Great-uncle's World War I medal returned to family

KEVIN Brookman was “flabbergasted” when he received a family heirloom thought to be lost.

Chrissie Stancliffe and Kevin Brookman with Ernie Sing’s medal from World War I.

Chrissie Stancliffe and Kevin Brookman with Ernie Sing’s medal from World War I.

Mr Brookman was presented with a war medal that belonged to his great-uncle Ernie Sing, who fought in World War I.

He met with Chrissie Stancliffe last week, who had been in possession of the 1914-15 Star that had been passed down through her family. 

“I was just flabbergasted when the lady from Bacchus Marsh handed me the medal,” Mr Brookman said.

“We had been getting a lady to look into our family tree and she said ‘you better come in, Kevin. Be well-dressed’.” 

“I just couldn’t believe it.” 

Mr Sing was a private in the 31st Infantry Battalion during World War I. He enlisted in Ballarat at age 23 and his battalion fought in France and Egypt.

Ms Stancliffe had been given the medal, which was discovered in the bottom of a bag belonging to her grandfather, Alf James. 

It is believed Mr Sing and Mr James were friends, however it is not known how the medal came into Mr James’ possession. 

“It was just fantastic to be able to see that something had gone home, especially because it’s Ballarat history,” Ms Stancliffe said.

Ms Stancliffe said she had studied her own family history extensively, but had never made such a discovery. 

“The Chinese were definitely part of Ballarat history and our war history,” she said.

“We were lucky Ernie’s name was on the back of the medal so we could trace it through all the war history that is online.”

The connection was made through Ballarat Chinese Community Association vice-president Shirley Doon, who had been asked by another historical society if she knew the Sing family.

The medal was on display at the Ballarat Town Hall as part of an exhibit displaying Chinese history during Heritage Weekend.

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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