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Ebay Medal Finds It's Way Home - Thomas MITCHELL

A British War medal awarded to and Australian soldier of the Great War, sold on ebay in March of 2008. Nothing unusual about that. But - in what is often the case; the descendants of that soldier had absolutely no idea that it had even been placed up for sale!

The descendants of Private Thomas Rule Eadington MITCHELL were very proud of their ancestor's war service. But they had no idea as to what had happened to his war medals. So you can imagine their surprise when they discovered - albeit too late; that their grandfather's British War Medal had sold on the auction site - ebay.

In December 2008, Mechelle Clancy of Queensland was researching the family tree of her partner - Steven. She conducted a GOOGLE search of his grandfather's name (Thomas Rule Eadington MITCHELL) and was immediately referred to the Medals Gone Missing website. She contacted the Administrator and informed him that the family had absolutely no idea how or why this medal had been placed on the market for general sale. Mechelle subsequently submitted a 12 month listing, in the hope that whoever purchased this medal - may consider selling it back to their family.

After 8 months of investigating- Medals Gone Missing narrowed it down to the fact that a relative of Private MITCHELL had listed the medal for sale, through a Sydney based Militaria dealer. This information was subsequently passed on to Mechelle and Steve.

Eventually, sufficient information was ascertained which allowed us to make email contact with the person who had purchased the medal on ebay. Thankfully, the medal was in a "good home" and the new owner - having gone to the trouble of purchasing a replacement 1914-1915 Star and Victory Medal to "make up the set". He then had these medals mounted.


PHOTO LEFT: The original BRITISH WAR MEDAL with the replacement 1914-1915 Star and Victory Medal. These medals were 'swing mounted' in the traditional method by the ebay purchaser; however the family of Thomas MITCHELL are still looking for the originals of the other two medals. Can you help?

So when Mechelle contacted this person, the ebay purchaser had absolutely no hesitation in returning the medal to the descendants of Private MITCHELL. In his words, he said "It is right that they should be with the family"

Sadly, it is quite common that people resort to selling their family heirlooms (in this case - the British War Medal from the Great War). As the family tree grows....grandchildren and great-grandchildren often inherit items from their predecessors. It is true that "what is one man's trash is another man's treasure". What one grandchild does not value - may very well be something that another grandchild would dearly cherish. The end result is - this British War Medal is now in the hands of a descendant of Thomas MITCHELL - who will ensure that it never leaves the family again. This side of Thomas' family recognises the medal for what it stands for. That is....the sacrifice made by a man in 1915; to enlist and risk all - in defence of Australia. One thing is now certain - Steven will not be letting it out of his hands and his mother (the daughter of Thomas MITCHELL) is very pleased that her father's medal is back where it belongs.

steve__medals_400 PHOTO RIGHT: Steven Wilson with his grandfather's British War Medal. He is now the family custodian of the heirloom and will ensure that it remains part of his family heritage.

Private Bearer Thomas MITCHELL, Service Number 2609 had served during the Great War with the 4th Light Horse Field Ambulance. He was later transferred to the 3rd Field Ambulance and saw duty in France. He survived the war and returned to Australia in 1919 - receiving his full medal entitlement. But how the three medals became seperated; and what happened to the 1914-1915 Star and Victory Medal is still a mystery. Can you please help this family to re-unite the medals? It you have one, or both of these war medals in your collection:- and would like to see them returned to their family, please contact the Medals Gone Missing Administrator.

Medals Gone Missing works in conjunction with numerous militaria dealers and private collectors - to maximise your chances of having an ancestor's war medals located and returned to you. I would assume that from Steve and Mechelle's perspective - their $2 listing with Medals Gone Missing proved to be a very sound investment.


6th Light Horse & 8th Division Medals Returned to Family - Walter BOOTH

What does the 6th Light Horse Regiment of Great War fame....and the 8th Australian Division, captured in Singapore during World War Two; have in common? That would be the name:- Walter James BOOTH. And a very rare and collectable set of medals, issued to this man for service during two World Wars - have been returned to his family. South Coast man Christopher Heffernan could easily have sold these medals on ebay for a very handsome sum. With a commercial value of $1,500 or more, he returned these medals to the soldier's family - totally free of charge.chrisheffernanmedals_400_01

After surviving a desert war, Walter re-enlisted for a second time over twenty years later. Only to be captured during the fall of Singapore and become a prisoner of war to the Japanese. He was savagely bashed to the point that he had to be treated by the legendary Doctor, Weary Dunlop and was subsequently mentioned in Weary's biography. And now, Walter's medals are back where they rightfully belong after being lost to his family for over 35 years.

PHOTO RIGHT: Chris Heffernan with the First World War Medals (1914-1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal) in his right hand; and the Second World War Medals (1939-1945 Star, Pacific Star, 1939-1945 War Medal and the 1939-1945 Australia Service Medal) in his left hand.

It was a classic example of a widowed man (with children to his first marriage) marrying for a second time; and when he dies - his medals remain with the family of his second wife. If there were no children as a result of this second marriage - then the medals usually remain with a family that has a minimal right to their claim. In this case, when Walter's first wife Edith passed away, he later married Miss Ellie Brogan. Herself a veteran of the Middle East and Pacific Wars, Ellie nursed many POW's at the cessation of hostilities and they were married in 1957.

Thankfully, in this instance - Ellie's nephew Chris made the moral decision, to have the medals returned to Walter's family. He showed the medals to Gary Traynor from Medals Gone Missing and after a number of telephone calls; the family of Trooper (later Staff Sergeant) Walter James BOOTH were located at Copacabana, south-east of Gosford in New South Wales. His son Walter BOOTH (junior) was very shocked to receive this call and only too happy to make the five hour trip south - to retrieve his fathers "lost" medals.

Walter (by his own admission - no longer a young man himself) told the Medals Gone Missing Administrator:- I had never known what happened to dad's medals. Now that we have them back, I will give them to my grandson to wear on Anzac Day. This set of medals, was the first medal set that the Medals Gone Missing team had an association with their return. To be lost from the family for well over 35 years - and then 'found' again through the kind actions of another, was a very welcome result. It is a great feeling, not only for the receiver....but also for the 'giver' - to have something so important returned to the ancestors of a man who served his country so well. walterboothww2medals_400

PHOTO LEFT: Staff Sergeant Walter James BOOTH of the 2/3 Reserve Motor Transport Company, prior to his embarkation for Singapore. You will note that he is wearing the ribbon bar of his First World War campaign medals on his uniform, above his left breast pocket. Like many soldiers who had service during the Great War, Walter put his age down to make himself eligible for service in the Second AIF. Claiming to be 39 years of age upon enlistment, when he was actually 50.


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