THOMAS BIRKBY CANNON — UPDATE

UPDATE – Reunited Cannon medals also reunites a ‘lost’ family member !  

Private Thomas ‘Birk’ Cannon – c1915

This Postscript is definitely a first for Medals Reunited New Zealand©.  Whilst we work hard at reuniting war medals with families or descendants, never have we had the privilege of assisting to reunite a family …. until now !

On January 6th I posted the story of the search and return to family of the ephemera and war medals awarded to Thomas Birkby Cannon. (to read, click here)  Yesterday I received a very heart warming follow-up call from grand-daughter Lorraine who related a most unexpected consequence of reuniting Thomas’s medals with his family.

Thomas Cannon and his twin sister May were two of nine siblings, the youngest sister being Beatrice Dorothy Cannon born in 1901.  Beatrice grew up in Wanganui and once she was of working age moved away from home.  She was last heard from in the mid 1920 and at that time was resident in Wellington.  In due course an independent Beatrice gave birth to a son Paul, in 1929.   However in 1935 Beatrice died unexpectedly at the aged of 34 when young Paul was barely 5 years old. Beatrice’s sudden and untimely death resulted in young Paul being adopted by a childless family in Wellington.

Fast forward to 2017  >>>>  Paul is now 88 years young and a resident of Napier.

In 2016 the Wanganui Chronicle published a plea from Lorraine’s for any information that would help her to locate her grandfather Thomas Birkby Cannon’s missing war medals which had last been seen in the family around 1988.  Also accompanying the article was a photograph of Thomas in uniform wearing his medals. 

Unknown to Lorraine,  a cousin also living in Wanganui, and who had known of Paul and of his whereabouts for many years, had seen the Chronicle article and decided to send a copy to Paul.

Paul had been endeavoring for some years to put the pieces of his mother’s genealogical puzzle together in an effort to locate her family but his detective work to date had resulted in very few leads.  Once he had read the newspaper article and saw the photo of Thomas Cannon that he had been sent, Paul was able to finally make the connection between his mother and the Cannon family of Wanganui.   The telephone White Pages would hopefully put him in touch with the author of the newspaper article, Thomas’s grand daughter Lorraine. 

Thinking he was telephoning Lorraine, Paul placed a call however in fact had made contact with the cousin who had sent him the article.  As it happened Lorraine and her cousin both had the same initials however Paul was not to know that Lorraine’s telephone number was actually unlisted.  Once this was realized, Lorraine’s cousin put Paul on the right track and in contact with her.  At long last Paul was able to confirm his ancestral relationship to his mother’s Cannon family.

Paul is making the journey from Napier to Wanganui this week for what will no doubt prove to be an emotional and enlightening first reunion with most of his mother’s biological family members.  To say that Lorraine and her family are a little apprehensive but also very excited at the prospect of meeting Paul and hearing the story of his ‘journey’ would be an understatement …

Welcome home Paul.

To read the original story, click here

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