The medal awarded to Private Joseph Langham.
The medal awarded to Private Joseph Langham.

Family donate WWI award

THE family of the recipient of a First World War medal found while renovating a Grafton house have decided to donate the find to the Australian War Memorial.

Grafton builder Axel Weise found the medal, given to Private Joseph Oswill Langham, 7th Battalion AIF, when he was renovating 116 Alice St for owner Allan Gough late last year.

The Daily Examiner printed an article calling for information about the find on December 17 and five of the soldier’s family members contacted Mr Gough.

One of them, Faye Wisemantel, of Taree, said the oldest member of the family, 92-year-old aunt Mary, agreed the medal should go to a military museum.

“Aunt Mary is Uncle Joe’s niece and to my knowledge is the last living of the Langham family,” Mrs Wisemantel said.

“I spoke to her regarding the find and she agreed with me that it should go to a military museum.

“As it was found in our former family home I’m sure it was always in grandma’s possession.

“My mother often spoke of Uncle Joe and of his time in the war.”

Mr Gough said he gave the medal to Grafton resident Sharon Sainty, the niece of Mrs Wisemantel. The family have not said when it will hand the medal over to the memorial.

According to the Australian War Memorial website, Private Langham, 10th Reinforcements, 7th Battalion, of Grafton, NSW, enlisted on July 13, 1915, and embarked from Melbourne aboard RMS Osterley on September 29, 1915. He returned to Australia on April 18, 1917.

It noted the 7th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War.

The battalion served with distinction at Gallipoli and then on the Western Front in France and Belgium.

It served in France at Pozieres in the Somme Valley from July 1916. The unit’s first major action was at Pozieres in the Somme Valley, where it fought between July 23 and 27 and August 15-21.

It saw out the horrendous winter of 1916-1917 rotating between training, working parties and duty in the trenches.

War records show that Private Langham returned to Australia in April 1917, missing some of the grimmest fighting at Bullecourt and Menin Road.

Mr Gough said some research with neighbours revealed Mr Langham lived at Alice St and was well-known in the racing community. He remained a bachelor.



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