Soldier’s World War II medal lost from a flapping suitcase in the 1950s found by prospector in park
A World War II medal that was lost after it flew out of a suitcase somewhere between Adelaide and Melbourne has turned up underground near Melbourne’s city centre.
Prospector Andrew Lawless dug up a World War II service medal — a 1939-1945 Star — at Royal Park, near Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.
The name CW Robinson adorns the medal and after extensive research Mr Lawless and his wife Taryn discovered its owner was Charles William Robinson, born on February 22, 1917, in Mildura.
In trying to find the medal’s rightful owner, the couple believe they have uncovered a serendipitous tale.
Mr Lawless said research had revealed that Mr Robinson was driving his car from Adelaide to his home in Mildura when he lost the medals.
“His suitcase on top of the roof of his car flew open so all of his personal belongings, as in war medals and paperwork flew out — so how I’ve come across this is quite unbelievable,” Mr Lawless said.
“Online you see that he applied to get duplicate medals made. Back in 1951 he applied for them and got them in 1953.
“I think the family would have duplicates, but for me to find the real one, the original, considering he had lost them, is quite amazing.”
Mr Lawless said Mr Robinson had enlisted in Darwin on July 21, 1943 and was discharged on December 4, 1945.
“It’s actually quite a funny story — the further you dig deeper into this medal and who owned it — the story just gets better and better to be honest,” he said.
“He was actually born in Mildura, but enlisted in Darwin, and ended up in living in South Australia for a little bit, then moving back to Mildura and was cremated in Townsville.
“He was one for adventure, I dare say.”
Searching for descendants
Mr Lawless said the internet had been a vital tool in researching the medal.
“You think you’ve uncovered the best and then something else pops up. How he’s dropped it in that spot or someone else has, I don’t know,” he said.
“You could probably come up with 100 different stories, but he would only know the real one.
“It’s been quite unbelievable actually.
“We put it on social media on Saturday night and we’ve had a phenomenal amount of interest [and leads to]paths we’ve been given to try and chase up the fellow.”
Mr Lawless said he would like to pass the medal on to Mr Robinson’s family but finding them was difficult, given the soldier was born in 1917.
“We’re trying to chase up nieces and nephews and the like, but it’s a bit of wild goose chase but we’ve got the feelers out,” he said.
“He had two sisters who were born and bred in Mildura and I believe they passed away in the Mildura area.”
Mr Lawless said any family members of Mr Robinson could contact him through Facebook to get in touch.
He said his hobby of metal detecting had led him to many old war camps, looking for coins and relics.
“I’ve come across Rising Sun badges and shoulder flashes, and old coins — the oldest coin I’ve found at this particular camp is from 1812, an old silver shilling, but nothing I can tie to anyone personally,” he said.