Mission to return medal

Sandra Kelly, Shirley Kilgariff and Sergeant Steve Walters. with the recovered war medal. Picture: Emma Reeves d411015
Sandra Kelly, Shirley Kilgariff and Sergeant Steve Walters. with the recovered war medal. Picture: Emma Reeves d411015

Then, earlier this month, they got a call from police.

Sergeant Steve Walters had solved a month-long investigation.

A war medal had been found in an Ashby park. With no one coming forward to claim it, Sgt Walters made it his mission to return it to the late recipient’s next of kin.

All he had was the service medal and a name ” Air Force Sergeant Harold Bush.

‘The medal recipient only had a daughter, who had changed names through marriage a couple of times,’ he said.

One lead had Sgt Walters contact the organisers of Sgt Bush’s funeral. No help there ” Sgt Bush had died more than 40 years ago. Even the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages could not complete the search.

Then, by chance, after trawling through police records, Sgt Walters made a discovery. He found an old report of a missing purse posted by Sgt Bush’s granddaughter Sandra Kelly.

Mrs Kelly was bewildered to receive the police call asking about her grandfather, who had died decades ago.

But the biggest surprise was for her mum Shirley Kilgariff ” Sgt Bush’s daughter.

‘I told my mum and she said ‘are you sure? I don’t even think he had a war medal’,’ the Scarborough resident said. ‘Mum was quite excited, she’s 82 now, it was linked to her past.’

Based in Australia, Sgt Bush served as a Royal Australian Air Force Sergeant in Darwin from 1942 to 1945. He died aged 62.

How the medal came to be lost remains a mystery.

Sgt Walters deemed it an irreplaceable item too important to go unreturned.