This has happened to me where a WW1 trio was offered to me for sale the name had been removed leaving the number and unit..... When asked why it had been removed the family was under the impression that it was illegal to sell the medals so they had taken the family name off the medals.....
I have a QSA to the Black watch with the name removed and a Defence of Mafeking with 80% removed but was able to figure out who they were......
Military Historical Society
That is an interesting explanation for why just the name might be removed. I was having difficulty seeing why the recipient would only erase the name and leave other identifying items. If the family were responsible for the erasure, they might not think to remove him number.