Plea to find family of war hero after medal discovered stashed in former Southport rest home

13th March 2017

Plea to find family of war hero after medal discovered stashed in former Southport rest home

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to find the family of a World War One hero from Southport after his medal was found stashed away in a former Knowsley Road rest home.

The medal was discovered among a whole host of personal belongings which had been ‘stashed away’ in a secret compartment built into a basement ceiling.

It’s thought the belongings were bizarrely hidden there at some point before the former rest home was converted into a private residential property on Knowlsey Road over twenty years ago.

The medal was originally given to the family of Private James Edward Nicholl after the nineteen year old was killed in action in 1917 during World War One.

He is is forever immortalised in a memorial at both Southport and Ypres in Belgium but the medal, evidently passed on to his family following his death, was taken from the belongings of a relative who was a resident at the home.

Now the current owners of the property have launched search to trace any surviving family members with ties to James.

Matt Thomas, who made the discovery, said: “I need help to find the family of Private James Edward Nicholl who died ruing World War One.

“Over 21 years ago my family moved into a former rest home on Knowsley Road in Southport.

“One day I spotted a hole in the basement ceiling and upon investigating I discovered a stash that we believe to be the personal belongings from several past residents.

“The staff must have taken and hidden them.

“Among the items was this medal.

“Totally fascinated by it, I kept it to look at every now and again.

“Researching it I discovered that it is a World War One medal given to the families of our war dead and is more commonly known as a widow’s penny.

“James’ name is on the memorial in town and I often walk through it to look at his name.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of his death.

“James was just 19 when he died for our country and for that reason alone I will not follow most people who find these medals by selling it on eBay.

“I want to find James’ family and return the medal to them where it belongs.”

Matt’s research has led him to discover that James was a private serving in the King’s Liverpool Regiment First Battalion and he is honoured at the World War One memorial at the Menin Gate in Ypres.

He was the son of Charles Edwin and Harriet Hannah Nicholl, of 38, Seabank Road, Southport.


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