LAST month we covered a story about a miraculous find in a western Sydney warehouse. Local pest control and removalist, Jason Edwards, found a set of World War One British war medals stashed in the wall of a kingswood warehouse. this week those medals were returned to their rightful owners.
After finding the medals, Mr Edwards put pictures of them on facebook. His post was shared hundreds of times worldwide and eventually the rightful heir to the medals, a man in England, contacted Mr Edwards claiming to be the great nephew of the original owner.
the medals belonged to Harry Watson, a submarine Petty Officer who worked as a stoker during the Great War, who came to call western Sydney home after the war.
On Monday, this week, the granddaughter of Harry Watson came to collect the medals from the Penrith RSL.
Jenny Connell, her husband tony and her son rob came to collect the medals from the RSL subbranch whilst on holidays in Australia.
Mrs Connell was amazed at the discovery.
“It is interesting isn’t it? I don’t know how to look at it.
“He went off, and if he didn’t, our whole lives would be different,” she said.
Because of the distance, both physically and emotionally, between Harry Watson and Mrs Connell, she said she felt a little removed from it all.
“It is odd because it is so far removed,” she said.
Mrs Connell’s father, the son of Harry Watson, was adopted by his uncle and aunt, the bother of Mr Watson, though she said her father never spoke about his thoughts on his biological father.
Tony Connell said it was great to be able to look at the story from such a close angle.
“We’re able to sit here, looking at this as a human interest story, and everything that involves, and we’re part of it,” he said.
Before returning the medals to the Connell’s the RSL subbranch cleaned them and returned them with freshly refurbished ribbons.
Through research conducted by the subbranch, Harry Watson came to Australia in 1919 on board a submarine. Once in Sydney he decided to leave his family in the UK and stayed in Australia, leaving Mrs Connell’s father with Mr Watson’s brother.
Mr Watson found another wife whilst in australia and from time to time picked up work with the Royal Australian Navy. at some time he moved to western Sydney where he died in 1950. He is buried in St Marys cemetery.