‘We are so grateful’: First World War soldier’s family reunited with medal after appeal
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 August 2020
With the Recorder’s help, the family of a First World War soldier has been tracked down and presented with his medal in Elm Park.
This paper ran a story in March sharing an appeal from the Elm Park branch of the Royal British Legion to trace the family of Henry Arthur Sach.
Henry’s medal, inscribed with the words ‘The Great War For Civilisation 1914 - 1919’, was handed in to Elm Park RBL by Ken Gibson.
Elm Park councillor Stephanie Nunn told the Recorder Mr Gibson found it in his grandfather’s possessions and wanted to trace the family.
Henry’s granddaughter Julie Young said that the family was alerted to the appeal by someone who saw the article in the Recorder.
She went down to the Elm Park RBL, in Maylands Avenue, last week with her children Linzi, Jamie and Keenan and was presented with Henry’s medal by the branch’s chairman, Cllr Barry Mugglestone.
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Julie said: “It was such a shock to me. I haven’t done any research and hadn’t looked into it at all. When I got there, I was so shocked but they were very kind and did such a wonderful job and made it very, very special. The presentation was just so lovely and very emotional.”
Sean Connolly, a military researcher who started the Rainham War Memorial project, carried out work to find out more about Henry’s story.
Henry enlisted for service in 1915, beginning in the Essex Regiment and the 12th reserve battalion, while between September 1916 and the end of the conflict he was transferred to the 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment and then Labour Corps.
He was discharged in 1919 and lived in Aveley, Thurrock before marrying Ethel Maud Kemp in 1921 and they then lived at Ingrebourne Road, Rainham with their three children.
Julie, also from Aveley, never knew Henry, who died in 1959, but said the medal’s discovery had inspired her to carry out more research.
“I haven’t done much on that side of my family so I didn’t know an awful lot. We are just so very grateful for all that they did to enable us to receive the medal back.”
Barry added: “It went really well. Thanks to the Romford Recorder, Sean Connolly and Ken Gibson for all they have done.”
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