Medal sparks quest to find family of Wigan soldier

A man is hoping to reunite the family of a World War One soldier from Wigan with a medal given to him for his frontline services a century ago.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 10:49 am
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 11:53 am
The medal

Keith Davidson came across the medal given to William Shepherd following the death of his mother-in-law Doris Hallworth, who lived her entire life in Leigh.

He found the medal while clearing her old home and says he has not been able to discover how she came to own the object.

A search of William Shepherd’s army records revealed he lived in New Springs and Goose Green and served in the Royal Artillery.

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Mr Davidson, from Northumberland, is now hoping surviving relatives of Mr Shepherd can come forward so the family heirloom can be returned to them.

He said: “I just have this vague recollection of her saying she found this medal. My wife’s brothers know nothing about it so I’ve no idea where she got it from.

“At first I thought it was given to one of her relatives because my grandad was in World War One and got exactly the same medal, but it’s not.

“I don’t know how long she’s had it. It’s quite shiny so it has obviously been looked after.

“It would be nice to pass it on if there is a relative living locally. If everything fails I wil send it to the Royal Artillery for its museum.”

Mr Davidson’s research revealed Mr Shepherd was born in 1882 and served as a gunner in France and Gibraltar.

Coincidentally that means he served in the same part of the armed forced during the 1914-18 conflict as Mr Davidson’s own grandfather.

Mr Shepherd’s military papers give an address on Bentick Street. He married Ellen Aspey in 1906 and was employed as a brick setter, according to the 1911 census.

The couple had at least two children; John Alexander Shepherd, born in 1907, and Eva Shepherd, who was born in 1912.

After that the trail goes cold, with Mr Davidson saying he looked on the 1939 register but could get nowhere without knowing where he went to live after the war.

The medal is gold and was given to participants in the conflict described on one side as: “The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919”. Mr Shepherd’s name and army number are inscribed on the side.

Any relatives of Mr Shepherd can ring 01942 506219 or email [email protected]