Sydney Earl RIGNEY
I really need help! My grandfather was demobbed in England after WW1 and never returned to Australia. He was the youngest son (b.1883) of Anthony and Agnes (nee Earl) and had several brothers, Alban and Stephen being two. If anyone out there has photos of the Rigney family or any info, I would be very grateful as I can't make a right turn, everywhere is a brick wall!
Have you already seen his file in Archives? Digitised online; the following link should retrieve it. If you have problems, contact me privately.
I don't think that you have a hope in the world of tracing him. Briefly: he was in the permanent army; attested into AIF in August 1914; wounded at Gaba Tepe 25 April 1915; repatriated to Australia as permanently unfit. Rejoined AIF; wounded in France; discharged 18 July 1918 to Australian Munitions Work. Relevant to your problem: at his first attestation he gave his next of kin as his wife (Blanche Margaret); at his second attestation, he claimed to be a widower, and gave no next of kin. In November 1915, his mother, Agnes, wrote to the army asking for information, as she had heard nothing from him. His wife also wrote, saying that he had deserted her and their two small children (ca 1912) and she had not received allotments from his pay. (If you have seen this dossier, of course, you already know this.)
On 3 August 1938, Blanche wrote to the army when she applied for a divorce. The reply was that he had not taken up his job at the munitions factory, and they had no record of him since he left his registered address in July 1918. If somebody really wants so badly to disappear, you have little hope of finding him, especially as he could have changed his name.