Kevin Smalley with the First World War medal he found as a 13-year-old boy. He will return it to the recipient’s family this weekend.
Kevin Smalley with the First World War medal he found as a 13-year-old boy. He will return it to the recipient’s family this weekend. Tony Martin

Family member to travel 2800km to collect lost war medal

A MEDAL that was lost but stayed in safe hands for more than 55 years, will finally make its way home this weekend.

As a 13-year-old boy Kevin Smalley stumbled across the First World War medal when he was "scrounging" through a dump 55 years ago.

The 68-year-old now can't quite remember at which dump he found the medal, but he said it was either the Seaforth or Eton dump.

"I gave it to my mother because she had a collection of medals and badges from the war years," he said.

Thirty years ago his mother passed the collection on to him and Kevin started wearing the medal at Anzac Day ceremonies.

"I just thought somebody had to out of respect for this man," he said.

Four years ago his curiosity got the better of him and Kevin started researching in a bid to find who the medal belonged to.

He discovered it was given to Acting Corporal Frank Elworthy on July 13, 1918, for "bravery in the field".

Frank Elworthy later became a sergeant.

Kevin has tracked down one of the war hero's relatives who will be travelling to Mackay from Darwin this weekend to reclaim the medal for her family.

"She is very excited," he said.

With help from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Kevin was also able to discover that original medal was stolen from Frank Elworthy in England.

"Frank Elworthy put in an application for another medal and this, I believe, is the second medal that was handed to him," he said.

Kevin also believes the Elworthys may have lived in the Mackay region at some point, with one of the memorial fig trees at Pleystowe named for an Elworthy.

But more to this mystery will be discovered this weekend when Kevin finally gets to meet a member of the Elworthy family.

"I'm sure she'll put it in a place of pride because she's so excited," he said.



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