Family of First World War private Bertie Gowers reunited with war medal bought at auction in Kent by Hadleigh collector

The Royal British Legion in Hadleigh reunite the family of Private Bertie Gowers with one of Bertie'

The Royal British Legion in Hadleigh reunite the family of Private Bertie Gowers with one of Bertie's service medals. Bertie's grandchildren L-R: Peter Gowers, Graham Skinner and Anne Jakeman. - Credit: Archant

The descendents of a First World War soldier have been reunited with one of his medals after it was bought at a collectors’ fair in Kent.

The grandchildren of private Bertie Gowers received the medal on March 5 to go with his other medal already in their possession.

Pte Gowers, born in 1891, was a member of the 9th Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and lived in Hadleigh’s Angel Street.

He was killed on July 17, 1917 while fighting in Belgium, aged 26, leaving behind his pregnant wife Phyllis and six-month-old son Carl.

The presentation was set up by Mark Brennan, chairman of the local Royal British Legion branch who is co-ordinating the Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project.

He said the existence of the second medal was not known until Pte Gowers’ career was researched before a family trip to Belgium.

Then a local medal collector contacted Mr Brennan about some medals he had bought in Kent which belonged to Hadleigh soldiers.

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“I spotted the Gowers medal and I realised we had a family here in Hadleigh who were missing a medal,” he said. “Because of that family connection it was very special they got this medal back.”

Pte Gowers’ grandson Peter said: “We were very surprised by the fact someone in Hadleigh had got it and were delighted when the owner offered to give it back to the family.

“It was very emotional. It certainly means something to us.

“It brings us closer to our grandfather who we never knew.

“The medals need a bit of restoration but I intend to send them to get cleaned up and re-ribboned. They will be passed down from generation to generation.”

Anyone wanting to find out more about or contribute to the project can visit