For those of you who pour over the ebay auction site – searching for War Medals; you may have noticed at least TWO recent instances where the seller has mentioned in their listing – that the medals on sale in fact belong to their deceased relative. On one occasion, the medals were said to have been issued to the seller’s father and sold for well over $1,000 AUD. These two sales took place in the month of October, 2007 and I am sure, there are many other similar cases in years gone by.
This leads me to ask the questions. 1. Was the rest of the family consulted on this???
2. If not, then why not???
3. And what chance has the future generations of that particular family (who would never put a price on their heritage) got of recuperating the said medals???
I would also wonder – what would the old veteran would think if he knew that his medals had been hocked by his own flesh and blood to ‘make a quid’.
I can thankfully report that in the instance of 95 year old Aussie digger QX4019 David Gulbrandson, at least his medals will not meet such a fate. Fourteen medals to be exact. This Queenslander fought in many campaigns, including the defence of Crete and so it is only fitting that he had a hand in deciding where his medals would end up.
Mr Gulbrandson had told ‘the daily’ newspaper on the Sunshine Coast that the matter of what to do with his medals had concerned him for some time. He said, “I decided if I wanted to do the right thing by the family, I should not give them to just one person, I should give them to something like this”. He was referring to the donation of the valuable medals to the Maroochy R.S.L Sub-Branch’s museum. One museum representative stating that this donation was the most momentous thing that they had ever received. Thankfully, many of Mr Gulbrandson’s family members attended the small hand-over of the medals and in the future, all of his descendant’s will know exactly where to go to view their heritage.
If a person is fortunate to inherit service medals which belonged to a relative, I can only hope that they value them for what they really are. Not just pieces of metal and ribbon to be bought and sold, but symbols of sacrifice made by our ancestors. We do not OWN these medals – but rather, we should regard ourselves as mere ‘custodians’. The memory of our veterans is worth far more than any price paid in on-line auction sites.
And your family’s heritage will not join the long and growing list of “missing medals”.