War medals stolen from a Kurri home three years ago have been returned to their rightful owners, just in time for Anzac Day.
Doug and Maureen Watterson were thrilled to hear from Raymond Terrace police last week that the medals – which originally belonged to Mr Watterson’s late father – had been found.
Police told the Wattersons a landlord had found them in a property that had been abandoned by a tenant, and handed them in.
“We went straight out there and got them,” Mr Watterson said.
The collection included Carl Faragher Watterson’s service and victory medals from World War I and II, plus an insignia and a whistle from his time as a warrant officer.
The medals were still in the bag that had been stored in the top of a cupboard at the Wattersons’ home, which was broken into on May 25, 2013.
The thieves also made off with a TV, laptop, jewellery and watches at the time.
“They wouldn’t have had any idea what they were taking,” Mrs Watterson said.
“It was up in the top of the wardrobe, so they must have thought it was important.
“They would have got a shock when they opened it.”
One of six children (three of whom are still alive), Mr Watterson became the custodian of his father’s war medals after he passed away in 1982.
“I am so pleased to get them back,” he said.
“We had done the rounds of all the people who dealt in medals.”
Carl Faragher Watterson was born in South Africa on August 22, 1894, and spent his childhood in the Isle of Man, before relocating to Australia in 1912 in search of prosperity.
“He never made his fortune, but he did a lot of good,” Mr Watterson said.
Living in Bundaberg at the time, CF Watterson enlisted with the 4th Pioneer Battalion, Reinforcement 5 on April 22, 1916.
The unit embarked from Brisbane on board HMAT A49 Seang Choon on September 19 that year.
He served with the 26th Battalion in France, and returned to Australia on September 23, 1919.
When World War II came around he signed up again, earning the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2.
A Sydney tram driver for the rest of his working life, CF Watterson retired to Maclean on the Clarence River.
He passed away on July 17, 1982, at the age of 87.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.