A missing photo album from the First World War has been uncovered at the 2015 Batemans Bay Antiques & Collectibles Fair on the south coast of New South Wales. All available evidence points towards the creator of the souvenier album as being that of Trooper John PEASE , 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment.
Trooper John PEASE was born in Koorawatha, New South Wales. He enlisted into the AIF and departed for overseas service. John landed on the Gallipoli peninsula on the 28th August, 1915 just after the August Offensive, but was evacuated due to Diptheria the following month. He boarded the Hospital Ship ‘Maheno’ on 1st October 1915 bound for Heliopolis.
John PEASE transferred to the 13th Field Company Engineers in March 1916 as a part of the AIF reorganisation and served in France. However, he was again struck down with a lung condition and was sent to convalesce in the United Kingdom. Many photos of Scottish nurses appear in the album which lends weight to the possibility of this album belonging to John.
The historically significant album was displayed for sale by a dealer who had purchased the journal from a collector in Temora. Whilst the name John PEASE does not appear clearly in the album, a thorough inspection revealed the service number 889 and the name “J. Pe _ _” which is written on the inside cover. This writing has been covered by a hand written note, possibly written by John himself and the name is barely visible. The note states “The beginning. Camp Sydney 1914”. A check of his service record via the National Archives of Australia showed distinct similarities with the writing in the album and as a result, Medals Gone Missing Administrator considered there was sufficient evidence to purchase the album and conduct an investigation into its author. It is not clear how the album came to leave John’s family; but should he be confirmed as the author of the album – there is no doubt it will become a very important piece of family history for his descendants.
Whilst inquiries are continuing, an attempt has been made to locate direct descendants of John PEASE via Ancestry.com and it is hoped that this mystery will be solved.
This is the first year that the Eurobodalla Antiques and Collectibles Fair has been held and should this album be confirmed as that of Trooper John PEASE, it will be a wonderful result for event organisers. Quite often, historic photo albums such as this are broken up and the photos sold individually by militaria dealers. Especially when the owner/author of the album is not clear. (Please CLICK HERE to read the story of a First World War German album which was broken up for individual sale by one dealer – a portion of which was saved by Medals Gone Missing). Medals Gone Missing is very grateful to the wonderful gentleman who recognised the historic value of this particular Great War album and kept it intact.
Medals Gone Missing is very excited about the possible return of this album and is hopeful that confirmation is confirmed with the kind assistance of Ancestry Australia.