Serendipity

Seven years ago, I posted this photo of my grand father on Shorpy.

Private J.E. McIntosh

Private J.E. McIntosh

I hadn’t bothered to check back to see if there were comment. As luck would have it, I happened to check back last week and found a comment from a military enthusiast and collector of memorabilia who informed me that he thought he had my grandfather’s WWI medals. He bought them on eBay and wondered if I wanted to have them. Did I?!! Panic ensued when I noticed that the comment was left last year!

I immediately emailed him and was relieved to know that not only did he still have the medals, they ARE my grandfather’s, and that, yes, he would part with them!

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The medals are on their way. I’m not sure how they eBay but either they were given to one of his sisters and ended up in contents for sale or, and this is very likely, were “liberated” by the removals man my mother’s aunt engaged to pack my mother’s belongings when she emigrated to Canada in 1953. There were two removals companies in Dumfries, brothers. They owned different companies. One was less than reputable and my mother told her aunt to go to the other one. Apparently, she got confused and went to the first one. He packed some of her stuff, piling china in tea crates with too little packing material and burned what books and papers of her father’s that she had not. Much of what HAD been packed ended up falling on the dock im Montreal and into the St. Lawrence River or was smashed in transit. I suspect he may have sold some of the belongings, including the medals.

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Interesting!

I had come across my mother’s Soldier’s Record and pay Book from her days in the Women’s Royal Army Corps, last night. Amongst the documents accompanying it was the receipts tor the announcement of her appointment to 2nd Lieutenant in the WRAC, to appear in the London Gazette Supplement.

I’d not heard of the London Gazette but figured that it was just another newspaper.

From what I can tell, it is actually where announcements from all over the UK, and historically, all over the British Empire, were printed. Everything from insolvency to announcements of the settlement of wills and the appointment to military positions.

I started out by looking for the announcement of my mother’s military appointment (which I found as well as her appointment to the same rank in the Reserves in 1953. Then I found the announcement of her cousin George’s appointment to the same rank. I started looking for the names of other relations and then tried the name Dubash, my step-Dad’s surname, and Shroff, (or Schroff) his mother’s maiden name. There were a few people with the surname Dubash and a few with the surname Shroff. However, the bulk of the entries, some going back to the 1790s, are for the occupation of Dubash (basically a “facilitator” – someone who acts as the agent for a ship or company to arrange for everything from offloading cargo, arranging the sale of cargo, ships chandler….) or Shroff (collector, as in debt or loan collector).

I’m not sure how many people are aware of the Gazette but it would be a resource for anyone doing genealogy research.

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