Boy Digging In Back Yard Uncovers A Treasure So Valuable That He Decides He Has To Return It
He had all but forgotten about his childhood treasure over the years. Now, he had his own family to look after. He retrieved the box he had kept hidden for all these years and felt an inexplicable sense of heartache and guilt tear through his soul.
It was finally time to show his family what he’d been hiding for so long. He had started it, and now he had to finish it.
Any Boy’s Dream
Mike Iacovelli had grown up in the riverside town of Worcester. He remembered his childhood fondly – it was such a different and magical time back then.
He’d hike and ride his bicycle along the River Severn with his friends throughout the long wet summers — hoping to find buried treasure. This may seem like a common fantasy for a 10-year-old boy, only Mike’s dreams were about to come true.
Magic And Mystery
The medieval town of Worcester, with its Cathedrals, cloisters and ancient graveyards, was the perfect place for a boy to dream and explore. This place had a magical quality to it — even the air seemed to hang thick with mystery.
Mike knew in his heart that there just had to be secrets hidden in the historic soil around his home. But he never really expected to find one right in his own backyard.
A Gut Feeling
One Saturday, armed with a shovel and trowel, young Mike got to work searching for buried treasure. The sun even made a rare appearance on this fateful day, peeking out from behind the clouds.
Although Mike spent most of his free time digging for gold and relics, something just felt different today. There was a patch of earth that he hadn’t explored before, and his gut told him to start digging there.
Digging With Purpose
Determined to find something – anything — Mike got to work. He slowly uncovered the moist soil with his shovel until he had made a hole about a foot wide and two feet deep. He dug deeper than usual today, spurred on by the good weather and perhaps by boredom.
While it’s rare for children to stumble upon valuable finds, Mike felt his trowel hit something hard and his heart started to race.
The object Mike had found was no rock or animal tooth, it was small and perfectly round. With shaking fingers, he lifted it out from the dirt to inspect it.
At first, he thought it might be an old coin, but when he rubbed at it with his thumb an inscription began to appear.
Screaming for his parents, Mike turned the object over and noticed that there was a figure engraved on one side, and a message on the other. At the top was a ring that looked like it had been attached to a chain or a clip.
When Mike’s parents ran out and read the words, it didn’t dawn on them immediately.
Starting The Thirty Year Journey
“The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919,″ the message read. Mike’s parents knew that they had to take their son’s find to the experts to find out exactly what he had found.
“I recall the delight when I started to clean off the dirt and realized that this was not just another old coin for my collection,” Mike remembers. Little did he know, he was about to embark on a mission that would take another three decades to complete.
Experts were astounded by young Mike’s discovery. What he’d found was a gold medal. From the wear on its surface, they knew it was old, but just how old?
With further analysis, experts all agreed that this gold medal must have been presented to on one brave soldier during World War I. And it wasn’t just any medal…
A Medal Of Honor
The medal that Mike had found was a gold medal of honor. But it wasn’t until thirty years had passed that his guilt became too much to bear. Although he had found it in his Worcester backyard, he always felt that it didn’t really belong to him.
Now an adult living in Canada with his own family, he decided to do something about it.
Finishing What He Started
Mike knew it was time to finish what he’d started all those years ago. He carefully removed the medal from a box in his cupboard and showed it to his children.
When he saw the medal again, all his memories of growing up in Worcester came flooding back. He longed for his children to have such magical childhood memories, but they seemed to be more interested in their smartphones than playing outside. But, little did he know, his kids held the first key to the mystery.
It was a suggestion from his tech-savvy kids that changed everything for Mike. They heard his story and encouraged him to take to Facebook to return the medal to its rightful owner. But where to start?
Then, he found a group dedicated to artifacts and the history of his hometown on Facebook called Worcester Memories.
Mike uploaded a photograph of his medal, and soon the story went viral. Excited that his post had garnered so much interest, Mike knew exactly what he had to do.
But he’d need help from his family members who were still living in England. “I convinced my mother to take a trip to Worcester Museum to see if I could get more information,” he explained.
Unfortunately, the curator at the museum was of very little help in Mike’s special quest.
Just as he was about to give up hope of the medal’s owner ever being found, he got a private message on Facebook. Someone had recognized the name inscribed on the medal’s side. So, who had it belonged to?
A.G. George Hammond
The name on the medal indicated that it had belonged to A.G. George Hammond, a gunner for the 61st Division’s ammunition column. Sadly, he had fallen on June 12, 1917, when he was just 24 years old.
But Mike was still determined to return the fallen soldier’s medal. And he was closer to accomplishing his dream than he’d ever been.
A Long Lost Heir
With his children’s help and some detective work on Facebook, he managed to track down George’s great-great-granddaughter!
Her name was Debbie Evans, and as soon as Mike knew he had the right person, he didn’t hesitate to send her a message. Debbie was overwhelmed that fate had brought the two together – it was all perfectly timed.
“I just got so emotional seeing the post on Facebook,” Debbie said tearfully. But Mike wasn’t the only one looking for more information about the brave soldier, A.G. George Hammond. Debbie had begun to do some investigating of her own.
She had even managed to find a photograph of him, taken just after he had gone into service.
Debbie was even able to locate her great-great-grandfather’s grave in Arras, France. “As far as we know, we’re the first family members to go and see his grave,” she explained.
“Previously… no one really knew anything about [George], who he served with, when and where. We were going to get his medals replicated through the correct channels but finding the original is mind-blowing!”
“It has been treasured by me for many years with my intention of one day finding the rightful owners and family who it once belonged to,” Mike said happily.
What are the chances that he managed to find and connect with the soldier’s family on social media! The 30-year-mystery had finally been solved.
A Twist Of Fate
And the fact that Debbie had just recently taken an interest in George’s history is also an amazing coincidence – imagine her delight upon receiving her fallen family member’s priceless heirloom.
It’s surely fate that prompted Mike to wait thirty years before returning the medal to its rightful owner – and all happened because a curious 10-year-old boy decided to look for buried treasure!