Discovering Dad – Together at Last

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.

Ronald Norman Di Salvia – 1943 – 1944

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.

Ronald Norman Di Salvia N211765 Australian War & Service Medals
Ronald Norman Di Salvia
Australian War & Service Medals

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:

  1. Had Dad been conscripted or did he volunteer for service
  2. Why was my father discharged as medically unfit
  3. 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.

Ron In Army Uniform - abt. 1942
Ron In Army Uniform – abt. 1942

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.



  1. What a beautiful tribute to your father!
    I don’t know about Australia, but here in Canada it’s illegal for someone to wear service medals other than the recipient. Check with your local Legion or military base for protocol.
    I’m a member of the Canadian Forces and I wouldn’t want anyone wearing my medals. They carry too many memories and represent sacrifice. I would suggest you have them mounted properly and display them in a shadow box with a flag or photo. You can bring the box to the parade and everyone can instantly see the respect you have for your father.

    1. What a wonderful idea. In Australia it isn’t illegal to wear a relatives medals if you are marching on Anzac Day on their behalf. But I do think that mounting them and taking them to the march in that way is a far better idea. Thankyou

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