that there is a bit of "rebirthing" as well involved, which indicates that there is a certain level of organisation happening in this blackmarket. I certainly have not received one reply from any of the dealers that I have contacted.
It makes me feel ill that such personal items are now in the hands of a stranger, and what's worse, they may be accessing publicly available records to gather personal information about my grandfather in order to increase the value of their acquisition. Maybe lobbying relevant organisations will make a difference,as will educating people about the value of these family heirlooms (should be kept in safe or something similarly secure). A lot of thefts occur when someone dies, before probate of the estate is finalised. Either family members or strangers just help themselves.

Re: books. Books are another area of a blackmarket - and yes re: the incident mentioned in another posting, this would have been an inside job. When I worked at the University of Sydney, one third of the transport collection being transferred to Fisher Library was stolen by a group of men posing as removalists. They would have had to have had inside knowledge.

Due to my own personal experiences, I would really like to do something constructive about this.
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