War medal a treasured find

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Midge Reynolds with Scott King and the prized WW1 medal
Camera IconMidge Reynolds with Scott King and the prized WW1 medal Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

A local coin hunter has reunited a World War I medal with its rightful owner 73 years after it was misplaced.

Scott King found the medal, one of four awarded to Henry Simmonds as a result of his bravery during the war, at a “secret spot” last Thursday.

By Boxing Day he was able to reunite it with Henry’s last living daughter, 89-year-old Margaret Ellen “Midge” Reynolds.

Mr Simmonds, who lived in Busselton, was a driver in the 28th Battalion and fought in several engagements, including the battle of the Nek in the Gallipoli campaign and the battle of Fromelles on the Western Front.

On his return he was awarded the medal for bravery along with a British War medal, Victory medal and a 1914-18 Star medal.

But the medals were lost when young family members were playing in the garden with them 73 years ago.

“I’m thrilled to bits,” Mrs Reynolds said. “My sister’s children would play with them in the yard and we lost them unfortunately.”

Mr King said he was searching for coins when a high-pitched sound came from his metal detector, signalling undergrowth silver.

The medal was brown with rust so Mr King had Clayton Gordon from Elysium Jewellers restore it to its shining silver best.

After finding the rare treasure the hunt for its owner began, with Mr King immediately reaching out to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The department was able to confirm who the medal was awarded to, but was not able to offer up a contact number for the rightful owner, so Mr King turned to local community Facebook pages.

By Christmas Eve he had received a message from Mrs Reynolds’ granddaughter, Megan Sharp.

She’d seen Mr King’s post and helped him organise an emotional and heartwarming meeting of the pair at the Busselton War Memorial on Wednesday.

Four generations of Mrs Reynolds’ family were on hand to witness the medal’s handover and give their thanks to Mr King. “I’m just glad I could return it to its rightful owner, it was a great find,” he said.

Mrs Reynolds’ is Henry’s last surviving child — her nine siblings having passed away. She said it was an important tradition to be able to hand down her father’s medals to her family.

“He (Mr King) did a really great job and I hope he can find the rest of them, it was a great Christmas present,” she said.

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