Retirement Life

War medal reunited with family almost 100 years later

War medal reunited with family almost 100 years later

A war medal lost on a Melbourne beach in Australia, almost more than 100 years ago, has finally been returned to the family of a World War I digger.

Just in time for ANZAC Day, Private R.S.G. Smith’s lost WWI British Victory Medal lost on Chelsea Beach in 1925 has been returned – over 61 years since his death.

The medal was found in 1980, about 10km away at Beaumaris Beach.

Although there were attempts for the medal to be returned to its rightful owner, it was not until it was passed on to Lilydale police Sergeant Vaughan Artherton that the mystery was solved.

It was revealed that the man who found the medal 40 years ago was married at the time but later passed away.

His wife later remarried and came into contact with Sergeant Atherton at their local Upwey Belgrave RSL Club.

Sergeant Atherton found Private Smith’s details by combing through the National Archives of Australia, and it was there where he found Robert Stanley Gordon Smith who was born in Fitzroy in 1891.

Mr Smith was enlisted at Broadmeadows on the August 7, 1915 and formed a part of the 13th Reinforcements, 5th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force.

He later would go on to serve in France where he was wounded in action twice.

The veteran would return to Australia after the war, and it was there he met and married Ada Grace Nicholl.

He is memorialised at the Coburg cemetery in the north of Melbourne.

Sergeant Atherton found information in his service record a statutory declaration where he requested to replace a “bade” that he had lost at Chelsea beach back in 1925.

Private Smith’s nephew Alan Norster admitted he was overjoyed when Sergeant Atherton located him to return the war medal.

“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to have this medal put on display at Upwey- Belgrave RSL museum,” he said.


“I am sure Private Smith’s medal will be treasured by all present and future RSL members”.

“I am glad that I have been successful on this occasion in reuniting the medal with the recipient’s relatives”.

The successful reunion comes just in time for Anzac Day on Sunday to commemorate the 106th anniversary of the 1915 Gallipoli landing.

Images: Channel 9