A LONG lost war badge belonging to a First World War soldier has been discovered near Salisbury and returned to his relatives.
Metal detectorist Jonathan Brooks found the silver badge in the Woodford Valley in January last year and using an online database, he discovered it belonged to Michael Joseph Buggle.
Mr Brooks then enlisted the help of fellow detectorists on an online forum to help track down Mr Buggle’s relatives.
They researched his family tree and made the link to his greatgranddaughter Sarah, who currently lives in Germany.
Her mother Irene, who lives in Upminster, came across the forum when she looked up her daughter’s name online to see how she did in a running race, and saw Mr Brooks was trying to contact her regarding the badge.
“It was a complete coincidence really,” she said.
Sarah got in touch and travelled to Salisbury with her mother on Tuesday to meet Mr Brooks and visit the spot where the badge was found.
“It’s been really lovely,” said Sarah. “I’ve been speaking to my grandmother, Stella, a lot more about the history of the family and it has reminded her of stories, so it has provided a link to that. It has come at a really nice time around Easter when all the family is going to come together.”
The family has a photograph album put together by Sarah’s grandmother Maris Stella Buggle, which includes a photograph of Mr Buggle wearing the badge in about 1916, at the time he got married.
He is likely to have been serving in the war for about 18 months before being discharged when his arm was injured.
He died at the age of 81 in Durham and until Mr Brooks got in touch with the family, they weren’t aware his first name was Michael.
Mr Brooks, who lives in Chilmark, said: “Although I've found treasure items and have a unique item in the British Museum, being able to return a recovered object as significant as this to the family has been very rewarding.”