Missing medal back with family, 70 years after disappearing

Back row:- l-r, Rob McGinley and his dad Alan McGinley. Front row l-r: Walter and Cliff Hankinson and family historian Mike Hutchinson (right).
Back row:- l-r, Rob McGinley and his dad Alan McGinley. Front row l-r: Walter and Cliff Hankinson and family historian Mike Hutchinson (right).

A SOLDIER’S medal from the First World War has finally been returned to his family, seven decades after it went missing.

The medal, belonging to a W Hankinson, was obtained by Alan McGinley when he was at Bothal School in a swap with another child.

He kept it ever since and recently Mr McGinley and his son Rob decided to set about trying to track down the rightful owner.

They placed an advert in A Creeful of Coals asking if anyone could help and were contacted by 85-year-old Cliff Hankinson, of Lynemouth.

Mr Hankinson said he believed the medal had belonged to his father Walter, but it had gone missing in the early 1940s.

Walter had served in the Northumberland Fusiliers, but was attached to the Highland Regiment later in the war.

Further research was carried out with the help of family historian Lawrence Routledge and it was found that the medal did indeed belong to Walter — much to the delight of his son.

Mr Hankinson said: “When the medal went missing the family just thought ‘that’s it, it’s gone’, but when I saw the picture in A Creeful of Coals it had the number 3340 on it so I knew it was my dad’s because he had that number tattooed on his arm. As a kid I asked him about it and he said it was because if you got killed in the war and were unrecognisable they could identify you from the tattoo.

“I’m delighted to get the medal back. I’ve also got my dad’s medal from the Second World War when he was in the Home Guard so it’s great to have the set. They can now go back through the family and be passed on.”

The McGinleys had the medal restored to its former glory, with the correct ribbon, and had it mounted in a commemorative presentation box.

Rob said: “My dad had looked after the medal. My father and I are delighted that it has now been returned to its rightful owners.”