Meet the Ipswich postman reuniting families with long-lost war medals

Adam Simpson-York, a postman from Ipswich, has been reuniting people around the country with their family member's...

Adam Simpson-York, a postman from Ipswich, has been reuniting people around the country with their family member's long-lost war medals. - Credit: Adam Simpson-York

People across the country have been discovering long-lost family members they never knew - thanks to an Ipswich postman who has been buying war medals off of eBay and tracing back family trees. 

Adam Simpson-York, 35, has always had an interest in family trees since he traced his own around eight years ago, discovering things he never knew about his family history. 

For the last few months, the Ipswich father-of-two has been using this passion to reunite other people across the country with memorabilia belonging to distant family members - some of whom they never knew existed. 

Adam Simpson-York looking through the items he has inherited from his great-grandfather. 

Adam Simpson-York looking through the items he has inherited from his great-grandfather. - Credit: Adam Simpson-York

Mr Simpson-York, a postman of 11 years, started the hobby over Christmas when he found himself with some spare time due to annual leave and the lockdown restrictions. 

He orders medals from eBay and tracks down the name of who they belong to, before using Ancestry to find parts of their family tree.


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Then, instead of going back in time, he traces the family tree forwards with the help of social media sites such as Facebook, reaching out to people to reunite the items. 

One particular success story which has captured the hearts of the nation was when Mr Simpson-York helped a widower discover family members she didn't know she had.

Adam Simpson-York buys old war medals off eBay and traces them to find the owners family.

Adam Simpson-York buys old war medals off eBay and traces them to find the owners family. - Credit: Adam Simpson-York

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Jocelyn Trent, 65, thought she had no remaining family left apart from her daughter following her husband's death while serving in the US Air Force 22 years ago.

She had no idea that her grandfather, Charles Leonard Sharman, had served in the Royal Garrison Artillery during the First World War, before being discharged in 1919.

Mr Simpson-York contacted her on Facebook to say he believed he had purchased her grandfather's wartime medals on eBay, leaving her stunned. 

Adam Simpson-York from Ipswich has been reuniting people with their families long lost war medals.

Adam Simpson-York from Ipswich has been reuniting people with their families long lost war medals. - Credit: Adam Simpson-York

And she was even more shocked to learn that she had 22 second cousins she never knew about - 18 of whom are still alive, with some living just down the road.

Mr Simpson-York said: "It really took Jocelyn by surprise and she went mad for it. 

"This just started as a one-off but now I have reunited about 15 families with medals, and I have made lots of friends from it."

Mr Simpson-York said he enjoys hunting down the families as it "matches his personality" and his investigative nature. 

Adam Simpson-York works on tracing old war medals to their families

Some of the medals and war memorabilia that Mr Simpson-York has been working on. - Credit: Adam Simpson-York

He said it keeps him very busy and he has even inherited lots of medals from his own family tree. 

He said it is sometimes not easy to track down families and he often sends hundreds of messages to people and their friends on Facebook to get in touch. 

He has now started a Facebook page, called Medals Going Home, where he documents his finds.

He has applied to go on BBC One's The Repair Shop with his great-grandad's old pocket watch. 

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