Leeds victory medal mystery solved thanks to YEP

ROLL OF HONOUR: Alan Griggs checks the medal.
ROLL OF HONOUR: Alan Griggs checks the medal.
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A MEDAL awarded to a soldier who signed up to fight in the First World War 100 years ago and which was then lost for decades in a Leeds field has been returned to his descendants.

The Victory Medal heirloom was discovered by Leeds chef and metal detectorist Rik Jones in February.

His friend Alan Griggs, who has experience of researching family trees, was able to uncover who the medal was awarded to - one John Doherty, who enlisted in 1915 and served in France, being decorated for his bravery, before he was gassed and hospitalised, eventually being moved into the Labour Corps. Once the war was over, he returned home and started a family.

Alan also discovered that John had descendants, some of whom he thought might still be alive - an appeal the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed a potential lead, which lead to a meeting and after a few dates and names were checked, the medal in question was handed over to Kevin Doherty, the grandson of John.

Kevin, 67, who co-incidentally worked at the Yorkshire Evening Post for 32 years before retiring five years ago, remembers his grandfather from his childhood. He said he was delighted to be given the heirloom.

“I was really quite surprised to tell you the truth, it did come as a bit of a shock, it’s one of those things where you end up getting quite emotional,” he said.

“I’m so pleased to have the medal and it’s now got pride of place on my mantelpiece in a frame.”

Alan added: “It was great to be able to give the medal back to the family. These things do not have a great monetary value but in terms of sentimental value, they mean a lot.

“I remember thinking it was another penny but then the shape was different. Who knows how long it was buried in the ground.”