Family reunited with war badge

Charles Edwin Robertson, of the 21st Platoon 1st Battalion, 7th Reinforcements in France in September 1916, third row, ...
Supplied by IAN MARTYN

Charles Edwin Robertson, of the 21st Platoon 1st Battalion, 7th Reinforcements in France in September 1916, third row, third from right and his brother John Robertson, fourth row, second from left.

When Neil Robertson received an email from two history enthusiasts who were keen to reunite a Returned Soldiers Association badge with his family, he was confused. 

"We didn't know about it."

Southland history buff Iain Davidson found the badge, belonging to Neil's grandfather Charles Edwin Robertson, in an antique store. 

Davidson contacted Ian Martyn, a Kiwi army veteran who runs the website Medals Reunited New Zealand, a free service that helped reunite war medals with soldiers descendants.

Together the pair looked through service records and archives to identify who the badge belonged to, and to locate any living relatives.  

Stamped on the back of the badge was the regimental number – 8/3051, making it fairly easy identify the original owner, Private Robertson, Martyn said. 

Charles Robertson was the youngest of three brothers who served in World War I. 

Charles and his brother, Private John Christopher Robertson, were both posted to the Western Front, fighting in the battles of Flers and Morval at the Somme.

Charles was reported "missing" on September 27, 1916. He was found with severe gunshot wounds to his back, right arm and right leg and was immediately evacuated to a field hospital in France and then transferred to a hospital in Birmingham, England. 

In January 1917, he was declared "no longer fit for war service on account of wounds received in action" and on June 11, 1917, he returned to family home at Browns.

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He was the only one who ever came home, his two brothers both died on the battlefield. 

Neil said he was excited to be reunited with his grandfather's badge.

Martyn and Davidson had found him and his family through the Auckland Museum online cenotaph, Neil said.

His grandfather had died before he was born. That made the war memorabilia even more important because it was all Neil knew about him.

The family had no idea how the badge found its way into an antique store, Neil said. 

The family was in possession of all the other war medals awarded to Charles and his brothers. 

"It's a bit of a mystery."

 - Stuff

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