Highlands & Islands

Mystery of World War One medal found down a well

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Media captionThe medal was retrieved from the well in November 1984

A World War One medal discovered down a well has been handed over to the family of the soldier who received it, decades after it was found.

An Inverness police officer spent years trying to find relatives of the veteran, eventually tracking down his grandson who travelled from the other end of Britain to collect it.

Image copyright Getty Images

This story is full of coincidence.

It begins at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 30 years ago, when a group of community police officers, including Pete Carson, removed rubbish from a well outside Inverness Castle.

Mr Carson said: "It was on a Sunday morning in 1984, which was 11 November, and the church bells had just stopped and Billy, one of my mates, was down the well.

"We heard him shout 'I've found a medal' and of course we all looked at each other. He was down the well, standing and holding this medal.

Image copyright Handout
Image caption Pte William Hogg became a teacher after the war

"So there began the 30 year search. I vowed then that I would try to find the family the medal belonged to and it has taken 30 years."

With some detective work, the now former police officer established the British War Medal belonged to a Pte William Hogg of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

But his efforts to dig deeper were thwarted because vital Wold War One documentation was destroyed in a bombing raid in World War Two.

Three decades on, with the help of social media, the soldier's medal has been handed over to Pte Hogg's grandson Iain Macdonald - a retired clergyman from Exeter, who described the medal find as "unexpected" and "exciting".

The mystery then shifted to how the accolade ended up down a well in the Highland capital.

Mr Macdonald said his grandparents visited the city and surrounding area during holidays, so he may have been parted with the medal on one of the visits.

In a final twist, it has also now emerged that Pte Hogg, who became a teacher after graduating from Glasgow University, died in the year his medal was found by the Inverness police officers.

Image caption Pte Hogg's grandson Iain Macdonald, left, receives the medal from Pete Carson

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