Herald Sun Leader April 2015
Lance Corporal Alfred Youdale carefully packaged up his war medals, including a Military Cross, and posted them to his sister in Australia almost 100 years ago. His precious package never made it home. Sadly, neither did he. The young Sydney-born man was killed in December 1917 when the Royal Air Force plane he was flying was shot down over France. His body was never recovered. Almost a century after they were lost in transit, Eltham’s Professor Graeme Clark marked Anzac Day with the knowledge that his great uncle’s medals have finally been found.
“For (almost) 100 years we wished we’d found the medals, then about six months ago the RSL sub-branch in Russell in New Zealand had a whole lot of medals and they were mystified because there were these three medals where the name had been scratched off.” Prof Clark said a forensic scientist examined the medals and found the name Youdale. Given it was an unusual name, the family was soon located and told of the discovery. The medals are now on display at the Russell sub-branch. Prof Clark said his great uncle was a “family hero” who served in the trenches at Gallipoli in 1915 and then, after being evacuated from Turkey due to ill health, learned to fly in only six weeks before joining the RAF. He was a squadron leader when he died. Prof Clark said the family knew quite a lot about their great uncle’s war exploits thanks to his diary, which is now on display at the Australian War Museum.