Sometimes, to everyone's distress, war service medals can be lost or stolen. These important items, the record of a service history, mean so much to all concerned.
Sometimes however there is a good ending to a "Lost Medals" story and here is one such story from the DISS EXPRESS.
The Diss Express is an Englishnewspaper that covers a 500-mile square circulation area on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. The paper was founded by Mr Abbott in November 1864 as the Diss Express and Norfolk & Suffolk Journal.
Diss man reunited with grandad’s lost medal
Published on 03/06/2013
A Diss man has been reunited with his grandfather’s lost wartime medal following an appeal in the Diss Express.
The 1914-1915 Star Victory medal, a First World War campaign medal, was found by chance in Diss by passer-by Adam Spriddell on the pavement near Louie’s Lane and Factory Lane.
After the Diss Express featured the lucky find, John Gintner got in touch to say it was his grandfather’s medal and had been stolen during a burglary at his mother’s house.
The medal was awarded to Diss man Reginald William Sturman, who saw service as a bombardier in northern France with the 15th Siege Battery, which later became part of the 2nd Army.
Norfolk-based military researcher and battlefield guide Steve Smith investigated for the Diss Express but said Mr Sturman’s personal war record had not survived having been destroyed by a fire during the Blitz in the Second World War.
However, as part of the 2nd Army, he said Mr Sturman would have seen service in some of the heaviest fighting on the Somme in 1916 and at the 3rd Battle of Ypres, known as the Battle of Passchendaele, in 1917.
Both battles have come to symbolise the First World War for their catastrophic and futile loss of life and the appalling conditions endured by soldiers.“Siege batteries were deployed behind the front line, tasked with destroying enemy artillery, supply routes, railways and stores,” Mr Smith said. “The batteries were equipped with heavy Howitzer guns firing large calibre shells in a high trajectory.”
Mr Gintner was pleased to be able to reunite the Star medal with his grandfather’s other wartime medals, which had also been taken during the burglary but were found soon after.
Although his grandfather survived the war, he was sadly killed in a road accident in 1933 when he was run over by a van.
Steve Smith is happy to offer advice to people researching relatives’ wartime histories.
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