'Lost' war medals returned to family by litter pickers

WW1 medals Image copyright Swallowfield Parish Council
Image caption A chest of medals from WW1 and the Second World War have been returned to the soldier's descendants after being found by litter pickers

Two eagle-eyed litter pickers found a box of medals from WW1 and the Second World War while clearing areas of the River Loddon, in Berkshire.

The medals have now been returned to the descendants of the two recipients, who were both in the Royal Navy.

Litter pickers found the medals in a cash box that was on the river bank.

Using the medal inscription, members of Swallowfield Village Hall were able to find the owner's descendants via an ancestry website.

'Absolutely shocked'

Martin Moore and Russ Hatchett discovered the cash box on 19 March.

Mr Moore said: "We took it back to the village hall to check that there wasn't anything interesting in there and lo and behold, there was something interesting in there."

The medals from WW1 were awarded to Petty Officer Oliver Reed, who fought on HMS Noble in the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

The Second World War medals were awarded posthumously to Mr Reed's son Alfred.

He was an Able Seaman on HMS Cornwall in 1942, when it was sunk by a Japanese dive bomber in the Indian Ocean.

Mr Reed's great great-nephew Oliver Dunn-Hipp said he was "absolutely shocked" when he received an email about the medals.

Image copyright Liz Halson
Image caption Oliver Dunn-Hipp, left, and Mr Reed's great-niece Janet Dunn, received the medals from Russ Hatchett and Martin Moore, far right

He added: "I was close to deleting the email because I thought it might be junk, but thankfully I didn't.

"It's unbelievable and I'm still shocked by it."

Mr Dunn-Hipp, from London, said he had "no idea" how the medals ended up on a river bank in Berkshire, but hoped to find out more.

The medals were returned to Mr Dunn-Hipp in a ceremony at Swallowfield Village Hall on Saturday.

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