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How did World War One Victory medal end up in a Norwich recycling centre?

Private Starling's World War One Victory medal. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Private Starling's World War One Victory medal. Picture: Norfolk County Council

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The journey of a long-lost World War One medal remains shrouded in mystery after it disappeared for decades only to emerge at a recycling centre in Norwich.

Strumpshaw Recycling Centre prepares for the busy Bank Holiday Easter weekend
Photo:Antony Kelly
Copy:
For: Evening news-NEWS
Evening News pics © 2007
(01603) 772434                               Strumpshaw Recycling Centre prepares for the busy Bank Holiday Easter weekend Photo:Antony Kelly Copy: For: Evening news-NEWS Evening News pics © 2007 (01603) 772434

Earlier this month a box of coins was uncovered by members of staff at the Strumpshaw recycling centre.

Included in the find was a World War One Victory medal, given to all those who entered a theatre of war between August 1914 and November 1918.

The medal found by staff at the recycling centre had been awarded posthumously to World War One soldier Private William George Starling of Lakenham.

Private Starling served in the 8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment and was listed as missing in service on October 22, 1917 while fighting in Belgium.

It is likely he died during action at Poelcappelle.

Over bank holiday weekend the medal was handed back to his family after a successful social media campaign to reunite it with relatives.

News of the find was posted on social media earlier this month.

Thanks to the help of everyone who contributed information online, and the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum and Pro-Gen Research, contact was made with 89 year old Joan Balls, the niece of Private William Starling. Many members of the family still live in Norwich and were thrilled to hear of the medal’s discovery.

Cllr Martin Wilby, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Environment, Transport and Development Committee, said how the medal got to the recycling centre remains “a mystery”.

“Thanks to our recycling centre team we have this wonderful opportunity to reunite relatives of Private William Starling with his medal, and not only that, it’s really lovely to hear that this has led to two parts of his family being reunited after having lost contact.

“One thing that remains a mystery though is who has been looking after the medal over the years and how it came to be taken to our recycling centre.”

Private William George Starling, was born in 1895 and served in the Norfolk Regiment.

He was listed as missing in service on 22 October 1917 while fighting in Belgium.

Research has revealed that he almost certainly died at the action at Poelcappelle, probably Meunier House at the age of just 22 years.

On Saturday the medal was handed over by Cllr Martin Wilby to Joan Balls and her grandson, Kim Balls.

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