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.
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.
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.