Medals found in Nelson – YOUR HELP IS REQUESTED TO FIND A DESCENDANT
The medals pictured were found this year in the garage of a house in The Wood, Nelson. They are suspected stolen.
This Womens’ Royal Voluntary Service Medal was award to a “Mrs PRIEST” which we know from the accompanying letter, however, there are no initials, address, town or country to reference the location of Mrs Priest.
As they were found in Nelson and reference the Second World War period, the focus initially has been on persons of that name living or deceased in Nelson. That of course cannot take account of any Priest family who have moved elsewhere in the last 84 years. We also can not rule out the possibility the medals were stolen from some other part of NZ although it seems likely to have been the Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman or West Coast areas only because they are the nearest. To date there have been no meaningful leads. We are also awaiting a response from the Royal Voluntary Service (as they are now known) for any helpful information.
The key points to note when considering a possible descendant are:
- The medal was issued from the UK predominantly to women who were volunteers in the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) service from 1938-1945 but continued to be issued to 1966 before the organisation underwent a name change.
- “Mrs Priest” is assumed to be English, or an ex-patriot of Great Britain, however she could just has easily been a New Zealander who travelled to the UK to assist during the war.
- Women employed after the war in related voluntary services created by the WVS were also included, and which continue to this day.
- “Mrs PRIEST” may have qualified for the medal when she was single, therefore, any woman connected to the name Priest who performed voluntary service in Britain during or after the WW2 should be considered as a potential contact for “Mrs Priest”, marriage after the war of course could relate to the naming on the letter.
- The medal was awarded to Mrs Priest before 1966 as the name of the organisation changed from this year.
- Qualifying service for the medal was part-time for 15 years in the Womens’ Royal Voluntary Service organisation from 1938.
- The Sports Medal issued by 2nd Tank Regiment to the winning team members of an Inter-Squadron Waterpolo competition in in 1946, was likely competed for in Germany where the 2nd Tank Regiment was based at that time.
- The sports medal may have been awarded to Mrs Priest’s husband, her son, or another relative. The two medals may not even be connected to “Mrs Priest”, both potentially gathered from separate locations – nothing can be ruled out.
If you know of any family, or a family member, who was bears the surname PRIEST before or after their marriage, or to to whom this request may apply, who possibly lived in, or had family in New Zealand at some point after WW2, please ask that person to contact me.
The possibilities for ownership of these medals are almost endless however there have been numerous Priest families who have lived in Nelson, Blenheim and the wider Tasman area. Most have been ruled out because of age at the time the medal would have been issued but I am always open to any suggestion, no matter how remote.
If you can help in any way at all, please contact Ian at Medals Reunited New Zealand – [email protected] – 027-940-4495.