Metal detectorist seeks family of First World War hero after medal find

Metal detectorist Matt Arthurton

Metal detectorist Matt Arthurton seeks to reunite unearthed First World War medal with family. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

A metal detectorist is seeking the descendants of a Norfolk soldier after unearthing his First World War medal in a field. 

History enthusiast Matt Arthurton, 50, hopes to hand over to any surviving family the 1914 Mons star medal, awarded for service in France or Belgium, he discovered in a pasture on the outskirts of Norwich. 

Metal detectorist Matt Arthurton seeks to reunite unearthed First World War medal with family. Pictu

The WW1 1914 Star medal also known as the Mons Star, was awarded for service on specific dates for men who served in France or Belgium. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

The war-time honour belonged to Harrold Frederick Mutimer, who served with the Royal Fusiliers and the Royal Norfolk Regiment. 

“The back is damaged but I had enough details left to find the man it was awarded to,” said Mr Arthurton, who lives in Lakenham. 

Researching his find he found Mr Mutimer was born in 1895 in Swainsthorpe, and died in Norwich in 1936.

An appeal on social media led to information he served in the 18th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and the 9th Battalion Norfolk Regiment and may have fought at the Somme.

War records of Harrold Frederick Mutimer

War records of Harrold Frederick Mutimer, who served with the Royal Fusiliers and the Royal Norfolk Regiment. - Credit: Submitted

“He survived the war having ended up a lieutenant with the Royal Fusiliers,” said Mr Arthurton.

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“I believe he may have gone on to own Taverham nurseries in the 1930s.”

The medal was unearthed on land near Drayton where he had permission to detect from the landowner.

The search for family has already led to Diana Mutimer, who believes she may be a cousin twice removed, but it hoped more can be discovered about other descendants to pass on the medal.

Metal detectorist Matt Arthurton seeks to reunite unearthed First World War medal with family. Pictu

Metal detectorist Matt Arthurton who took up the hobby a year ago found the First World War medal in a field near Drayton. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

“He got married then two years later he died. They didn’t have any children and his siblings didn’t have any children, so we are trying to find out if his wife had any surviving relatives,” said Mr Arthurton, who only took up metal detecting a year ago. 

“I have always been interested in history and I was looking for a new hobby. I used to go carp fishing but because of the pandemic it became really hard to get onto the lake. 

War records of Harrold Frederick Mutimer

War records of Harrold Frederick Mutimer, who served with the Royal Fusiliers and the Royal Norfolk Regiment. - Credit: Submitted

“I love it. I found a little button when I first started on the same land and I managed to find out more about that. You find the smallest things but you get to discover a lot of history about it.

“But this is my second big find really. I previously found a Tremissis gold coin at the start of the year.”