A FASCINATING historical conundrum is a giant step closer to reaching its conclusion, thanks to eagle-eyed readers.
Mavis McAleer’s medal mystery was reported late last year in the Solihull News. She was searching for the descendants of a man named A R Wildeman, as she had come into possession of a medal that once belonged to him.
The story began in the back garden of her home and took her back in time to the First World War and across continents to the Far East, only for the mystery to be solved rather closer to home.
It was in the early ‘90s when her late husband came inside from the garden of their home in Bourton Road, Solihull, clutching some buried treasure.
It turned out to be a British medal from the First World War, belonging to Mr Wildeman. She cleaned it up and kept it safe, a little too safe maybe, as soon it completely passed her mind. Only recently did she rediscover the find and contact the Solihull News in an effort to track down the owners of the medal.
The story caught the attention of our readers, not least Christine Whittemore, who was a relative of Mr Wildeman. She in turn contacted Jonathan Griffith, the grandson of A R Wildeman. He revealed that the daughter of Mr Wildeman (his mother) was still alive, and so the rightful owner of the medal.
This week Jonathan, who lives and works in Worcestor as an osteopath, came to collect the medal on behalf of his mother. Despite his grandfather dying when Jonathan was quite young, he could still remember a little of him. “I remember he appeared to be a big man, but then I was very small!” said Mr Griffith.
Regarding what A R Wildeman did in the war, Jonathan revealed: “He was an electrical engineer by trade, so he may have been in the engineering corps. I have a feeling he served either in the Middle or the Far East, and possibly India.”
As for the initials ‘A R’, it turns out Mr Wildeman was Albert Reginald, although he was known affectionately to most in the family simply as ‘Uncle Reg’.