As time goes on. these very people often start to put their past into perspective and remember the good times along with the bad.
Many were permanently damaged by their experiences and/or didn't want to talk about it.
This is often a blank page in a family's history. Some research will help our understanding and why we should pay tribute to their memories.
The medals are a visual reminder, honouring their sacrifice and service.
In some cases medals have been issued over 50 years after the event. Some medals have been upgraded and for others the qualification for the award has been changed. For example most conscripts who went to Vietnam originally had two medals - they now normally have five.
The two main internet sites to look at are the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia.
For WWI on the NAA site go to the conflict involved and the service and then do a name search. The service number is more direct than given names especially if the name is fairly common.
OR go to "Discovering ANZACS" for Boer War and WWI - use the place of birth or residence at enlistment to help your search if you don't know the number.
The last or second last page of the 1st World War Service records will give you the medal entitlement. Any medal that has N.E. written on it means that the person was not entitled to it. Other awards, Mentions in Despatches, Silver war badges (if invalided out) and Memorial plaques (if died as a result of war) will be noted on this page.
PHOTO F (OF LAST PAGE OF WWI RECORDS)
Later records do not have service medal entitlements on them. If you are unsure of entitlements or unclaimed medals go to 'Honours and Awards', follow the prompts and find the appropriate forms.
To make a claim for unissued medals you should be the spouse or oldest surviving child or grandchild etc.
Lost medals that have been issued cannot be reclaimed unless you are the original recipient, although some exceptions have been made following natural disasters such as
the Victorian fires or the Queensland floods.