Medals reunited with family
When Umina local, Mr Ian Wilkes, opened a box of war memorabilia belonging to his late father, little would he know he would set up an emotional reunion in central western NSW.
In amongst his father's medals and mementos, he found a mysterious set of honours under another veteran's name, Private Vivian Huckel, who served in Darwin during World War II.
Mr Wilkes happened to mention the find during a chance meeting with Senator Deborah O'Neill, which set off a search in her office that wound up in the former goldmining town of Grenfell.
It was there that Vivian's brother, Ron, was found.
Senator O'Neill reunited the medals and the Huckel family on April 21.
Apart from the reunion, the story leaves more questions than answers.
How did Ian's dad Mr Noel Wilkes, who served at Fort Scratchley in Newcastle, come to be in possession of the medals awarded to Vivian, who hailed from Pullabooka near Forbes and was stationed in Darwin.
"It is a mystery that endures," Senator O'Neill said.
"But it was, for me, wonderful to play a part in returning the medals to Ron and the family."
Media release, 13 Apr 2017
Scott Coomber, Office of Deborah O'Neill
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