The British War Medal (Image: Royal Navy)
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is appealing to the public to help find the owner of a First World War naval medal that was left at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium.
The British War Medal, 1914-18 was found by the CWGC’s gardening team at Tyne Cot after the Remembrance Ceremony on Sunday 11 November.
An appeal has been made locally but the Commission is now asking for the wider public’s help to reunite this heirloom with its owner.
The silver medal bears the face of King George V on one side and a depiction of St George on horseback with the dates 1914 – 1918 on the other.
An inscription on the side shows that it was awarded to Able Seaman William Andrew Murphy.
It is believed a descendant of Able Seaman Murphy was attending the remembrance ceremony when the medal was lost.
The medal was found on the central path leading into the cemetery, close to the main entrance, on the morning of Monday 12 November, the day after the Remembrance Ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice.
Gerry White, senior head gardener at Tyne Cot, the largest CWGC cemetery in the world, said:
“We know how much these personal mementoes mean to people and we want the public’s help in reuniting this First World War medal with its rightful owner.
"It is always an honour to see people bring these family heirlooms with them when they pay respect at our cemeteries and memorials and we want to make sure it’s safely returned.
Dr Glyn Prysor, chief historian at CWGC, said: “These medals were awarded to millions of service personnel in recognition of their contribution to the British Empire’s war effort.
"Their value is mainly sentimental, but we know that they are cherished by the families of those who served, often passed down through the generations.
"Losing a medal like this must be very upsetting, so we would be delighted to reunite this medal with its rightful guardian.”
The British War Medal, 1914 – 1918 was awarded to officers and men who served with British and Empire forces during the First World War.
It is thought up to 6.5 million were produced and they bear an inscription of the awardee’s service number, name, rank and regiment on its edge.
Anyone who believes they know the owner of the medal, or a relation of Able Seaman Murphy, is asked to contact the Commission on [email protected]