Nelson RSA president Barry Pont with some of the First World War medals that have been donated over the years. He’s holding a Gallipoli medal. Photo: Andrew Board.

RSA to return WWI medals to families

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First World War medals donated to the Nelson RSA are being given back to the families of the local men and women who earned them.

Nelson RSA is now on a search to find the descendants, who could be spread across the country, after the RSA executive voted to hand back the medals to help commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landings next year.

Nelson RSA president Barry Pont says the medals were donated decades ago and he feels it’s the right time to give them back to the families. “We felt that, rather than sit in our archives, they should be distributed back to the immediate families of the veterans and there will be some exciting stories once the families do get in touch.”

Families will have to prove they are the direct descendants because the medals are worth several hundred dollars each, but Barry says he’d love to see some of the medals being worn at next year’s Anzac Day services. “We want to see them worn and, with a bit of research and publicity, hopefully we’ll find the right people.”

The names of the men and women who earned the medals are: Norman Andrews, Lionel Matthews, Percy Sargisson, Robert Houghton, Francis Holyoake, Percy Nisbett, William Sheppard, Harold Emms, Charles Emms and Eleanor Child.

If you’d like to get in touch with the Nelson RSA about the medals, call Barry Pont on 548 5024.