House debates

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Statements by Members

Boyle, Mr William Robert

1:42 pm

Photo of Helen HainesHelen Haines (Indi, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I rise to talk about five generations of one family, of war medals that were lost 80 years ago, and of the dedicated pursuit of this family to bring them home. Mr Robert Boyle enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force from 1915 to 1919 and was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In 1936, these medals were lost in a house fire. At the time, Mr Boyle was not able to pay for their replacement, so they were destined to be lost forever. In 1941, Robert re-enlisted as a gunner in the Second World War and received medals for his efforts.

In July of this year Robert's grandson Alan made a request to the Department of Veterans' Affairs for the replacement of Robert's World War I medals, only to be told it was not possible. Alan consequently sought help from my office. With the sympathetic assistance of Minister Chester's office, the department was able to reconsider the decision and replace Mr Boyle's World War I and World War II medals. On the eve of Remembrance Day, I had the honour of meeting Robert's son and Alan's father, Bryan, along with Alan, Alan's son Colin and Alan's grandson Hayden—four generations of Boyle men who are proud and humbled by the return of Robert's medals.