Lost WWI medal returned to British soldier's family
Published 20/05/2011 | 05:00
A FORGOTTEN medal awarded to a British soldier almost 100 years ago has been returned to his family, after it was found on a west of Ireland beach.
Beachcomber Stephen Hunter (28) from Killygordon, Co Donegal, unearthed the tiny medal with the aid of his metal detector on Rosses Point beach in Co Sligo.
The Silver War Badge had been awarded to teenage soldier Edward Lewis Brunswick from the Aylesbury area of Buckinghamshire, England, in 1918 after he was honourably discharged from the army aged 17.
His overjoyed son, Roy Brunswick (86), said he was delighted to have his father's medal returned.
"I knew nothing of it until just now but obviously I am very happy to get it back.
"My father never really spoke about his army life to us so we never knew anything about that part of his life," he told the local 'Bucks Herald' newspaper.
The family is baffled as to how the lost heirloom ended up in a country Mr Lewis Brunswick had never even visited.
Mr Hunter uncovered the blackened medal in the low tide area of the Sligo beach last March.
All he had to go on was a five-digit regiment number on the back of the medal.
"It was really a chance in a million that we ever found the identity of the soldier because fewer than 40pc of records of soldiers from World War I are actually in existence today," he told the Irish Independent.
Mr Hunter trawled war records, military records, ancestry data bases and the electoral register to trace Mr Lewis Brunswick's family. The young soldier had joined the Ministry of Transport Division of the Service Corps at the age of 15 and was discharged due to ill health two years later.
"I was very happy that his son was still alive. The family was delighted to get the medal," Mr Hunter said.