Hero postman is a ‘medal detector’

Mick Wells returned Pte Joseph Hinchcliffes campaign medal to Mary Turner with help from his metal detector.
Mick Wells returned Pte Joseph Hinchcliffes campaign medal to Mary Turner with help from his metal detector.

A postman with a metal detector has reunited a Calderdale pensioner with her soldier father’s war medal after more than 60 years.

Mick Wells, from Luddenden Foot, was looking for forgotten treasures in Rishworth when he stumbled across a silver campaign medal from the First World War belonging to Pte Joseph Hinchcliffe.

And after a bit of detective work with help from a friend he managed to track down the rightful owner, Pte Hinchcliffe’s daughter Mary Turner, who had since moved to Triangle.

On finding the medal, Mr Wells said: “I thought ‘that’s silver! God knows how a medal like that turned up in the ground in Rishworth’.

“I was elated, it was like winning the lottery. I went straight to find the landowner.”

After his find, Mr Wells, 53, and his friend Jason followed the trail to Mrs Turner who was able to fill in some of the gaps of the her father’s story.

Mr Wells said: “In a way in it brings a life back, I can almost see him in my mind’s eye. He might have wearing it working on Sunday and it dropped off.

“It was an amazing to find something like this and return it to Mrs Turner. It was good to bring it home.”

Mr Hinchcliffe worked as a farmer and lived in the house near where the medal was found until he died in 1945.

Mrs Turner told Mr Wells that her father died when she was nine and she did not know him very well.

She said his hand was injured in the war and he used to wear a glove.

He recounted that a fellow soldier was killed in front of him but did not speak about the conflict beyond that.

The recovered silver medal formed a pair with another from Pte Hinchcliffe’s military days, which Mrs Turner still had in her possession.

A service book with the medals is dated February 16, 1916. Pte Hinchcliffe’s age in it is listed as 19.