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Thank you for visiting my blog, the purpose of this blog is to raise awareness on our search for the living relatives of Thomas C Dempster and ultimatley, the returning of his medals to the Dempster family.


The medals were found by my father in the late 1970’s in Wivenhoe, Essex, England.

During this time my father used to run a house clearance business, during one of these house clearances, he noticed some medals on the floor near a communal waste area.

Despite asking several local residents if they knew who the medals belonged to, he was unable to find the owners, therefore, rather than throw them out, he took ownership of them with a view to returning them to a family member.

However, As the weeks, months & years went on my father started a family, moved house etc and the medals were left in a draw and forgotten about, it was always something on my fathers “to do list”.

It was only in 2012, that this whole story came to my attention, I have always had an interest in World War One & Two, so naturally this story intrigued me, especially when I learned that both medals belonged to the same man.

Upon further discussion, My father was more than happy to give the medals to me, it was from then that I decided to try to find the original owners family.


Both medals were inscribed with the words “D-8948 PTE T C DEMPSTER 5-D.GDS”

We now know that this means, his rank was “Private” and that “5-D.GDS” means that he served in the 5th regiment of the (Prince Charlotte of Wales) Dragoon Guards, now known as The Royal Dragoon Guards.

After contacting The Royal Dragoon Guards, we have learned that he traveled to France 1916 & returned in 1919 uninjured, sadly that was where the case went cold, it was only through reseach that I discovered that around 60% of WW1 military records were destroyed in a bomb attack on London in WW2, sadly Mr Dempster’s was one of these, this crucially also included his date of birth.

In order to raise the profile of the investigation I contacted the local newspaper and regional news channels, both who run features on the story, it was through this that we found out some more info ;

FULL NAME : Thomas COWAN Dempster

BIRTH & FAMILY : He was born on the 10th June 1893 in West calder, Midlothian, Scotland, his
father was called John Dempster, his mother Margaret, maiden name Cowan, 1911
census shows that had six children including Thomas –
William born 1890
Robert born 1895 (died)
John born 1897
Agnes Sneddon born 1899 (died)
Janet Barr born 1902

MARRIAGE : He married a Iva Miriam Gould at the St Mary The Virgin Church, Wivenhoe 29th April 1920.
His father was called John Dempster and was a coal miner, Iva’s father is listed as Frederick Gould, the witnesses were Frederick Winteringham & Janet Dempster.

DEATHS : Thomas Cowan Dempster died in 1977 in Hillingdon, London
Iva Miriam Dempster died 1988 in Hillingdon, London

ELECTORAL REGISTER INFO : Thomas Cowan Dempster 1936, Uxbridge (near Hillingdon)
No “Dempster” births found 1920-1945 (mothers maiden name is Gould)


  1. Steve Smith permalink

    A friend pointed me in the direction of this page. I’m a military researcher and would like to try to help you. My email address is above. There are other sources you can use that might provide clues such as medal rolls and war diaries.

    Have you looked at those?

    Email me if you’d like some advice on this as I’ll try and give you some pointers.

    Best regards,

    Steve Smith

    • Thanks steve, that would be great. I have a phtocopy of his war medal card, but not hear about war diaries, sounds interesting ?

      I will email you with some further info that I have.

      Really appreciate you taking the time out to read the blog and offer to help.

      Thanks again.


  2. Great idea dan hope you manage to locate 👍

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Thomas Cowan Dempster – Medals of the ‘Lost Tommy’ « Newbattleatwar

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