War medal to be returned to soldier's family in Thetford
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:16 14 December 2016
Gavin Trafford 07971984913
The medal of a decorated First World War hero is being returned to his surviving family following a quest that started in Liverpool and finished in Norfolk.
Francis Mitchell, of West Yorkshire, served as a Corporal with the Lancashire Fusiliers during the war and was among the soldiers to receive the Victory Medal.
Nearly a century after the war, his medal was discovered near to the Maritime Museum at the Albert Dock, in Liverpool, on June 6 2014, and it was handed into the police by a member of the public.
It was thought it could have been dropped by somebody attending events that same day to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings during the Second World War, and the quest then began reunite the medal with Mr Mitchell’s family.
Merseyside Police and specialist heir hunters Finders International joined forces, and their detective work led them to Mr Mitchell’s granddaughter Freda Powell, who lives in Thetford, and who said the family was “thrilled” to have the medal returned.
“I received a surprise phone call about the medal on Remembrance weekend, which of course was very fitting,” she said.
“I remember my grandfather as I was 10 when he died.
“He was quite a frail man because of the injuries he had sustained during the war.
“Coincidentally, my sister had also been researching our family tree at that time and we’re all thrilled that this important piece of our history has been returned to us.
About Francis Mitchell and the Victory Medal
Born in 1888, Francis Mitchell joined the army in 1908 and served in the Lancashire Fusiliers during the First World War.
He was discharged in 1916 on medical grounds after suffering a shrapnel wound to his left arm. He died in 1953 and was survived by his wife and five children.
He received the 1914-15 Star and the British War Medal as well as the Victory Medal which is being reunited with his family.
The Victory Medal, sometimes referred to as the Allied War Medal, is inscribed on the back with the words ‘The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919,’ and the front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory.
The medal was issued to all those who received the 1914 Star or the 1914–15 Star, and to most of those who were awarded the British War Medal - it was not awarded singly. The three medals are known as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.
“We are very grateful to Merseyside Police and Finders International for all their efforts in achieving this for us.”
Merseyside Police’s records and property manager, Kate McNichol, said: “When we first found the medal we thought it would be a long shot as there was very little to go on, but we knew if we could trace Mr Mitchell’s family they would love to have such a precious item in their possession.
“We are so pleased that a chance find in Liverpool has led to such joy for a family 200 miles away.”