World War One hero’s medal found in veg patch 30 years ago is handed to family

A dad who found a soldier’s First World War medal in his garden as a boy has finally reunited it with the man’s family.

Mike Iacovelli had packed away the gong, awarded to gunner Arthur George Hammond, and forgot about it after emigrating to Canada.

But after showing it to his sons Mike, now 38, became ­determined to find Arthur’s family.

Arthur’s ­granddaughter Carol ­Griffiths, 75, said: “I will treasure it.”

Arthur, 24, known as George, was a gunner with the 61st Division and died on the Western Front in 1917. His family later received the Freedom Medal, given to soldiers killed in the war.

It was inscribed with the initials A.G. Hammond and the words, “The Great War for Civilisation 1914 – 1919”.

They sadly lost it and gave up all hope of ever seeing it again. Arthur’s family had no idea schoolboy Mike found it in his garden in Worcester while digging a veg patch in the 1980s.

He kept it in a tin box with old coins and rediscovered it looking at the collection with his kids 30 years later.

Mike, who lives in Toronto, posted a message on a Worcester Facebook group appealing for help. Amazingly he got a message from Arthur’s great-granddaughter Debbie Evans, 43, from Boston, USA.

She said: “I have been researching my family tree and specifically George because none of my relatives know much about him.

“It means an awful lot to have the medal back in the family and I am extremely grateful to Mike for keeping it safe.”

The medal is now back with granddaughter Carol who lives just 300 yards from where Mike found it.

Carol, who has three grandchildren, said: “It is a one in a million find and I am thrilled to have [it] in the family.”

Mike said of the moment he found it: “I recall the delight when I realised this was not just another old coin.”

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