Saturday, June 16, 2012

Help reunite medals with John Sheehan's descendants

Gary Traynor, the man behind the very worthy veteran projects - Medals Gone Missing and Kuttabul Commemoration Project - is seeking those with surname SHEEHAN, so he can re-unit original World War 2 medals with the descendants of their winner - John Frederick Sheehan.

Contact: Gary Traynor on 0449 692401 | 02 44740199 or on customerservice[at]

Read on for more on Medals Gone Missing and John Frederick Sheehan.


A chance purchase on ebay of a set of three war service medals, has revealed the amazing service life of a man from the 2/31st Infantry Battalion.

Information from Mr Walter Robertson, Secretary of the 2/31st Infantry Battalion has revealed that John Frederick SHEEHAN was an original member of 2/31 bn, having joined in England from the 2/10 bn.  Mr Robertson’s research indicates that John embarked to the Middle East on the 03rd of January, 1941.  He was deployed to New Guinea on the 31st of August, 1942 and after having fought on the Kokoda Trail and the severe fighting at Gona, returned to Australia.

John was redeployed back to New Guinea on the 23rd of July, 1943 where he served at Lae, Ramu Valley and Finisterre Range.  He was then with the unit when it landed at Moratai in June 1945.   Very heavy casualties were suffered by this unit at Balikpapan, but John is not listed as wounded, so the Secretary of the 2/31st Battalion does not know at this stage why John left the unit in July 1945.

When these medals were located on ebay, it was not imagined that this man would have been one of the original members who joined the unit in Britain.  To think that he joined the unit in England and served from 1940 all the way through the war to 1945 in this fine battalion is amazing.  And no doubt, there is a strong possibility that he saw action in all of these arduous campaigns.  It is saddening to think what he went through.

And this is the first set of 2/31st medals that have been in the custody of Medals Gone Missing.  It will be a pleasure and an honour to return these medals to the family and I seek your assistance.  For many of the early enlisters, the “stars” (1939-1945 Star, Africa Star and Pacific Star) often were NOT engraved.  So it is possible that we will never locate these medals.  However, John’s stars may have been stamped with his name and have become separated from these discs, so anything is possible.

As this year is the 70th Anniversary of Kokoda, I will be carrying these medals across the Kokoda Track next week as a symbol of respect for John’s service. My organisation is a NOT FOR PROFIT body and I do not charge any fees for this service.  My sole aim is to get these missing war medals back to the family.

If you have any friends or associates whose surname is SHEEHAN could you please be kind enough to make inquiries if there is any relationship.

My thanks go out to Mr. Walter ROBERTSON, Secretary of the 2/31st Infantry Battalion who is conducting the research into the service of John Frederick SHEEHAN.


Contact: Gary Traynor on 0449 692401 or customerservice[at]

Want to know more about the 2/31st Infantry Battalion? Go to the Australian War Memorial unit history.

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