Jump to content

Looking for information and flying virtually blind.

Recommended Posts

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

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
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Blog Comments

    • George Macdonald Fraser describes tea as "The British Army's cure for anything except a stomach wound."   Partial to Earl Grey, meself.  Used to be a tea drinker until Law School, where we had no cafeteria, only vending machines.  Awful as vending machine coffee is, their tea is worse.   Michael
    • Now it looks like I may see my exhibition for the first time in 19 months.   This year is the 65th Anniversary of the Suez Crisis, which culminated in Lester B. Pearson's invention of Peacekeeping, as opposed to Military Observers.   So the Museum will record a video of me discussing this.
    • I've never been able to stick to one theme.   One of my latest is women in the military.  For about ten years from 1952 to 1962, the RCAF actively recruited women to "man" the radar lines protecting against a Soviet attack.   During the Second War, women of the Auxiliary Territorial Service were attached to Royal Artillery Anti-Aircraft Batteries, called Mixed Batteries. They did spotting and tracking, plus communications, while the Gunners loaded and fired.  
    • Two years down the line.   My mother-in-law passed away this summer, as did one of her sisters-in-law.   My exhibition opened, and we had a marvellous speakers' night with four Peacekeeping veterans, including a Meritorious Service Medal winner.  But Covid closed it down in March 2020, and while still there it hasn't reopened.
    • Sounds great other than the Orange & Mango squash only because I prefer cran-pomegranate juice.
  • Create New...