War medal mystery solved

Jean Bramham, of Bognor Street, Towen end farm, Sunderland, who is making an appeal for a First World War memorial plaque with the family of its recipient.

Jean Bramham, of Bognor Street, Towen end farm, Sunderland, who is making an appeal for a First World War memorial plaque with the family of its recipient.

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A MYSTERY war medal discovered at a house on Wearside was awarded to a Canadian soldier killed in the First World War, it emerged today.

Jean Bramham, 74, found the seven-inch brass decoration of honour at the house of a late relation near Chester Road, Sunderland.

It is understood the serviceman named on the disc, Percy Edwards, was either classed missing or killed in action during the war.

Now Jean, who earlier this month launched an appeal for information in the Echo, has learnt that it belonged to a member of the Canadian 21st Battalion.

“We did a bit of research online and managed find out a bit more about him,” said Jean. “We found out quite a lit and we think the medal was awarded to him and his family.”

Born at Washago, Ontario, the soldier, understood to be aged about 20, travelled to Liverpool in 1916 before heading to an infantry base at Le Havre, in France.

He was reported missing in action during fighting at Courcelette within months of landing in Europe.

The battalion suffered heavy casualties in two days of severe fighting, often hand-to-hand, while battling to overcome an enemy strong point.

His body was either never recovered, or, if so, was never identified, so he has no known grave.

However, he is commemorated on the Vimy Ridge Memorial, in France, and at St Paul’s Church in his home town.

Jean, a retired shopworker, came across the medal at a property in Sunderland’s Westbourne Road.

“We’ve still no idea how it got to Sunderland,” she said. “It is still a complete mystery.”

Jean, of Town End Farm, is still hoping to track down relations of the soldier and hand over the medal.

“I’m just hoping somebody will come forward to reclaim it,” she said. “Maybe someone will read about it on the Echo website or elsewhere online and get in touch.”

Relations of Percy Edwards who wish to reclaim the medal can contact the Echo on 501 7264 or email james.johnston@northeast-press.co.uk.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho