When it comes to returning missing war medals back to their rightful place, there are no better advocates of this noble gesture, than Lieutenant Colonel Glyn LLANWARNE of Lost Medals Australia. Glyn has been acquiring, researching and then returning lost medals to veterans or their families since 2000. And so a conversation at the Australian War Memorial’s Kokoda seminar in September, 2012 led to Medals Gone Missing enlisting his assistance in tracking down the descendants of Private Oscar Roy LUHRS, a Victorian who served in the 24th Infantry Battalion, AIF during the Great War.
IMAGE RIGHT: The 1914-1915 Star which was awarded to Private Oscar Roy LUHRS, service number 1921 of the 24th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. This lost war medal was purchased by Medals Gone Missing during March of 2008. Private LUHRS served with this unit on Gallipoli in the latter months of the Dardenelles campaign.
Medals Gone Missing purchased this missing medal during March of 2008 from the ebay online auction site. Gary TRAYNOR, the Medals Gone Missing Administrator has ancestors by this Germanic surname and bid for this 1914-1915 Star on the off chance that Oscar was a distant relative. After a number of false leads which proved unsuccessful, Gary sought the help of Glyn Llanwarne who was only too happy to lend a hand. With the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign fast approaching in 2015, it was important to get this medal back to a descendant of Oscar Roy LUHRS so that his family could commemorate his service. Glyn used his resources to trace Oscar’s family tree and supplied this information to Gary.
IMAGE LEFT: White over read colour patch of the 24th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Oscar Roy LUHRS joined this unit at Gallipoli on the 12 October, 1915 …. just in time for the biting cold of the Turkish winter.
Despite his Germanic name, Oscar LUHRS stated on his enlistment papers that he was a British born subject from Lorquon in Victoria. His next of kin was Frederick LUHRS from Cavendish in Victoria; and so Oscar was far from being of European stock. The First World War Embarkation Roll indicates that Oscar Roy LUHRS boarded HMAT Anchises on the 26th of August, 1915 from Port Melbourne. He joined his unit at Gallipoli on the 12th October, 1915 and was there until the evacuation in December, 1915. After the Dardenelles campaign, Oscar served in France and survived the war, returning to Australia in 1919.
As a result of Glyn’s assistance, the descendants of Oscar Roy LUHRS were contacted and his son Ian LUHRS was bewildered that this war service medal awarded to his father had gone “missing” from the family. As the 1914-1915 was purchased on ebay for a considerable sum, his descendants were only too happy to recompense the Medals Gone Missing organisation, recognising their “not for profit” status.
IMAGE RIGHT: The First World War medal entitlement for a serviceman or woman who left Australia’s shores and entered any theatre of the war between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915. The whereabouts of Oscar’s British War Medal and Victory Medal are not known and could very well be out there somewhere? If you know of the whereabouts of these medals, please contact the Medals Gone Missing Administrator via this website.
This is the first occasion that Lost Medals Australia and Medals Gone Missing have combined forces to return a lost war service medal. And Medals Gone Missing would like to publicly thank Glyn Llanwarne for his invaluable assistance. Gary Traynor, the M.G.M. Administrator said, “I have long been an admirer of Glyn’s work. He was the first to begin operations in returning these lost war medals and he was a pleasure to work with. His operation differs in some respects to our website and sadly, there are far too many medals out there which need to be returned to a descendant of a digger who values them. So with the Centenary of the Great War in 2014, both of our organisations are going to be very busy”.
FOOTNOTE: The 1914-1915 Star and history of Oscar Roy LUHRS feature in our story “No Picklehaube For Me”, an article about Australians of German heritage, serving in the AIF during the Great War. Please CLICK HERE to view this story.