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 Post subject: A Tall Tale
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:53 pm 
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Ok,

As the title suggests this is a bit of a tall tale, but absolutely true. When I returned from Operational Service in East Timor in 2006 I decided to start collecting militaria. Proud of the fact that I had just completed my first tour of duty I decided that I should collect military medals (this fad didn't last long).

After buying a couple of medals from ebay, dealers here in Australia and in England my wife at the time (now ex-wife) suggested that I narrow my collection to a period or a family name such as my own. Good idea says I and jumped on ebay and immediately found the attached ANZAC group.

LCPL John Henry Skelton, 1st Battalion, A.I.F. Serial number 396 (which means that he joined on the first day of recruitment when Aus joined WW1). He fought in the landing at Gallipoli where he was wounded and invalided to Lemnos Island. He recovered and returned to Gallipoli in time for the battle of Lone Pine where he received shrapnel wounds to the head and was invalided back to Australia through Egypt. On return to Australia he served in a garrison unit but was cited for a number of offences including drunk and disorderly, assaulting an officer and was finally discharged with syphilis in 1918 (sounds like the poor bastard had a severe case of PTSD - sounds similar to soldiers that I know).

Here is where the story gets interesting. In his personnel files it indicates that John Henry Skelton had emigrated from the UK just prior to the war. He was born in Southern Scotland (my family are traditionally from the Lakes Distrcit near Carlile - so close to where Jonh was born). He indicated that he had previous military service, but was likely too young to have done so (a ploy to get accepted quickly). Searching through family records we have identified a John Henry Skelton as a distant cousin to my great grandfather who served for the British Army in WW1. Is this the same J.H. Skelton? It would be nice to think so.

I don't know what became of this returned soldier. The medals have been well cared for and polished over a long period of time - noting by the wear on the medals. I don't know why they were sold off or by whom. I can only imagine the sad story attached to these medals. As an original ANZAC grouping these medals are worth a pretty picture, but to me they are worth so much more. As an immigrant who has served in the Australian Army myself this is a great, albeit tenuous, link to our proud military history.

Lest we forget.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: A Tall Tale
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:40 am 
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Very nice medal bar with an interesting tie to your country's past.

:D Ron

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I really do need to know more about this....


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 Post subject: Re: A Tall Tale
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:03 pm 
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That is a very cool story Steve. Its good that those pieces have remained in the family so to speak.

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 Post subject: Re: A Tall Tale
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:42 pm 
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Thanks guys. The medals actually came loose and had previously been swing mounted - the swing mount did not come with the medals. Unders Aus Army policy we are supposed to court mount our medals for wear. So I chose to court mount these as well.

I also court mounted my own medals for my wedding last year - makes them look so much better.

I often think it was an act of fate that I found the medals. For them to be listed the very day I looked on ebay for the first time is a miracle. Is J.H. Skelton the relation I think he might be? Who knows, but I would like to think so, but I will never have concrete proof - for this reason I would never wear the medals on ANZAC day (we can wear relatives medals on our right breast on ANZAC day or Rememberance Day as a sign of respect for their service and sacrifice - many of my friends have their children wear their miniature medals on these days).


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 Post subject: Re: A Tall Tale
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:05 pm 
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Great stuff, thanks for sharing

James

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 Post subject: Re: A Tall Tale
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:43 pm 
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Nice set of "gongs" there Steve, well done!

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 Post subject: Re: A Tall Tale
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:57 pm 
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Great medals!!!!!

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Collecting militaria isn't a hobby, it's a way of living.


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