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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Medal found in canal


jaywalker

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I read a story in a magazine recently of a medal found in a canal lock during renovations. The finders are trying to return the medal to the mans family, he was

PTE WILLIAM CLARKE

17661

York and Lancashire Regt

it would appear he survived the war as no trace on SDGW or CWGC.

I cannot find any service records for him, probably burnt. His medal card shows he was sent to Egypt in Nov 1915, so was likely 1st btn.

Could anyone give any further details on this man and hopefully his long lost medal can go home.

JIM

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what medal is it ?

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Sorry should have said it is the Victory Medal. I will try and post the story from the magazine later.

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Whilst I hope the family can be found and if found appreciate its return , it is perhaps likely that he pitched this medal into the canal in an effort to drown it permanently! Perhaps after disposing of his BWM to raise the cost of a few pints.

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Or maybe he spent the rest of his life wondering where his medal went.

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In a similar vein, there was a report on BBC Midlands evening news during the week concerning a British War Medal (Squeak), dug up recently on a Birmingham allotment. The recipient was from memory named Hancock, he was a member of the 7th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. It seems that efforts to trace his family have failed, but a small memorial garden on the allotment has been dedicated to his memory. Did any other Forum members see this?

Mike

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In addition to my earlier post have just Googled BBC Midlands News and found that the Medal holder was Private William Richards born in Llanelly and killed in action at Ypres 1917.

Mike.

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Whilst I hope the family can be found and if found appreciate its return , it is perhaps likely that he pitched this medal into the canal in an effort to drown it permanently! Perhaps after disposing of his BWM to raise the cost of a few pints.

It is possible he chucked it and possible he pawned his BWM for much needed cash. In the same way my G/Fs brothers medals may have been when they were posted to his family, but I would pay a premium to get them back now.

Medals don't always mean much to the recipients but can mean a lot later.

This chap would be easy to track down if he had died during the war but with a relatively common name and a big catchment area for his regt, I am afraid this may be beyond me. :(

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Are you convinced? The casualty's medal would have been impressed as 485024 PTE. W.J. RICHARDS. 12-LOND.R. Your original posting, for which you have found a medal information card, would have been impressed 17661 PTE. W. RICHARDS. YORK.& LANC.R. Some difference.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/505183/RICHARDS,%20WILLIAM%20JOHN

Hi Jim,

It is a bit confusing here, there are 2 different men being talked about. I am looking for W Clarke of Y&L Regt and Mike is talking about W Richards of KSLI.

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CWGC contains a record for C. Hart, 17760, 6th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment. SDGW shows this to be Charles Hart, born Mexborough and attested there.

If we assume William Clarke was the next in line at the recruiting office, then it was probably William Clarke, son of George and Elizabeth Clarke, born Mexborough in 1889, living at 102 Dolcliffe Road, Mexborough in the 1911 census.

Andrewr

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Now that is the kind of lateral thinking I wish I was capable of, certainly worth a look.

Thanks Andrew.

JIM

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Private William Richards 14175 Kings Shropshire Light Infantry - medal unearthed in Birmingham

Born In Llanelli, later moved to Rhonda. In the 1901 Census he is living with his parents John and Margaret also older sister Rachel.

This according to the BBC website.

Mike.

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I'm getting lost, who are we discussing?

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Re post #1 Clarke Y&L - The story was in my local paper Rotherham Advertiser but they did not give the regiment or service number from the medal rim.

They told where it was found , Aldwarke lock , and a couple of people with WW1 veterans named Clarke were interviewed but nothing was resolved.

I contacted the paper and asked what details were on the rim but they had no idea and apparently never asked the finder.

The paper seemed to lose interest after that and I didn't get the courtesy of a response.

Now the full details are available I will make my own enquiries locally.

PS - The reporters piece did say " a local soldier who served Queen and country " . So he obviously failed O level history.

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CWGC contains a record for C. Hart, 17760, 6th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment. SDGW shows this to be Charles Hart, born Mexborough and attested there.

If we assume William Clarke was the next in line at the recruiting office, then it was probably William Clarke, son of George and Elizabeth Clarke, born Mexborough in 1889, living at 102 Dolcliffe Road, Mexborough in the 1911 census.

Andrewr

Good work I think.

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We seem to have conflated 2 found medal stories.

As regards Clarke, Mexborough is only approx 4 miles from where the medal was found in the Rotherham canal. So I think andrewr may have nailed him.

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Sorry it has taken me so long to reply but I was away for the weekend. Thank you for your efforts, I believe andrewr has nailed it. If Ellis1918 or indeed anyone else can come up with anything, please drop me a PM.

Again thanks lads.

JIM

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Can I just say that I am always slightly unsettled when 'the closest' is taken as the man in question, it is as bad as when you see lists of men researched on a war memorial with 'thought to be' next to the name.

Either keep researching until 100% sure or state unknown. Only my opinion.

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Now received a response from local paper , Rotherham Advertiser :-

I have just received more details form the Canal and River Trust, who currently have their own historian attempting to trace William Clarke’s family.

Efforts to do so this far have come to nought

We will be printing another appeal this week.

Below are the details that the C&R Trust have released. Do let me know if you have any luck...

· William Clarke

· Private

· 17661

· York and Lancaster Regiment, 1st Battalion

· Date of entry 22.11.1915 and first served in Egypt

· Received the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 15 Star

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Can I just say that I am always slightly unsettled when 'the closest' is taken as the man in question, it is as bad as when you see lists of men researched on a war memorial with 'thought to be' next to the name.

Either keep researching until 100% sure or state unknown. Only my opinion.

Would quite agree that this is still work in progress. The local connection might well prove to be a red herring. The local newspaper archive might well be worth trawling now to confirm or otherwise the suggested Mexborough connection.

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I totally agree. The Mexborough connection is just one possibility. There are several William Clarke's living in Rotherham that are the right age to have served.

Andrewr

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Whilst I hope the family can be found and if found appreciate its return , it is perhaps likely that he pitched this medal into the canal in an effort to drown it permanently! Perhaps after disposing of his BWM to raise the cost of a few pints.

Unlikely he threw it into the canal personally as that part of that part of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Canal was refurbished and new 'super' locks built in the 1980's. Aldwarke is one of these new locks so the medal must have been thrown/dropped in there at sometime in the last 30 years or so.

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Unlikely he threw it into the canal personally as that part of that part of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Canal was refurbished and new 'super' locks built in the 1980's. Aldwarke is one of these new locks so the medal must have been thrown/dropped in there at sometime in the last 30 years or so.

That's most interesting.

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