I previously posted about the ring that was found in Keppel Sands, Queensland here.  Since then, I can’t really say that we’ve made any more progress in identifying the owner of the ring, but I have had more correspondence with the gentleman in Australia and from the South Dakota National Guard Museum in Pierre, South Dakota.

An article ran in The Morning Bulletin, a Rockhampton newspaper, last Saturday about the discovery of the ring and the quest to find its owner.  We hope another article will run soon in the Yankton newspaper as well.

The Rockhampton article attracted the attention of a current member of the South Dakota 147th Field Artillery unit, who offered to contact the state historian for the unit to see if he has more information!

When I returned from New Jersey on Monday, I had a letter from the Curator at the National Guard Museum, with 6 photocopied pages concerning Battery E (my grandfather’s unit) of the 147th Field Artillery from a book called “South Dakota in World War II.”  These pages listed all the men in the unit, along with information about their service, including my relatives!

James and Edward in 147th book

The first entry (Silver Star) is actually James Lanctot (see below)

Vernon Slowey in 147th book

Vernon Slowey is my grandmother’s brother

I even got a photo of the entire unit:

Photo of entire unit

Unfortunately, I think they got Ed and James mixed up in this photo too.

The book is no longer in print, but I was able to find a digital copy thanks to the Hathi Trust digital library.  Following the section that was mailed to me by the Curator, I discovered an entire chapter that outlined the movements of the 147th from training before the United States entered the War until January 1945 in the Philippines.  I forwarded all of this information to the Australians, in case it helped identify who was in the area and who wasn’t.

Incidentally, the write-up of the February 1942 mission that earned James Lanctot his Silver Star is pretty interesting:

Mission write-up


A written commendation from Lt. General Brett of the U.S. Australian Expeditionary Force was all the recognition that was given initially.

I recalled seeing some newspaper articles that I scanned from my grandmother’s scrapbooks, and I discovered this:

James Lanctot Commendation


The article is undated and no name is in the paper.  At least now I have an idea when it was written.  Pssst … that (censored) part said “… placing of gasoline drums on the Mina River emergency field at Timor.”

As citations for less hazardous missions were being given, citations were submitted for all the volunteers of the Timor expedition directly to General McArthur’s headquarters, and each of the enlisted men received a Silver Star in early 1945.

James Lanctot bronze star article

The story is coming together!



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Mysterious WWII Ring – Follow-up — 1 Comment

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