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.’’