LONG-LOST medals have been reunited with a family after they were uncovered in a house clearance.
Albert Joseph Ferguson joined up as a 14-year-old boy in 1892, later serving as a captain in the first world war.
His British War Medal and Victory Medal, plus a replica 1914-1915 star to which he would have been entitled, have now been presented to Captain Ferguson’s descendant Jenny Hicklin, from Aldwick.
“It’s truly remarkable to have these medals that not so long ago I didn’t even know existed,” said Mrs Hicklin.
“It’s very strange how they came to be found in Chichester as I was totally unaware of any connection. I’m going to get them framed and then hang them over the fireplace at home.”
The two medals were discovered in a house clearance last year in Chichester. The medals were passed to Major Steve Ansell, the county’s senior careers office, who has a keen interest in military history and medals.
He began trawling through army records, with just the name Captain Ferguson to go on.
After researching around 6,800 different Fergusons who served in the war, he narrowed it down to three and eventually found the Captain Ferguson to whom the medals belonged.
Later a major, Captain Ferguson served with the Royal Field Artillery. Born in Londonderry, he grew up in Freshwater on the Isle of Wight and served in India before 1914.
Eager to ensure the medals made their way back to the relatives of Captain Ferguson, Major Ansell launched a media appeal across the south, most notably in the Isle of Wight – Captain Ferguson’s last-known home address.
In December, Mrs Hicklin responded to the article in the Isle of Wight County Press, stepped forward to claim the medals.
Captain Ferguson’s first cousin twice removed was presented the medals on Friday by the commanding officer of 16th Regiment Royal Artillery on Thorney Island.
“A hundred years ago the country asked ordinary people such as Captain Ferguson to go abroad and do extraordinary things,” said Lieutenant Colonel James Mardlin.
“The same can be said of the young men and women of the army today. These are the same people who protect the country that you see deploying to west Africa to help in the Ebola crisis, providing flood relief at home or helping with security at the Olympics.
“Medals such as these reflect commitment and service.”
Captain Ferguson died in 1923 aged 44.