WWII Veteran’s Stolen Service Book Returned To Family Thanks To Police Efforts And Social Media

The book belonged to a WWII veteran named Richard Slee, born in March of 1921 and served in the Australian Army from 1939 to 1948. In the book, he listed his profession as a ‘wool expert,’ and that he enjoyed horse racing. But the priceless book was stolen.

It was later found by police who were excited to try and find the original owner. Such a rich piece of history would certainly be appreciated by the Slee family, and they wanted to help in any way possible. 11-2a15

They decided to try something a bit unusual and took to Facebook, asking the public for help. Nearly overnight, over 18,000 strangers saw the picture and tried to find the family. One woman, Deirdre Kinghorn, had been born in Broken Hill, where Slee was born, and picked up the phone to ask her old friends and family in the area if they could help.

While they didn’t know the specific Slee family, many of her contacts were able to confirm a few names. It as a start! She began tagging a few people in the post on Facebook and searched the name on She was given the name Robert Marks, and contacted him to see if there was any relation.

He responded within a day, confirming that he was a distant cousin to Richard Slee’s wife. Slee had passed away in 1957, but had two children…and he had a pretty good idea about how to reach them! The book was transferred to a police station near Marks, who would pass on the book as soon as he found Slee’s children.

Kinghorn was so excited by the event, she will continue to help other families track down long lost items…all thanks to the internet!


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