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Family of First World War soldier are reunited with his medal after search by police and experts

Francis Mitchell Photo: Finders International

The family of a decorated WWI soldier are being reunited with his medal after a search by police and a team of specialist heir hunters

The Victory medal, nicknamed ‘Wilfred’, was discovered near the Maritime Museum at the Albert Dock, Liverpool on June 6, 2016 - coincidentally the 70th anniversary celebrations of the D-Day landings.

It is likely that someone had it at the Liverpool celebrations and dropped it. It was handed into the police station by a member of the public.

Credit: Flinders International

Evidence Review Officer, Emily Murphy from Merseyside Police discovered that the campaign medal had originally been awarded to a Mr. Francis Mitchell of West Yorkshire.

However, then her research hit a brick wall. It was at this point that she contacted probate genealogists and stars of the BBC’s Heir Hunters series, Finders International, to take up the search for any next of kin.

Kate McNichol of Merseyside Police with the medal Credit: Flinders International

Within a few days Finders International had established that Francis, who was born in 1888, had been a member of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

In 1916, 100 years ago exactly, Francis had been discharged from the army on medical grounds.

He died 37 years later in 1953 and was survived by his wife and five children. The medal has now been reunited with a grandchild of Mr. Mitchell

Granddaughter Freda Powell and family Credit: Finders International

“I received a surprise phone call about the medal on Remembrance weekend, which of course was very fitting.

"I remember my grandfather as I was 10 when he died. He was quite a frail man because of the injuries he had sustained during the war.

“Coincidentally, my sister had also been researching our family tree at that time and we’re all thrilled that this important piece of our history has been returned to us. "We are very grateful to Merseyside Police and Finders International for all their efforts in achieving this for us.”

– Freda Powell, Granddaughter