The Canal & River Trust has explained how the discovery of a Victory Medal in a canal lock led to a family reunion

From time to time, canal workers are lucky enough to come across a few interesting artefacts while carrying out their conservancy work.

But when the Canal & River Trust team working on Aldwarke Lock near Rotherham discovered a Victory Medal, they couldn’t have guessed how it would bring a family back together.

The medal was inscribed with the name ‘W Clarke’, leading to a public appeal to find its rightful owner.

As a result, more than a dozen locals got in touch to offer information relating to a Mr William Clarke. Among those were Bill Clarke, and cousins Kevin Whatley and Terry Hardy.

Judy Jones, heritage adviser at the trust, pieced together the reports and concluded that while the medal did not belong to any of their ancestors, two of the reports described the same man.

After contacting the parties, it was discovered that Kevin and Terry were Bill’s long-lost cousins, as Judy explains:

“It was only after making tentative enquiries that we discovered that the family didn’t know about their Grandad’s first son and therefore didn’t realise that there was another cousin, Bill Clarke.

“It’s an amazing story and I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to put the family back in touch.”

However, the mystery of the stray medal has still yet to be solved. The Inter-Allied Victory Medal was issued to all those who served in World War One, but as Judy explains many of the records relating to these medals was destroyed in World War Two.

Anyone with any information relating to the medal is advised to contact the Canal & River Trust on 0303 040 4040.