Social media helps return stolen World War II relic

ABC North Coast

By Samantha Turnbull, Justine Frazier and Pam MacIntosh

Posted

November 02, 2016 14:31:35
Lost camera on its way to Germany thanks to Facebook
Map:
Nimbin 2480
(Supplied: Richmond Local Area Command) Photo:
The record of service book was found at a Nimbin property by police.
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He said Ms Meleng had died in 1978 and Mr Slee died in 1957.They had two children, who Dr Marks will attempt to contact so the book can be passed on again.”They [Lismore Police] will send it down to the Balmain Police Station and I’ll take possession there,” Dr Marks said.”I will take possession of it and then try to pass it to closer relatives of Richard’s if I can find them.”Dr Marks said his research had also revealed Mr Slee reached the rank of lieutenant in the 7th Division of the Australian Army, and served from 1939 to 1948.His profession was listed as ‘wool expert’ and he had a keen interest in horse racing. A World War II soldier’s record of service book is en route to the relatives of its former owner after it was stolen then found by police at a home in the northern New South Wales town of Nimbin.The book originally belonged to Richard Slee, who was born in Broken Hill and moved to Adelaide before he enlisted in 1940.Senior Constable David Henderson, from the Richmond Local Area Command, said the book was found last Thursday but police had had no luck in tracking down its rightful owner.”If it was my grandfather I’d be absolutely fascinated by this service book and I’d really want it,” Senior Constable Henderson said.”I’m sure there’s someone out there who would give their eye teeth to have this book.”Police put the call out on Facebook for help and were surprised by the response.”We’ve had 18,000 people look at it and a lot of people have taken it upon themselves to become sleuths,” Senior Constable Henderson said. Ms Kinghorn said she was pleased to have a played a part in helping the book find the family.”I spend a couple of hours a week doing family research and finding out who belongs to who,” she said. One of the sleuths intrigued by the post was Deirdre Kinghorn, from Orange in the NSW central-west.Ms Kinghorn said she was originally from Broken Hill, so she began by calling a few of her local contacts.”A few people said ‘Yes, there are Slees in Broken Hill’ so I tagged a few people [on Facebook],” she said.”I went into ancestry.com and typed in Richard Mervin Slee, Broken Hill and the date, and I came up with Robert Marks, and within a day he got back to me.”

Photo:
Richard Slee served in the army from 1939 to 1948. (Supplied: Richmond Local Area Command)
Dr Marks, an amateur genealogist from Sydney’s Balmain, was a distant cousin of Mr Slee’s wife, Gwendoline Meleng.
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