Miss­ing ‘e’ kept medals away


Arthur Cur­rey wanted to fight in the Great War so badly that he lied about his age.

Now decades later what he saw dur­ing that time can be re­vealed af­ter a box of his pos­ses­sions ended up in the hands of his nephew Gra­ham By­croft.

The box was dis­cov­ered in the home of for­mer Paeroa RSA chair­man Arthur Fletcher early this year in­cluded a va­ri­ety of items in­clud­ing shav­ing ra­zors, shrap­nel, bul­lets, note­books and let­ters in near-per­fect con­di­tion.

How­ever, Gra­ham and his wife Elaine no­ticed the box con­tained no medals be­long­ing to Cur­rey.

They con­tacted the Paeroa RSA to find out whether they had any­thing more that be­longed to the sol­dier, but were told no.

Un­sat­is­fied with that re­sponse, Elaine said she paid a visit to the RSA.

There she dis­cov­ered that the RSA had been un­able to lo­cate any­thing be­long­ing to him be­cause it was all la­belled as Arthur Curry with­out an ‘e’.

Paeroa RSA sec­re­tary man­ager Kat Horne said they recog­nised their er­ror and would get the medals back to the fam­ily be­fore An­zac Day. She said as far as they knew, there were no other be­long- ings of Cur­rey’s at the RSA.

Elaine said since the dis­cov­ery of the box, ev­ery­one had looked at the con­tents and ‘‘thought it was too pre­cious to throw in the rub­bish’’.

Some of the di­aries and let­ters even have bul­let holes through them. Elaine and Gra­ham said it was a huge sur­prise to see things that were more than 100 years old have main­tained their con­di­tion so well.

‘‘All the bul­let hole rips fit to­gether beau­ti­fully,’’ Gra­ham said.

Elaine tracked down di­rect rel­a­tives of Cur­rey through Face­book - man­ag­ing to find two of his great grand­chil­dren - to see if they wanted the box and dis­cus­sions were on­go­ing to or­gan­ise that.

Gra­ham and Elaine re­mem­ber vis­it­ing Cur­rey in hos­pi­tal on their wed­ding day many years ago.

Elaine said they ‘‘had to make the visit’’ to Cur­rey, so he could see the happy Hau­raki Plains cou­ple dressed up for the big day.

Cur­rey was a first World War vet­eran and lost his legs in an un­re­lated in­ci­dent.

Elaine said he made his own fake legs out of tin cans. ‘‘They didn’t have pros­thet­ics back then.’’

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