Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

WH Gelling WW1 Victory medal in Manx field

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Media captionMark Leadley discovered the World War 1 medal in a field in Colby

A metal detectorist is hoping to trace the relatives of a Manx World War 1 soldier after discovering his Victory Medal in an Isle of Man field.

The name WH Gelling is impressed on the rim of the medal along with his service number, rank and regiment.

Mark Leadley found the medal in Colby and believes it belonged to Private William Henry Gelling, who served in the Coldstream Guards.

"I am determined to reunite it with Mr Gelling's relatives," Mr Leadley said.

He believes from his research that Mr Gelling survived the war and was medically discharged in 1917 after being shot and wounded in action.

Official records show that 8,261 Manx men enlisted in the armed forces during the great war, which was 82.3% of the Isle of Man's male population of military age.

Curator of Social History for Manx National Heritage, Matthew Richardson said the war had a "tremendous impact on every Manx family."

'No family untouched'

He said: "I believe the Isle of Man had the second highest percentage of male involvement of any county in the British Empire after New Zealand.

"No Manx family would have been untouched."

According to Mr Richardson about five and a half million of the campaign medals were handed out to those who went overseas on active service.

Image caption The medal shows the name WH Gelling, his service number 15205, regiment and rank

Imperial War Museum North researcher, Charlotte Czyzyk, said: "The medals themselves aren't that unusual as there were over five million of them produced during the first world war.

"I think it is amazing that they are still surfacing nearly 100 years later".

Mr Leadley said: "It's great to find something like this, but hopefully we can trace the family and get this medal returned to where it belongs."

The 46-year-old made the discovery while out searching in a farmer's field in the south of the island.

The medal was unearthed from a depth of around three inches (7.62 cm) but there are no clues as to why it was in the field.

He continued: "I knew immediately it was a medal as it had a clasp and I could see the figure.

"It was only when I got it home and cleaned it up that realised it was a WW1 medal - it was very exciting."

If no relatives are found the medal will go on display in the Manx Military and Aviation museum.

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