Under an Alias …. a German in the AIF. Seeking the Missing War Medals of John Bert RIEDEL (Johann Berthold RIEDEL) of the 32nd Infantry Battalion.

Back in 2010, we posted a story titled “No Picklehaube For Me” which detailed the story of Australians soldiers (of German descent) who served in the AIF during the Great War.  Please click on the below link to view that article:-  http://medalsgonemissing.com/military-medal-blog/military-medals/no-picklehaube-for-me-germans-in-slouch-hats-with-the-aif-during-world-war-1/

This story generated great interest and as a result, we are now searching for the missing war service medals of 602 Private John Bert RIEDEL who served with the 32nd Infantry Battalion, AIF.

IMAGE RIGHT: Private Johann Berthold RIEDEL (who enlisted as John Bert RIEDEL) into the AIF.  He was allocated the service number 602 and served with the 32 Infantry Battalion, AIF.

Born Johann Berthold RIEDEL, information from his great nephew Philip Riedel indicates that he enlisted as John Bert RIEDEL, obviously to escape the German inflection.   Johann was a second generation Australian of German Immigrant Pioneers to the Barossa Valley in South Australia.  He spoke fluent German, which no doubt caused some interest amongst his mates.  Especially when Johann found himself in the trenches at Fromelles.

According to the First World War Embarkation Roll, Johann boarded HMAT Geelong (A2) on the 18th November, 1915 at Port Adelaide.  He went into action and sustained wounds in action on the night of the 21st September, 1916.  Sadly, Johann died the following day in a Canadian Hospital in Bailleul, France.  According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records (CWGC) Johann is buried in the military cemetery of this town.

Fortunately, Johann (who served as John) has not been forgotten and Philip has visited him a couple of times; as has Johann’s other descendants in recent year.  Philip is now seeking to locate the First World War medal trio (1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal) which were awarded to J.B. RIEDEL.

The missing war medals were last seen mounted in a picture frame with all items of Johann’s military service,  professionally mounted inside.  This included a photograph of Johann Berthold RIEDEL and possibly his colour patches.  It was believed that this collection was donated with the missing Memorial Plaque (colloquially known as a Dead Man’s Penny) to the Australian War Memorial by Philip’s aunty.  Unfortunately, the AWM has no record of this donation and it is possible that the medals are in the hands of a private collector.

IMAGE LEFT: The 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal similar to that of the missing medals of Private J.B. RIEDEL of the 32nd Infantry Battalion, AIF.

This picture frame was a much treasured family piece and was passed down through Johann’s family via his Great Grandmother. who was John’s sister.  However, the whereabouts of this valuable collection is now a mystery.

Can you help?  If so, please contact Philip RIEDEL via the Medals Gone Missing Administrator.

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About gary

Gary Traynor is the volunteer Administrator of the Militaria based website MEDALSGONEMISSING. The aim of this "NOT FOR PROFIT" website is to reunite families, with lost War Medals and other items of militaria. Anything from medals to items of uniform. What Gary refers to as their "lost heritage". He has been actively involved in the Militaria world and researching of Military History for well over 30 years. As a result, Gary also conducts valuations and offers advice on all items of militaria. He has acted as advisor to a number of television and Foxtel productions; including Sir Tony Robinson's "Tour of Duty" series which featured on the History Channel. Gary is a field historian and conducts tours to Gallipoli, The Western Front, Kokoda and many other major battle sites around the world. He was a member of the Australian Army Reserve (UNSWR & 4/3 RNSWR) and served for 23 years with the New South Wales Police Force. He is perhaps the only person who has been employed at the Australian War Memorial in all three capacities .... as a volunteer, part time and full time employee .... starting as a qualified tour guide, working in the public galleries as an Information Assistant and finally Assistant Curator in Military Heraldry & Technology. Medalsgonemissing is a website that will assist you in locating your family's lost war medals and other awards. If you have an ancestor who served in any of the British Commonwealth Armed Services at any time - and whose medals are lost/stolen or simply missing....then so long as the medals are out there - this site will help you to locate them. However the site also contains articles of interest in relation to Military History, War Memorials & Uniforms / kit. Please explore our website as there is sure to be something of interest to you.
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