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I originally discovered this forum while researching my Grandfathers German medals (GSWA), and have returned hoping to find some guidance in my search for information on another relative who served in WW1 in the South African armed forces.

My Grandmother's uncle Joseph Styles was an elderly gentleman when I knew him as a small child, so my information is limited to that gleaned as a child only. There was a group of medals (mounted on a bar) consisting of between 6 and 9 medals sitting in my Grandmothers sideboard, these were referred to as "Joey's medals" and remained behind the locked glass door always.

My parents emigrated to Australia when I was 16 in 1982 ( a number of years after Uncle Joey had passed away 1973 - 1974) and the medals were still in that sideboard. However, following my Grandmothers passing, and sometime during the next few years those medals were discarded or lost. My parents generation being pacifists had no respect or understanding of what those medals mean, and when I queried their whereabouts were unable to even remember them being there. Basically they threw them in the trash when cleaning out the house. The address of the family home, which Joey lived in prior to enlistment (the family bought it in 1910) and subsequently until he passed away in the 1970's is:

67 Kitchener Ave

Bez Valley


I have no information regarding what unit he enlisted in, nor the extent of his service. All I know is the medals existed, and that when he met my Dad, he immediately befriended him upon discovery that they (Joey and my German Grandfather) had been at many of the same GSWA battlefields.

What I am hoping to discover is some form of documentation that can tie together his name to his unit, and hopefully some way to identify what those medals on that rack were.

Any guidance is appreciated.

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It is unfortunate that medals do often get thrown out. It is a reality that people have different focusses and it may be a collector who appreciates them more than a family, or one family member who appreciates them more than the recipient or another family member. But at least you know they were there and have a chance to get the information on him.

First, if he was in WW1 and served overseas he would have got the following:

  1. 1914/15 Star, if he served between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915. Likely for GSWA and still possible for GEA.
  2. From there he would have automatically qualified for these too:
    1. British War Medal if he entered an active theatre of war, or left the United Kingdom for service overseas, between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918, and completed 28 days mobilised service. So if in GSWA or GEA he would have got it too, or if he went to France he would have got it.
    2. Victory Medal if he was in a theatre of war.

Now to find out more about them his unit would help, but you could try a researcher such as Dewald Nel (dewald@nelantiques.co.za) who may be able to help.

I am not sure if you can search Medal Index Cards for South Africans but if you can then you can find his unit, if you can find his name, and hopefully there aren't too many identical names.

Good luck!


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You'll need someone to check the records in Pretoria and as Ryan says, if his name isn't too common there should be a chance of finding him. Knowing his pre-enlistment address will help if several men have the same name.

I've used Audrey Portman at rhino.research@icon.co.za in the past.

Good luck.


Edited by Tony

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Thank you Ryan & Tony, 


That gives me somewhere to start. Much appreciation indeed.

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