Ronald Norman Di Salvia’s Australian Service Medal arrived today, 19 August 2015, around 71 years after Dad should have taken possession of them himself. As I sat holding both of his medals in my hand there was an overwhelming urge to pin them to my jumper, to “put them on”, or be the first person to wear them. I was immediately hit by shame when I realised how truly disrespectful this action would be.
It saddened me to think that Dad had not been the first person to hold these treasures, so that he could have felt personally recognised for his service during WW2. In my opinion they are not possessions to be treated lightly – and then the thought occurred to me that the perfect place to wear them would be to the Dawn Service on Anzac Day 2016. If I chose to wear them to this upcoming occasion I would honour both my father and the very essence of the medals themselves.
It has been a fascinating journey over the these last few months as I’ve explored dad’s contribution to WW2, but it has also left me with a number of questions:
Had Dad been conscripted or did he volunteer for service
Why was my father discharged as medically unfit
What were Dad’s feelings toward his medals, and did the way he feel about them lead to him to the decision not to claim them for himself.
The first two questions may be answered once I receive Dad’s Army Record, which could in fact be 2-3 months away yet. Sadly the answer to my third question is only known to my father who passed away roughly 30 years ago.
I would love to finish this section of Dad’s story by saying that it is heart warming to me to know that the medals are together and in the safe keeping of his family. I think I speak for all my sisters when I say that we are very proud of the service that Dad gave during the war. I cannot wait for the girls to not only see the medals, but to hold them and feel the significance fairly humming through them for themselves.