World War One medal is unearthed in field near Plymouth
[ROYAUME-UNI] Lu sur plymouthherald.co.uk
FIVE hours of detecting, a couple of buttons and an old copper coin, then bleep, bleep, bleep – buried treasure.
David Luscombe dug the first spadeful, the source of the signal sitting on top of the soil, the enticing glint of silver.
At first the object looked like a half crown, but on closer inspection and being larger and heavier, the find proved to be a World War One medal.
Found in a field at Traine Farm in Wembury, landowner Robert Rowland set about tracking down the family of the recipient of the King George V medal.
His search, through an ancestry website, led him to Kent, where he contacted Helen Bailey, granddaughter of John Laurence Cairns.
Mr Luscombe, said: "After about five hours of detecting all I had to show for it was a couple of buttons and an old corroded copper coin.
"At this point I felt a bit peckish and decided to head back to my car for a snack. I kept swinging my detector as I was walking back and about 50 yards from my car I had a lovely sweet signal. Yes, I thought. Something decent at last."
David, also known as 'Janner 53' a member of South Hams Metal Detecting Club, says after removing more soil from the object, he knew then it was a medal from World War One.
"At home and with some more careful cleaning, I could see all the detail perfectly, the soldier's name and army inscribed around the edge of the medal," he added.
The recipient turned out to be John Laurence Cairns, who joined up in 1914 when he was 16 years old.
Born in St Austell c1899, he came to East Stonehouse Plymouth, serving in the Suffolk Regiment (service number 57654) during World War One. He served in France where he was gassed and also shot and injured.
After the war ended he joined the Devon Royal Garrison Artillery for a further four years.
A cabinet maker by trade, he lived in Sparkwell. He married Margaret Helen Smith in 1928 at Plympton, they had three children. He died in Plymouth in 1982.
His granddaughter, Helen Bailey, said: "I was absolutely thrilled when Robert Rowland, the owner of the field where the medal was found, contacted me.
"He had found my grandfather's family tree through an ancestry website and tracked me down. What a time to find it – the 100th anniversary year of the start of World War One!"
"I had no hesitation in accepting the offer to come down from Kent to Wembury to collect my grandfather's medal. Everyone in the family is so excited and grateful."