HISTORY UNCOVERED: Sean Charlston points to a Second World War 1939–45 Star, similar to the one his father uncovered.
HISTORY UNCOVERED: Sean Charlston points to a Second World War 1939–45 Star, similar to the one his father uncovered. Patrick Woods

Mystery Good Samaritan found after war medal returned

THE mystery Good Samaritan who graciously handed a lost war medal in to the Gympie RSL sub-branch has come forward.

Gympie man Sean Charlston dropped the Second World War 1939-45 Star into the sub-branch some weeks ago but didn't leave his name.

While the family of medal recipient 25th Battalion Sergeant Ivor Vivian Haines was tracked down by the sub-branch, questions about the award only multiplied, starting with who handed it in and where was it found.

They were questions Sgt Haines' family hoped would help with their search for answers about how the medal was lost by the family and decades later dug up in the Gympie region.

And the answers are now here.

The mystery medal was uncovered by Sean's father Leon Charlston when he was re-surfacing the laundry floor under his home on Rifle Range Rd.

As he was digging he came across the medal, buried just 20cm under soil, where it's thought to have been for decades.

"I just brushed it off and read it and washed it off with soapy water," Leon said.

He said he knew it was important and had to be passed on to the right people, and when his son Sean dropped in he offered to take it to the RSL sub-branch.

"We knew it was important straight-up and we had to hand it in," Sean said.

And while it was a simple trip to Mary St for Sean, what would come next was completely unexpected.

Not only was Sgt Haines' family tracked down and given the medal, but a region-wide search for Sean began after the family and the sub-branch expressed - via a story in The Gympie Times - their desire to meet him and see if he could provide something else - answers.

For years the family, including grandson Nicholas, had accounted for three of Stg Haines' medals, however, news of a fourth was not only a surprise but highly appreciated.

The unexpected return of the medal was so appreciated in fact that Nicholas and his family did all they could to try and figure out how the medal could have been lost in Gympie for so many years.

"It would be wonderful if my family could find out exactly where the medal was dug up," Mr Haines said.

"We have no record of who in the family received the medal from the Department of Defence, and on what date, and how it might have fallen to the ground one day and became covered in earth."

Despite tracing family history back to the Gympie region, the Haines family was unable to account for the medal's whereabouts, so finding out from mystery man Sean where he had picked it up gave the family hope in tracing its history.

Sean and his father got wind of The Gympie Times story, which ran on the front page earlier this month, and contacted the sub-branch.

While there is still more investigating to be done by the family, the news of where the medal had been found could be the key to finding out its secrets.

The Haines family and sub-branch are looking into who had lived in the Rifle Range Rd home prior to Mr Charlston, who bought the home about eight years ago, in the hope a previous resident could provide a link to the Haines family, who did live in the region some years ago.

Gympie Times

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