Medal re­turned

Wanneroo Times - - Front Page - Lucy Jarvis

A MEDAL awarded to a World War I sol­dier has found its way back to his fam­ily.

Tap­ping res­i­dent John Hol­land re­cently re­ceived an Im­pe­rial Force medal given to the grand­fa­ther he never met, Thomas Leo McAdam.

Queens­lan­der Dave Atkins found the medal in a cig­a­rette tin in a suit­case when his own grand­fa­ther died about five years ago.

How­ever, he only re­alised it did not be­long to his grand­fa­ther when he took a closer look at the in­scrip­tion three years ago.

An ex-ser­vice­man him­self, Mr Atkins pub­lished a no­tice on the ‘Medals Gone Miss­ing’ web­site, then re­cruited the help of the RSL to track down Ma­jor McAdam’s de­scen­dants.

Mr Hol­land said Ger­ald­ton his­to­rian Ni­cole Ed­wards re­searched the sol­dier’s fam­ily and tracked him down.

While nei­ther Mr Hol­land nor his si­b­lings knew about the medals, they have learnt their grand­fa­ther re­ceived an­other two.

He said re­ceiv­ing the medal had mo­ti­vated him to learn more about his grand­fa­ther and he hoped they could track down the other medals.

Mr Hol­land said his grand­fa­ther was born in Syd­ney and moved to Perth in about 1910.

“When he en­listed, he was sent to New Guinea be­cause at the time the Ger­mans were in New Guinea,” he said.

“He stayed in the army un­til 1921 (then) he ap­plied to be the district of­fi­cer.”

He lived there with his wife Madeline and daugh­ters, in­clud­ing Mr Hol­land’s mother Frances, born in 1921, and con­tin­ued in that role un­til the Ja­panese in­va­sion in 1942.

“At the time of the Ja­panese in­va­sion of New Guinea, he es­caped in a boat with a num­ber of other Aus­tralians,” Mr Hol­land said.

“It was a scary jour­ney back to Aus­tralia.

“Ja­panese Zero air­craft flew over their boat on sev­eral oc­ca­sions to in­ves­ti­gate.

“They pre­tended to be lo­cals who were out fish­ing. They were for­tu­nate to not be strafed.

“He died in 1951; that was about three months be­fore I was born.”

The pub­lic servant said it felt more sig­nif­i­cant the medal was re­turned to Ma­jor McAdam’s de­scen­dents in the lead-up to the Armistice Cen­te­nary on Novem­ber 11.

“It is 100 years since the end of World War I and the medal is fi­nally go­ing back to Tom McAdam’s fam­ily.”

Ma­jor Thomas Leo McAdam.

d487870 John Hol­land with grand­fa­ther Thomas Leo McAdam's medal. Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey

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