The medals are from someone completely unrelated to me, but show closeup of what I believe is the medal on the chest of the man in the last photo – George Gray. George Gray was my grandfather’s uncle. The medal is an Army Long Service and Good Conduct medal, and appears to have King Edward VII on it, which would mean it was awarded in the period of 1902 – 1910 for a period of 18 years service. Apparently George Gray was a bandmaster.
More digging on the Brian Charles Besley mystery has revealed… not much. All of his 7 brothers and sisters are in the SA birth records, but the only reference I can find to him is in the SA Biographical Index, where he is referred to in a list of his siblings, in correct order, only as “Chas”, son of Brian Charles and Mary. The others all have birth years, and I can confirm them all. Both his marriage certificates show Wallaroo, SA as his place of birth, 1866 / 1867 / 1868 time frames. Maybe his birth was not recorded? I don’t know how common that was…
His name was Charles Archibald Thomas Gordon Besley, and he was born on 9 December 1867 at Wallaroo. He was known as Arch.
Charles Archibald was his brother… I actually have copies of Arch’s wedding and death certificates, as distinctly separate from Brian Charles Besley jnr. The SA Biographical Index has them all, including Arch and his brother (“Chas”, or “my” Brian Charles). Not sure why he has no birth records though.