CHARLES ROBERT GRATWICK ~ Deceased Estate medals of UK migrant reunited with descendant during visit to NZ.


Polson McMillan (PM) is a Dunedin law firm.  One of PM consultant experts in family and property law is Helen Davidson from whom I received a letter in January 2016 regarding the Estate of Miss Christine Bertha GRATWICK, a 91 year old unmarried lady of Dunedin who had died at the Yvette Williams Rest Home on 12 January 2015. 

Bertha Grace (nee Ross) and Charles R. Gratwick, c1938

Miss Gratwick had been the only child of Charles Robert Gratwick and Bertha Grace ROSS.   Charles Gratwick had died in Nov 1950 aged 66, and his wife Bertha had passed away five years later in May 1955 aged 70.  Their daughter Christine, a clerical worker, had lived at home with her parents all her life until both had died.  She then took a new residence in Mornington Road until residential care at the Yvette Williams Rest Home was necessary during her advanced years.

When Miss Gratwick died, other than effects which she herself had allocated away, no specific beneficiary or next of kin was named in her will for some of the remaining personal items – papers, photographs etc.  In cases such as these, an Executor winding up the estate would usually put any unclaimed items of value out to public auction to offset the company’s and funeral director costs. 

In the case of Christine Gratwick, the reason for no next of kin or a specific beneficiary of her estate being named was simple – Christine was an only child and therefore the last surviving Gratwick descendant of her father Charles’s family lineage that had started in Surrey, England and ended in New Zealand.


Helen Davidson of PM advised me that among Miss Gratwick’s unspecified personal belongings were two war WW1 medals – a British War Medal and Victory Medal both named to Miss Gratwick’s father – 8/3909 CPL C. R. GRATWICK N.Z.E.F.    The medals were in new condition, in their original boxes and unused.  In addition Cpl. Gratwick’s Returned Soldiers Badge and two Loyalty medallions (5 & 10 years ), papers and photographs were among Miss Gratwick’s unclaimed estate effects.

Recognising the importance that the war medals were likely to have in a country’s military history, Helen decided to seek the advice from a local historian and one time curator of the Otago Settlers Museum, Sean Brosnahan, regarding the best options for disposal of the medals.  Fortunately I had had some prior dealings with Sean who being aware of MRNZ service of reuniting war medals with families, suggested Helen approach us to see if we could locate the descendant family of Charles Gratwick in the UK.  Helen contacted me and forwarded the medals together with a photograph of Corporal Charles Gratwick in uniform, and a letter of explanation.

Charles Gratwick’s WW1 medals and badges

After nearly two years of researching the Gratwick family in the UK, chasing leads and waiting for information, I finally located Robert’s descendant family.  To do this I first had to piece together a good portion of the Gratwick family tree, their subsequent lives and movements in order to find a close living connection.


The story of Charles Gratwick and his family is rather unique (and interesting) in that it appeared quite disconnected with each sibling choosing a very different path in life.  Whilst Charles’s war service in itself was uneventful, I have outlined each of his siblings lives in order to provide some context for how the family collectively evolved and ultimately, ceased to exist.

Charles Robert Gratwick was born in East Dulwich, London in Oct 1884.  The son of Master Butcher John Gratwick (1843-1918) as was his father Edward before him, the Gratwicks operated a Butchery at 45 Lordship Lane, Camberwell in Lewisham, South London from about 1885.  The shop is still in there however is now an optician’s premises.  John’s wife Jessie Shaw YOUNG (1850 -1931), a native of Perth, Ayrshire in Scotland was mother to their six children all of whom were born in East Dulwich – John jnr (1876-1956), Christine (1876-1952), Edward (1878-1963), Ernest (1884-1951), Jessie Elizabeth (1882-1968), and Charles Robert (1884-1950) Gratwick.

Whilst still running the Lordship Lane butchery, by 1901 the family had relocated to 112 Lewisham Road in Deptford, some 25 meters from the butchery.  Whilst the boys had been employed in their father’s butcher shop as both casual workers and apprentice butchers (John Jnr. and Ernest), the butchery business would not become the occupation of choice for the next generation of Gratwicks.  By 1911 the remaining Gratwick family re-located once more to make 116 Manor Park, Lees, Lewisham the family’s home for the remaining days of John and Jessie Gratwick.


Eldest son John Gratwick was the first to leave home for new horizons and took a job as a Railways Clerk in London (he would later be joined by brothers Ernest and Charles.)  John stayed with the British Railways and in Mar 1903 at age 28, emigrated to Canada where he had secured a position with the headquarters of Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) company in the Department of Resources which was located in Calgary, Alberta.  John found great success in the fledgling railway company and became a leader in the R & D field for CPR.  Other than for the occasional trip back to England, John remained a dedicated company man, and bachelor living in Calgary for the whole of his life.  Indeed his crowning achievement with CPR was as the founding Chairman of Transport Canada’s original Transportation Development Agency.   John Gratwick, very much a pioneer to the province of Albert when he arrived (as his younger brother Ernest would also become), was an innovator of improvements to the Canadian rail network and a very highly regarded “old timer of the district”, as his obituary called him in January 1956 when John passed away.  John Gratwick was 81.


Edward Gratwick (1878-1963) was the next to leave home.  Having worked for his father from and early age and a recently qualified butcher, Edward had also been an enthusiastic part-time, territorial militia soldier with the Kent Artillery Militia.  Edward very soon decided the military life was what he really wanted to do and so at 18 years and 4 months of age on 11 Nov 1897,  he enlisted for a period of Short Service (7 years Regular and 4 years Reserve service) in the regular Army at Chatham Barracks in Kent.   

WW1 -1st & 2nd Battalions, Royal Warwickshire Regt. cap badge

M2/188429 Private Edward Gratwick, Army Service Corps (ASC) joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (RWR) and within 18 months was readying himself for his first period of overseas war service.  In 1901 the Regiment was deployed to Malta for mounted infantry training and then on to South Africa for active service against the rebellious Boers, in the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902).   During service in South Africa Pte. Gratwick had been promoted to Lance Corporal and then to Corporal, however a Field Court Martial reduced him to the ranks for disobeying a lawful command from a Military Police Sergeant.  Edward was also anticipating a substantial fine, loss of pay and his Good Conduct Badge (more pay) however in his defence, his Officer Commanding Officer highly recommended mercy due to the situation not being entirely of Edward’s making – accordingly his fine was quashed, no pay was docked however his rank was not reinstated – he was to remain a Private soldier.  For his service he was awarded:  Queen’s South Africa Medal with Clasps: Cape Colony, Transvaal and South Africa 1902.

Pte. Gratwick returned to England safely and after completing his Short Service contract with the Army, signed on for a period of permanent regular service with the RWR.  As 5253 Pte. E. Gratwick he was placed with the 2nd Battalion, RWR.  The Regiment was again mobilised at the outbreak of WW1 for active service in both Belgium and France.  Pte. Gratwick again deployed, this time into Belgium in 1914, and then on to France where he remained for the duration of the war.  He again returned to England unscathed (perhaps his 5 foot 5 inch stature helped him to avoid being an obvious target for bullets or shrapnel?), but for the raft of battlefield ailments and the odd social disease soldiers tended to experience under such trying conditions of privation.  Pte. Gratwick returned to England in Feb 1919 and prepared for his final discharged from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, having completed a total of 21 years and 145 days (pensionable) military service.  For his active service during WW1, Pte. Gratwick was awarded: 1914 (Mons) Star with Clasp (Aug-Nov14), British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  In addition he was award 1 Red chevron (wound) and 4 Blue chevrons (years overseas).  Following his military career Edward joined an engineering firm and eventually became one of two directors of an iron moulding works.  Edward Gratwick never married and died aged 76 at Greenwich, London in 1963.


Ernest Gratwick also surrendered his railway clerk’s position, as did his younger brother Charles Robert, and together they both boarded the SS Tunisian in Feb 1908 with the first stop being St John’s and then Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada where they disembarked.  They then travelled overland to Alberta and stayed with their older brother John in Calgary where he was living and working.  Ernest had first come to Canada a year earlier to apply for land (which he got) which was available to migrants but also came with caveats. A government scheme created by with the passing of the Canadian Homestead Act (1872-1918) was an initiative to have the central “prairie” states of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta populated with US and European pioneers.  The scheme gave applicants 160 acres for free to any male farmer who agreed to cultivate at least 40 acres and to build a permanent dwelling within three years. The only cost to the farmer was a $10 administration fee. This condition of “proving up the homestead” was instituted to prevent speculators from gaining control of the land.   Ernest’s land was in the Bow River area, north of Calgary and during the intervening 12 months he had arranged to have built a 9 metre x 7 metre (see plan) dwelling for the princely sum of US$120.00,  plus had had a water well dug that cost US$10.00 – total improvements to the value of US$130.00!   This was sufficient proof development for the Act administrators and Ernest was issued his free title of ownership for the farm. 

A typical house plan for those applying for land under the “Homestead Act” – 1907

Ernest took time away from his farm to enlist for war service in England just prior to WW1.  He had previouslyserved with the London territorial artillery unit.  4755 Sgt. Ernest Gratwick Royal Field Artillery (Territorial) London whilst back in England, and somewhat unexpectedly, got married in 1916 to Ruth Marian BENSTED at Croydon.  Sgt. Gratwick was subsequently called up for full-time duty in France however was transferred from Artillery to Ordnance: 051668 Pte. Ernest Gratwick, Army Ordnance Corps.  Ernest returned from France unharmed and was discharged from the BEF in 1919.  He was awarded: British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service.  Ernest and Ruth Gratwick went back to their farm at Bow River, Alberta after the war however continued to visit London whenever possible, usually staying with Ernest’s two sisters, Christine and Jessie, at his Wallgrave Road, Kennsington residence in Earls Court.  After 28 years in Canada, Ernest and Ruth sold the farm at Bow River in 1947, returned to England and retired to Brighton in Sussex.  The couple remained childless and both died at Brighton, Ernest in 1951 (70) and Ruth in 1970 (89).

Royal Field Artillery (RFA)

Army Ordnance Corps hat badge






Charles’s sisters, Christine Gratwick (1876-1952) and Jessie Elizabeth Gratwick (1882-1968) both became school teachers in London area following their primary education.  Both remained spinsters all of their lives, mostly living together until much later in life. Christine Gratwick died at Bournemouth, Dorset aged 76, and Jessie Elizabeth Gratwick at Exeter, Devon aged 86.


Charles Robert Gratwick, the youngest Gratwick sibling, as mention above, joined his brothers John and Ernest as a rail ways clerk.  In Feb 1907 Charles and his brother Ernest boarded the SS Tunisian bound for Canada.  From Halifax, Nova Scotia to St John, overland to Edmonton, Alberta to where Charles and Ernest would eventually meet up with their elder brother John who was a resident of Bonanno in Calgary.  Charles then accompanied Ernest to survey Ernest’s newly acquired farm at Bow River and the recently completed improvements to the property – house and well.

Charles had always planned on going further afield, to New Zealand in fact and in mid 1907, 22 year old Charles left his brothers in Calgary and sailed for Port Chalmers, Dunedin.  Charles’s mother Jessie Shaw Gratwick had made contact with Robert ROSS, a relative and uncle to Charles.  Jessie had asked Robert to assist Charles in adapting to colony life and settling in Dunedin.  Robert Ross’s wife Grace Hay HALKETT [HAY] (1855-1901) was the daughter of Charles Hay HALKETT HAY, a prominent Scottish engineer from Couper  Angus, Perth & Kinross, Scotland.  Some of Charles Halkett and US (Ohio) born wife Caroline Shepherd Hawkins LEWIS’s children were born in the USA (as was Grace Hay) whilst Charles Hay Halkett Hay was working there as a consulting engineer.  Later the Halketts moved to New South Wales (NSW) from the US, had more children, and where Charles Hay Halkett Hay retired to become an equally prominent gentleman grazier in country NSW.  He bought the PARADISE Station (approx 6,500 hectares) near Inverell, the largest station in the state at the time (in 2017 it was amalgamated with the neighbouring and second largest station, NEWSTED [4,800 hectares] – a total of over 315,000 stock units!).   When Charles Halkett Hay’s health failed in early years of 1900, Grace his daughter took her father back to Perthshire to die and then returned to Brisbane after his death.  Caroline Halkett Hay re-married on her return journey from Perthshire and at some unknown point in time Grace Hay Halkett Hay arrived in Otago and became a school teacher.  It was here that Robert Ross miner then store keeper Robert Ross had met and married Grace, giving birth to Bertha Grace ROSS.  The connection between the Gratwick, Young and Ross families arose through Charles’s mother Jessie Shaw Gratwick, nee YOUNG and a member of her family’s marriage to a Ross in Camberwell, London – much more research would be required to unravel this detail.

Sadly Grace died suddenly in 1901 in Queenstown at 45 years of age, leaving Robert and their only daughter, Bertha Grace, (born in Cromwell) to battle on alone.  Robert  and Grace went first to Milton where relatives assisted with the care of Bertha and Robert became a general merchant in Milton, Otago servicing the needs of miners in the nearby goldfields in Gabriel’s Gully (Lawrence) and Cromwell .  As the gold ran out and Bertha grew, Robert decide they should move into Dunedin City and re-establish in a more permanent environment.  Robert Ross rented a house at 9 Market Street, Musselburgh in Andersons Bay, Dunedin and shortly after opened a shop at 383 King Edward Street in the suburb of St. Kilda.  Charles  Gratwick was welcomed into the Ross household on his arrival in 1907 and without delay managed to secure a permanent position as a Clerk with the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand.  Robert, Charles and Bertha (Charles’s niece) would stay at 9 Market Street until after the First World War was over. 

With the onset of WW1 Charles was no doubt well aware that both his brothers Edward and Ernest had enlisted, Edward being a career soldier and Ernest having joined the Royal Field Artillery.  Charles did not hesitate and volunteered immediately for war service. 


Pte. Charles Robert Gratwick – 14th Company, Otago Infantry Regiment – 1915

8/3909 Private Charles Robert GRATWICK duly enlisted with the Otago Infantry Regiment (OIR) in August 1915 at the age of 31 (and 11 days).  He passed his medical checks trouble free and was mobilized on 18 Nov 1915 with the 10th Reinforcements.  He left his uncle and niece at Market Street and departed with his fellow Reinforcements for Trentham Camp and 10 weeks of initial training.  Pte. Gratwick was assigned to the 14th Company of the 2nd Battalion, OIR.   

The Gallipoli campaign was complete and most of the “new boys” that were being sent to Egypt would be training with a re-organized NZ Division prior to being dispatched to France and the Western Front.  They could also be supporting operations against the Turks in the Sinai Desert and northern towns along the Mediterranean Coast.  The 10th Reinforcements OIR arrived at the port of Suez on 10 Apr 1916 however there would be no idling in the desert sun for them.  They were immediately en-trained at Suez and sent straight to Port Said in Alexandria to be re-embarked on the former HMS Kinfaunes Castle (converted for troop transport) for France departing on 13 Apr and arriving 11 days later at the Etaples Army Base Camp, the main infantry base for all commonwealth soldiers proceeding to the front.

25 days later, Pte. Gratwick joined the 2nd Battalion, OIR in the field which was located a few hundred meters from the Armentieres battle front, at its closest point!  That must have been quite a shock for the newly arrived NZers.  What, with arriving mid winter and hardly any time to even catch their breath since embarking in NZ, and sudden thrust into the front line!

14th Company, Otago Infantry Regt. – hat & collar badges

Pte. Gratwicks file from this point on would be one of the cleanest, neatest and least detailed file for a soldier who spent over three years in France with the same unit.  Perhaps he was employed as a Battalion HQ clerk ( a role he was well acquainted with) in which case he may have maintained his own file? – neatness must have  been a pre-requisite with essential detail only required.  The key events which appeared in Pte. Gratwick’s service file were very routine – two occasions that necessitated his attendance at a NZ Field Ambulance and subsequent month’s hospitalisation at No 1 NZ Stationary Hospital in Wisques, Belgium for “ICT L-KNEE” (inflamed connective tissue, left-knee).  This condition is defined as:

Separating the bones of the knee are pads of connective tissue called menisci. The menisci are two crescent-shaped discs (each called a meniscus) positioned between the tibia and femur on the outer and inner sides of each knee. The two menisci in each knee act as shock absorbers, cushioning the lower part of the leg from the weight of the rest of the body as well as enhancing stability.  A common site of injury for athletes and soldiers.  Especially wearing hard soled boots, carrying heavy loads over uneven ground.

Three periods of leave, two in the UK (one after just four weeks in the field – all leave was rostered, it was not a choice) and a third in Paris prior to his return to NZ, were each followed by his return to the field.  The only other point of note was Pte. Gratwick’s promotion direct to the rank of Corporal in Nov 1918 in order to complete the unit’s rank establishment.  For a man to leave a field fighting unit such as the OIR after three years without a scratch, or contracting any of the field diseases that proliferated such as scabies, influenza etc was indeed good fortune.

Cpl. Gratwick returned to NZ on the HMNZT Kia Ora on May 10th, 1919 and after completing demobilization was discharged from the NZEF on 06 June 1919. 

Awards:  British War Medal, 1914-1918 and Victory Medal; Silver War Badge

Service Overseas:  3 years 67 days

Total NZEF Service:   3 years 202 days

Cpl. C. R. Gratwick’s Returned Soldiers Badge – 1920

Charles had lived with Robert and his niece Berth for some nine years prior to his overseas service.  During this time Charles had obviously developed a close relationship with Bertha because just five days after he had returned from the fields of Flanders to Market Street, Charles (35) and Bertha Grace ROSS (34), were married on 11 June 1919 in the Musselburgh Presbyterian Church, Dunedin.

Charles also took a new position in the city as an assurance (insurance) agent, a vocation he followed for the  remainder of his working life and ultimately rising to the Assurance Superintendent of the Norwich Union Assurance Company in Dunedin.  Soon after the marriage Charles, Bertha and father-in-law Robert moved into a small, semi-detached house at 39 Prince Albert Road (an easterly extension of King Edward Street towards Andersons Bay) which was located just 200 meters from Robert’s shop at 383 King Edward. 

A daughter, Christine Grace, Charles and Bertha’s only child, was born in 1923.  Robert Ross died in 1926 (approx 78 years) after which Charles and Bertha Gratwick bought a nearby residence at 40 Sterling St., St. Kilda.  After some 12 years here, the Gratwicks moved into the house next door, number 42 Sterling St,., since it was easier to access from the road, was situated on flatter land, and was larger. 

The Gratwick’s lived a quiet, relatively uneventful and respectable life in Dunedin.  WW2  had its economic impact as it did with everyone else but the Gratwicks continued their routines unchanged.  Charles returned to England upon the death of his mother in Sep 1931.  The Gratwicks were a close family and not great social butterflies.  Apart from Ross extended family and another distant relative (the Johnstones whom Christine was very friendly with) Charles, Bertha and Christine kept to themselves in Dunedin.  Christine had started her education at Anderson’s Bay primary school where she excelled in all subjects.  This was followed by two years at Otago Girls High School where again she excelling in the primary disciplines.  Once she had reached working age Christine (predictably) followed her father into clerical work.  She started work as a shorthand typist with the Otago Medical Board with whom she stayed for over twenty five years.  For the last 10 years of her working life Christine was a telephonist & filing clerk for the Otago Department of Health retiring only to care for her mother before her residential care.


Charles R. Gratwick, c1938

Charles Robert Gratwick died suddenly on 22 November 1950 aged 64.  Berth, who had been showing all the signs of the onset of Alzheiemers for a number of years suddenly went into steady decline after Charles’s death.  Christine did her best to manage both her job, her mother’s health and run the house but it all got too much for one person.  When Christine could no longer manage her mother’s care, Bertha was moved into residential care for those with severely diminished mental capacity at the Eventide Home in Company’s Bay.  Bertha died there in 1950, just five years after Charles’s death – she was 70. 

Christine was 31 when her mother died and for the first time in her life, on her own.  She had to sell the family home and buy something much smaller which was manageable for her.  Christine bought a small property at 40 Mornington Road, St. Kilda, a place she loved and made her own – it was her refuge.  She very much preferred to lead a solitary life where she had everything highly organised and did not take to the advice of others or interference, she was very much her own woman and trusted her own instincts. 

Christine Gratwick’s only interest beyond her house and garden, was in The Dickens Fellowship, a group of like-minded souls who read the works of Charles Dickens avidly and then convened a monthly discussion group at the Dunedin City Public Library to discuss the various books each had read.    Christine found it necessary to move into a City Council pensioner’s cottage as her physical capabilities diminished with age.  After several short term moves around Dunedin and one to Mosgiel for varying Council administrative reasons (refurbishment, modifications etc) of her flats, Christine at last managed to return to a small flat in St. Kilda, a suburb she knew and loved and felt safe in.  It was here she remained until residential care became a necessity for her following a  fall in 2004 that also triggered a worsening of eyesight and eventually resulting in her blindness for the last few years of her life.  Christine Bertha Gratwick died at the Yvette Williams Retirement Village in Roslyn, Dunedin on 12 January 2015, aged 91 and thereby extinguishing the connection of the Gratwick family of the East Dulwich, London in New Zealand.

Finding a Gratwick in England …

Once I started research I quickly exhausted the living Gratwick possibilities in New Zealand (there were only five families, all in Auckland and unrelated).  I had also reached the point with the Gratwick family in NZ where I was able to confirm Charles Gratwick’s line was extinguished in New Zealand; none others from his UK family having ever emigrated (or even visited) New Zealand, and even the Ross connection in NZ had expired with the death of Christine’s cousin and school teacher, Grace Johnstone). 

Once I had traced all of Charles’s siblings, the results (as shown above) showed most had died single (only Ernest and Charles having married), and only Charles’s marriage had resulted in offspring – one daughter, unmarried and deceased.  So effectively John and Jessie Shaw Gratwick’s family line had completely died out.  Finding a recipient for Charles’s medals was about to get more difficult as I stated looking in the UK, no mean task for one who is nearly 19,000 kilometers away.

I first set about reconstructing the descendant family of John’s only other sibling, brother Edward Gratwick (1850-1932) which produced a number of useful results.  However, I was unable to add the most recent generation connections (and potential medal recipient?) due to the gaps created with so many persons of the same first (and only) name – whom exactly belonged to Edward Gratwick’s lineage?  I was going to need help to move this case forward.   The rescue arrived in the form of a coincidentally timed email from a  colleague in the UK whom I had done some research of New Zealand families for.  Kelvin Youngs I have referred to in previous posts; an aircrew researcher and website founder which is gaining world wide popularity, as he seeks to record as many persons (aircrew) who have died in war and peace, during the course of their flying operations.  Kelvin is the guru behind and offered me the assistance of Andrea R., an enthusiastic and very capable amateur researcher who had done some work for him, and so came highly recommended.  I sent Andrea the material I had collected on the NZ and East Dulwich Gratwick families going back to Charles’s great-grandfather, Edward Gratwick [Snr.] (1784-1848) and Andrea took it from there.  In short order Andrea was able to confirm I had found all of John Gratwick’s children and not missed anyone.  She was also able to produce a matrix of the descendant family of John’s brother, Edward Gratwick (jnr.) from local records that I could not easily access.  Fortunately one particular line that came direct from Edward (jnr) was complete down to a one and only, current generation, male – William Joseph Gratwick.


William Joseph Gratwick (1986 – ) was born in Manchester and if the last in line  living would likely be the recipient of his great-great grand uncle Charles Robert Gratwick’s war medals, provided I could find him ?  A Facebook search located Will and Zoe Gratwick, both highly qualified veterinarians residing in Pretoria, South Africa.  By the time I made contact with Will, he and Zoe had migrated back to Manchester after four years working in South Africa.  Will was able to confirm that his grandfather Edward Charles Gratwick had died in 1991 however, his father, Richard Charles Gratwick (1952 – ) and mother Diane, were both alive and well residing in Manchester.  Richard being the senior surviving Gratwick male of that particular line became the designated recipient of the medals.**

I have since been in touch with Richard and able to confirm his entitlement to Charles Gratwick’s medals.  Richard had no knowledge of the John Gratwick lineage in his family tree, let alone there being a New Zealand arm of that family – unsurprising since all of John Gratwick’s family had either died, having remained single, or not having had any children resulting in no-one to keep contact with the UK Gratwick families.  I was about to mail the medals to Richard – surprise! … the medals he said, would be collected personally.   Paul emailed me to say his cousin Michael Gratwick would be touring New Zealand in January and as luck would have it, he would be spending two days in Blenheim. 

A package of family papers and photographs which had belonged to Charles and Christine Gratwick, was also forwarded to me from PM for Michael to take back along with medals.  An interesting result of the package arriving was that apart from the papers and photographs, it also contained Charles’s Returned Soldiers Badge and two Loyalty medallions for an organisation we have not yet been able to identify – if you can, please let me know. 

There were also two photographs of an unknown female at approximately 16 years and 25 years – through a process of elimination and a small inscription on one I was able to identify them as being of Grace Young JOHNSTONE, a niece and close friend of Christine Gratwick.  Grace had been a school teacher in Dunedin and also a spinster all of her life – she was 91 years old in 2005.  Her second name “YOUNG” was yet another clue to the YOUNG family from Ayrshire and Perthshire, Charles Gratwick’s mother’s maiden name, Jessie Shaw YOUNG from Perth, Ayrshire.


** I met with Michael Gratwick and his delightful wife Rosemary on 18 January at the Vintners Hotel Blenheim where it was my very great pleasure to be able to hand over the medals, papers and photographs.  Michael was able to show me a far more complete family tree that in fact placed him as the generational senior male in the Gratwick lineage as the result of the relative seniority of Richard and Michael’s fathers (brothers).  Michael was thoroughly delighted with finding out about the unknown NZ connection to the family, as are the family in the UK, and said the medals and papers will join the rest of the Gratwick archives and treasures from their long and venerable family history in England, for all to enjoy.

Another lengthy international research case has resulted in a very gratifying outcome for both Polson McMillan and MRNZ.

My grateful thanks to Helen of Polson McMillan for her initiative in saving the Gratwick medals and Returned Soldiers Badge from potential disposal at auction which would have resulted ultimately in a loss to the UK Gratwick descendant family, and to Andrea without whose local knowledge and access to records I could not have successfully located the family I sought, to reunite with the medals and closed this case.

 The reunited medal tally is now 187.

The 5 & 10 year “For Loyalty’ medallions – CAN YOU IDENTIFY THEM ?