A TREASURE hunter is desperate to trace the relatives of a Great War veteran after finding his medal in a school playing field.
Metal detector enthusiast Tony Bibby of Stanford-Le-Hope, Essex, unearthed the precious piece - belonging to Harry Tucker of the Bedfordshire Regiment - 10 years ago in Horndon-on- the-Hill.
He has so far been unable to trace the man’s family. “With this year being the centenary, I thought it was time I had another go at locating Mr Tucker’s relatives,” Tony said.
“I would certainly want to have the medal if he were my ancestor.”
The silver find is thought to be a British War Medal, handed to all soldiers that fought abroad during the First World War. The rim is impressed with ‘51623 Pte H Tucker Bed F R’.
Tony, 53, who is also a landscape gardener, added: “I don’t want anything for it, obviously,
“The greatest reward that I could get is to track down a living relative and give it to them.
“That’s where it should be, not in my display cabinet.”
Local historian Steve Fuller, who has written several books about the Bedfordshire Regiment, believes Harry enlisted in late 1917 and may have fought in France or Palestine. “The Regiment fought from the very first shots in Mons on August 23, 1914, and was present at every battle on the Western Front until the last shots were fired in 1918,” he said. “Hundreds of gallantry and bravery medals, including seven Victoria Crosses were handed out to the men.
“They were an amazing regiment but then I am a bit biased.”
According to records stored at the National Archives at Kew, Harry Tucker also served with the Northamptonshire Regiment for a time. His officer number was 41121 in this post.
“It would be great to find Mr Tucker’s family but in my experience, it is very difficult,” added Steve, who has a database of more than 40,000 Bedfordshire soldiers and is regularly contacted by members of the public about their relatives.
But metal detectorist Tony is still hopeful. “I found the medal in an area that used to be a small woodland and orchard. It is nice to think Mr Tucker may have been enjoying himself with friends when he lost it.
“It is certainly one of my favourite finds and I hope we are successful in tracking down his family.
“I started detecting 20 years ago and it has become a hobby that has taken over my life. Some of my best finds include a bronze age axe and some medieval coins.
“As a responsible detectorist I always fill in the small holes that I dig and remove all rubbish from fields.
“It’s all about preserving the past for people in years to come - no matter how insignificant the item.”
If you think you are related to Harry Tucker, or can help us trace his living family please call 01234 300888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org