Great War medal found at bottom of Yorkshire canal

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A WATERWAY charity is looking to find the owner of a First World War medal discovered at the bottom of a lock during restoration works.

Workers from the Canal & River Trust found the medal once they had drained the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation to fit new lock gates at Aldwarke Lock near Rotherham.

The Inter-Allied Victory Medal was awarded those who had served during the Great War which began 100 years ago.

Made from bronze, it depicts the winged figure of Victory and the words ‘The Great War For Civilization 1914-1919’. The name W Clarke is inscribed around the edge of the medal.

The team also found two cannonballs and the Trust’s heritage experts believe they may have been transported on the water during the English Civil War.

Team member Mark Long, who found the medal, said: “We couldn’t believe it, we’re used to uncovering all sorts when we drain a canal but I’ve never found anything like this.

“I was clearing the mud and silt out of the lock so we could get started and there it was. I’ve no idea how it ended up in the canal but it’s a real shame that it did and I’d love for it to be returned to the family of this person who gave so much to earn it.”

Judy Jones, heritage advisor for the Trust said; “South Yorkshire’s waterways have a rich history all of their own but this is a really interesting discovery. The medal isn’t especially valuable but it’s of huge symbolic importance to someone and we really want to reunite it with its proper owner. Somebody served during the war to earn this medal and it’s right that we get it back to them or their family.

“We’re not sure about the cannonballs but we’re keen to do some research and understand a bit more about them and, who knows, maybe uncover another chapter in the colourful history of South Yorkshire’s waterways.”

* The day the Germans bombarded Yorkshire - see Monday’s Yorkshire Post.