The idea that something so small can turn into something big is one Trudy Court is very familiar with.
Court, a library assistant at Belmont Secondary school, started a unique school project for Remembrance Day, which has now morphed into a region-wide search for the owner of a long-lost World War One medal.
One side of the circular medal shows the winged figure of Victory with her left arm extended and holding a palm branch in her right hand. The reverse side says “The Great War for Civilisation medal 1914 to 1919.”
Etched onto the ridge of the medal is the name Pt. G.A. Doty – whom Court believes the medal belongs to – along with his service number (435657) and infantry, the 49th Canada Infantry.
After a bit of research, Court discovered the infantry was disbanded in 1920 and the medal was likely given to the solider after WWI ended and he returned home.
“To have an opportunity to return such an important thing to the family, talking about it gives me goosebumps,” she said. “I wonder what their back story is. Did he ever talk about the medal that he lost? How did it get from there to here? The whole back story is really interesting. I think it’s really exciting. This was something that was personalized for each individual solider.”
The search for the medal’s owner began earlier this week, when Court invited the community to participate in a Remembrance Day project. She sent out an email to students, parents and people in the community asking for the names of soldiers who served in the military from anywhere and any time period to be written on paper poppies, leaves or crosses and displayed on the window of the school’s learning commons on the second floor. Within hours, she received more than 70 responses and more continue to flood in.
While Court admits it has been an emotional time reading the stories of soldiers who have fought to defend their country, the email from Sooke resident Dan Miller, who found the medal years ago, caught her attention.
Miller had been scrapping cars when he came across it. At first, he thought it was an old coin, but after examining it more closely, realized it was a medal. After he was unable to locate the owner, Miller tucked it away safely in his home.
When he heard about the display at Belmont, he contacted Court and passed the medal along in hopes the rightful owner or family could be found.
“In today’s day and age, with the Internet and Facebook we can take this to the next level and reunite it with its family,” said Court, adding a few students have volunteered to research the infantry further.
The Langford and Sooke Legions have also been contacted in hopes someone will know the owner.
According to Veterans Affairs Canada, the medal was awarded to all ranks of the fighting forces, to civilians under contract, and others employed with military hospitals, and was always issued with the British War Medal.
For more information or if you know who the medal belongs to, email firstname.lastname@example.org.