Are you related to Richard Henry BROMLEY – Darwin Coast Artillery AIF – Pattern 37 Army belt

Australian-FlagRichard Henry BROMLEY served in the Australian Army during World War Two, defending the far north city of Darwin from Japanese air attack as a member of the Darwin Coast Artillery.  Which leads us to ask the question ….. is he a relative of yours?

A Second World War belt (Pattern 37 waist belt) issued to Gunner Richard Henry BROMLEY (Service Number VX100301) turned up on eBay during January 2018 and it was purchased by the Medals Gone Missing team in the hope we can track down his descendants.

 Amazingly the Pattern 37 waist belt issued to Richard Henry BROMLEY was located on eBay Australia and purchased by the Medals Gone Missing team.

Amazingly the Pattern 37 waist belt issued to Richard Henry BROMLEY was located on eBay Australia and purchased by the Medals Gone Missing team.

Richard Henry BROMLEY was born on the 5th November 1912 in Mildura, Victoria.
According to the World War Two Nominal Roll, Allen enlisted into the AMF (Australian Military Forces) and it appears he may have transferred to the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) on 12th March, 1941.  His next of kin was recorded as being Richard BROMLEY who we believe was his father.  Richard served with the Darwin Coast Artillery and remained in the AIF until January 1946.

Whilst the Pattern 37 waist belt was issued in the hundreds of thousands, it is rare to find a relic which bears the name of your ancestor. It is hoped descendants of Richard Henry BROMLEY can be found and this valuable memento returned to his family.

Whilst the Pattern 37 waist belt was a type manufactured and issued in their hundreds of thousands to Commonwealth troops, it is rare to actually find a relic which bears the name of your particular ancestor. It is hoped descendants of Richard Henry BROMLEY can be found and this valuable memento returned to his family.

This waist belt in question clearly bears Richard’s service number VX100301 and his name ‘R.H. BROMLEY’ which likely was written by Richard himself in black ink.  Despite the fact these type of belts were manufactured in the hundreds of thousands …. and every serviceman had one (including Navy and Air Force), it is very rare that this belt has survived in such good condition.  This relic was purchased by Medals Gone Missing online via eBay and is not for general sale.  It will only be sold back to the descendants of Richard Henry BROMLEY upon strict proof of relationship.

The World War Two British Pattern 37 waist belt issued to Gunner BROMLEY amazingly was located on eBay Australia and was purchased by the Medals Gone Missing team in the hope that his descendants can be located.

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Are you related to Allen George HUNTLEY – V514747 – 57/60 Australian Infantry Battalion – Pattern 37 Army Belt

Australian-FlagAre you related to Allen George HUNTLEY who served in the Australian Army during World War Two?

A Second World War belt (Pattern 37 waist belt) issued to Private Allen George HUNTLEY (Service Number V514747) turned up on eBay during January 2018 and it was purchased by the Medals Gone Missing team in the hope we can track down his descendants.

Allen George HUNTLEY was born on the 4th December, 1914 in Diamond Creek, Victoria.  He married Lillian Elizabeth HUNTLEY on the 12th November 1938.

The World War Two British Pattern 37 waist belt issued to Private Allen George HUNTLEY and bears his service number V514747. Amazingly this belt was located on eBay Australia and purchased by the Medals Gone Missing team.

The World War Two British Pattern 37 waist belt issued to Private Allen George HUNTLEY and bears his service number V514747. Amazingly this belt was located on eBay Australia and purchased by the Medals Gone Missing team.

According to the World War Two Nominal Roll, Allen enlisted into the AMF (Australian Military Forces) on 21st July 1942.  Being a married man, it is natural that his next of kin was recorded as being Lillian Elizabeth HUNTLEY.  Allen had served with the 57/60 Australian Infantry Battalion AMF.  His service record confirms that Allen took part in the Bouganville campaign, landing at Torokina on 5th January 1945.

Allen George HUNTLEY discharged from the Australian army on 12th August 1946.  It is likely he returned to his mustered trade of butcher in civil life, so perhaps you may remember him as your local butcher during the 1950’s?

This waist belt in question clearly bears Allen’s service number which likely was written by Allen himself in black ink.  Considering that these were manufactured in the hundreds of thousands and every serviceman had one (including Navy and Air Force), it is very rare that this belt has survived to this day in such good condition.  This relic was purchased by Medals Gone Missing online via eBay and is not for general sale.  It will only be sold back to the descendants of Allen George HUNTLEY upon strict proof of relationship.

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Missing British War Medal of Wilfred Lavis NORTHAM sold on eBay U.K. – sought by family

British-FlagA descendant of Wilfred Lavis NORTHAM discovered a listing for the sale of a missing British War Medal awarded to her great uncle – who sadly was killed in action during the Great War.  Unfortunately, the listing was located well after the auction had ended and was purchased by persons unknown.

British War Medal similar to that awarded to

British War Medal similar to that awarded to Wilfred Lavis NORTHAM who sadly was killed in action on the Western Front. His descendants would dearly love to purchase this medal from the new owner.

Listed on website https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/rifle-brigade-killed-action-casualty-307229615. This listing indicates the British War Medal awarded to Wilfred Lavis NORTHAM was sold via the eBay U.K. auction site (date unknown).

Wilfred Lavis NORTHAM is the great uncle to Karen Park  who has not been able to ascertain the identity of either the eBay seller or the purchaser.   Karen indicated her family had no idea how the medal left their circle or who purchased the missing medal.  However she indicated they would love to see it returned to their family. If the person who purchased the missing British War Medal of Wilfred would kindly consider selling the medal back to his descendants, they would very much appreciate this kind gesture.

Please contact the descendants of Wilfred Lavis NORTHAM via the Medals Gone Missing website via email customerservice@medalsgonemissing.com if you can assist this family in recovering part of their lost heritage.

This is the actual missing British War Medal of Wilfred Lavis NORTHAM as it appeared in the original eBay U.K. website. It is hoped the new owner may kindly consider selling the medal back to descendants of this soldier who sadly laid down his life for his country.

This is the actual missing British War Medal of Wilfred Lavis NORTHAM as it appeared in the original eBay U.K. website. It is hoped the new owner may kindly consider selling the medal back to descendants of this soldier who sadly laid down his life for his country.

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Missing medals & Memorial Plaque of Ernest Hardy – Northumberland Fusiliers

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The First World War medals and Memorial Plaque attributable to Serjeant Ernest HARDY are missing and a descendant is hoping that you may be able to assist.

Serjeant Ernest Hardy was a member of the 10th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers – and was killed in action during November 1916.

Ernest HARDY served in the 10th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers.  His British War Medal and Victory Medal are missing.  Can you help?

Ernest HARDY served in the 10th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. His British War Medal and Victory Medal are missing. Can you help?

Awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal, it is believed the widow of Ernest had died by the time his medals were issued.  It is possible the medal group were subsequently passed onto her family, her maiden name being Bull.

A history of the 10th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers has been conducted by the Wartime Memories Project.  Please CLICK HERE to read more about this battalion which has a very long history within the British armed forces.  The 10th (Service) battalion was formed as early as September 1914.

An image of a Memorial Plaque similar to that commemorating Serjeant Ernest HARDY.  Colloquially referred to as a "Dead Man's Penny", this plaque is missing and is currently being sought by one of his descendants.  Can you help?

An image of a Memorial Plaque similar to that commemorating Serjeant Ernest HARDY. Colloquially referred to as a “Dead Man’s Penny”, this plaque is missing and is currently being sought by one of his descendants. Can you help?

Records on hand with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) indicate his exact date of death was 9th November 1916 and his name is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium.  This memorial bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who died before 16 August 1917 and have no known grave.

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First World War Australian Tunic – a curatorial interpretation of an AIF Universal Pattern Uniform

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The original of this photograph appears on the Facebook page of the Moruya & District Historical Society.  Please click on the fore mentioned link to view the original image and make comment.  Whilst conducting a tour of the Moruya Museum on Remembrance Day 2017, I was asked to explain the intricacies of the Australian uniform worn by our diggers during the Great War.  As a result, I have borrowed this image as an example of the Australian ‘Universal Pattern’ tunic worn during 1914-1918.

This is a curatorial interpretation of an Australian First World War 'Universal Pattern' tunic as worn by Australian solidiers at Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

This is a curatorial interpretation of an Australian First World War ‘Universal Pattern’ tunic as worn by Australian solidiers at Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

The first thing I look at when I view such historic photographs – is the uniform and any embellishments which are evident. Based on past experience, the general look of this image immediate told me it was a photograph of a WW1 digger, however ….. Please see my interpretation here which leads me to believe the photo was likely taken late 1914 or early 1915.  I have numbered the breakdown from 1 through to 5 to correspond with the below paragraphs:-

1. A brass buckle is evident on his tunic waist belt. This brass buckle is synonymous with First World War tunics (both WW1 & WW2 Australian tunics were referred to as ‘Universal Pattern’ tunics). But the presence of a brass buckle clearly dates the tunic to the 1914-1918 war. The waist belt of the tunic was actually sewn into the tunic itself.  So the belt was not detachable.  However the small brass ‘slider’ buckle could in fact be removed.  The buckle was simply attached to the open end of the belt, by way of a small button.  Undo the button  …. and the buckle could be removed.  I will update this blog in the near future to illustrate this.

Remains of an AIF epaulete recovered from 'Bloody Angle' at Gallipoli (a short distance from Quinn's Post) and held in the Australian War Memorial Collection.

Remains of an AIF epaulete recovered from ‘Bloody Angle’ at Gallipoli (a short distance from Quinn’s Post) and held in the Australian War Memorial Collection.

2.  The number ‘2’ which I have drawn on the Moruya & District Historical Society photo show the epaulete portion of the tunic.  His epaulete shows the standard, curved metal ‘Australia’ title which was made in copper with a black anodized finish. It is a symbol of the AIF or Australian Imperial Force raised for overseas service in both World Wars. Second World War militia diggers serving in the Militia forces from 1939-1945 were NOT entitled to wear this symbol. Unless of course they were members of the AIF serving in a Militia unit … but that is another story. Of great interest in the MDHS photo is the existence of metal “numerals” which were a precursor to the colour patch identification system and tell us which unit he is currently serving.  Unfortunately the Moruya & District Historical Society photograph does not clearly show what numeral is on this soldier’s uniform.  Hopefully the M&DHS can produce a high resolution copy of this image which will tell us more about which unit this soldier served.   Please view the adjacent image of an example from the Australian War Memorial which shows the number “16” which pertains to a unit from Western Australia.  It also shows the ‘Australia’ title.

An example of the 'Australia' copper shoulder title and 29th Australian Infantry Battalion colour patch of the uniform worn by Private C.J. GILES . This excellant example was obtained by Charles Bean who established the Australian War Memorial and now forms part of that collection.

An example of the ‘Australia’ copper shoulder title and 29th Australian Infantry Battalion colour patch of the uniform worn by Private C.J. GILES . This excellant example was obtained by Charles Bean who established the Australian War Memorial and now forms part of that collection.

3. Where I have drawn the number ‘3’ is usually the position on the digger’s tunic where a unit colour patch would be attached. This colour patch would be indicative of the battalion or unit which the man is currently serving. The origins of the colour patch system  started at Mena Camp (Cairo) just prior to the Gallipoli campaign. So based on the fact our soldier is wearing “numerals” (see explanation no. 2) and combined with the fact that he is NOT wearing any colour patch identification, lends weight to the possibility of this photo being taken in Australia circa 1914/1915 prior to overseas deployment.  To illustrate the correct positioning of a colour patch, I have included an opportune image which I managed to take whilst working as Assistant Curator at the Australian War Memorial annex in Mitchell when the uniform of Private C.J. GILES was being conserved prior to display in the new AWM First World War gallery.

First World War style mounted pattern breeches with bedford cord reinforcing on the inner thigh. Note the method of fitting and securing the lower leg opening by way of laces.

First World War style mounted pattern breeches with bedford cord reinforcing on the inner thigh. Note the method of fitting and securing the lower leg opening by way of laces.

4.  This man in the MDHS photo is wearing mounted pattern breeches. This is evident by the eyelets and laces on the lower leg portion of his trousers. All mounted pattern breaches had this style of fastening. Mounted breeches were generally made of Bedford Cord and also had some type of reinforcing materiel sewn into the inner thighs to protect the wearer when in the saddle for extended periods of riding. This reinforcing could be either bedford cord or leather.  Non mounted pattern (i.e. Infantry, Engineers or Pioneers just to name a few) were generally fastened with buttons instead of laces. Non mounted pattern breeches also did not have the reinforcing materiel sewn into the inner thigh area. However be warned that the type and style of breeches a man is wearing could simply be explained by what any given unit Quartermaster had in stock at the time of issue …. or what happened to turn up in supplies. As an example, the breeches on display at the Australian War Memorial as issued to C.J. GILES of the 29th Infantry Battalion have black leather inserts to the inner thigh area and appear to be mounted pattern breaches. The subject in the MDHS photo is also wearing 1903 Pattern leather leggings (commonly and mistakenly called “Light Horse” leggings by modern collectors). Whilst it is true they were generally worn by the Australian Light Horse, they were issued to all mounted troops. Bearing in mind that the Artillery and Army Service Corps were all horse drawn during this era.

A rare Great War photograph of three diggers of the Australian Field Artillery AIF taken in Australia prior to overseas deployment. Of particular interest is the fact they are displaying both issue of headwear ... the famous Australian Slouch Hat and the Peaked Cap issued to drivers, artillerymen and other corps including Infantry.

A rare Great War photograph of three diggers posted to the Australian Field Artillery AIF. The photo was taken in Australia prior to overseas deployment. Of particular interest is the fact they are displaying both issue of headwear … the famous Australian Slouch Hat and the Peaked Cap which was issued to drivers, artillerymen and other corps including Infantry. Those of you with an eye for detail will note the brass slider belt buckle of the man who is seated.

5. Lastly, this digger is wearing a “Peaked Cap”. Inexperienced and modern collectors sometimes claim only officers wore peaked caps. This is very far from the truth. Rather, the peaked cap was a very common item of head wear issued to the AIF and in fact, many troops who landed at Gallipoli wear wearing the peaked cap … rather than the famous Australian slouch hat (Hat, Khaki, Fur Felt). But that too is a whole separate story. All in all …. if I was to tie myself down for a definitive answer …. it is possible the digger subject of this photo is a “Driver” (of horses/wagons) or a member of the Artillery and the photo may have been taken in Australia prior to his embarkation for overseas service.

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