A man who originally found World War I medals in the attic of his grandfather’s house has returned them to the rightful owner’s family.

After more than two years of determination, hard work, and a lucky break or two, Chris Hussey's mission was completed last month.

Four years ago, Chris came across two medals belonging to a William Henry Wilson. He was a World War I soldier, who was part of the 6th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment and also served in Mesopotamia, Asia.

The medals were a British War medal and the Allied victory medal.

Chris, who now lives in Borehamwood, initially came across the medals at his uncle’s home, which used to belong to his grandfather, in Windmill Lane, Bushey, in 2001.

But when he stumbled upon the medals once again at his parents house in Coldharbour Lane, around four years ago when his mother died, Chris a keen historian, was intrigued to find out more about them.

While researching, Chris found out that every WWI medal had an army number, the name of the soldier, and their regiment inscribed on the side. 

Using a magnifying glass, Chris saw engraved: 8983 W. H. Wilson Sth Lancs.

Borehamwood Times:

Chris did not recognise the name but was fascinated as to why his family were in possession of the medals. So he set about finding exactly why.

After weeks without a breakthrough, by chance, Chris searched the South Lancashire regiment on the forces war records website. But this time, he did not look at the military records as he had been doing so before but the census records instead.

And as he looked down the cencus, he came across the name of William Henry Wilson, born in Watford.

William born in 1890, lived with his parents, Henry and Maria, in Fearnley Street in Watford.

In 1920, he married a Norah Dean and a 1939 census showed that the couple lived together in Merry Hill Mount in Bushey.

Merry Hill Mount rang a bell with Chris; it was the same road that his great uncle, Edmund Hussey lived on - in fact they lived opposite each other.

Chris has come to the conclusion that for one reason or another, Edmund was given the medals, perhaps before William died in 1941.

He strongly believes that the pair were really good friends and worked as bricklayers together.

William was buried at Vicarage Road cemetery.

Borehamwood Times:

With the true identity of the recipient of the medals in hand, Chris began a second mission to trace living family members of William Henry Wilson so that he could return the honours.

But census records only allowed him to go as far as 1939 and Chris was left at a dead end.

But he caught a lucky break, meeting a man called Gregory Sutton, who had a friend with an expertise in ancestry.

Gregory's friend came up with the answer that Chris was so desperately looking for. He was given the name of Dora Hobbs, who turned out to be the great niece of William.

William had two sisters, Ellen and Edith. In 1915, Edith married Arthur Hobbs. They had one child; Arthur Henry Hobbs.

Arthur Henry Hobbs had three daughters; Dora, Carol (now Ann), and Pauline.

The next stumbling block was that Chris had no idea where he could find Dora.

So this time, his lucky break came on social media.

Posting on Facebook group 'Watford Memories and History', he asked if anyone knew a Dora Hobbs. Chris was given the vital information that made his research all worthwhile.

A lady called Karen Bell said that Dora, (now Dora Rooke), was a good friend of her mother's but had moved to Canada in 1966.

When Chris was given Dora's contact details, everything fell into place. Dora told him she had booked to come back to Watford in April along wth her Ann who lives in North Dakota, USA.

The pair were joined by their other sister Pauline for an emotional meeting with Chris and his partner Linda at the Rising Sun in Whippendell Road.

Dora said she remembers her 'Uncle Bill' and Norah, adding that they were important people in her childhood. 

Chris has no idea exactly how long the medals have been in his family's hands but he was absolutely delighted to be able to return them to the family of William Henry Wilson.