War medal reunited with family

War medal reunited with family

known 18th January 2005

Article by Robert Sutcliffe A FIRST World War medal awarded to a Calderdale soldier is to be returned to his family nearly 90 years after his death. Private William Noel Ackerley, of Luddenden, was 18 when he was killed in France, just three weeks before the armistice in 1918. The Victory Medal was awarded to him posthumously but disappeared, only to resurface in a Blackpool shop in the 1980s, where it was bought by Major Paul Smillie, area commander of the Lancashire Army Cadet Force. He bought it more than 20 years ago to add to his collection and was surprised recently when the hero's great-niece, Gwynneth Thomas, of Springfield, Midgley, Calderdale, contacted him by e-mail after trawling history websites. An archive assistant for 20 years with West Yorkshire Archive Service, based in Halifax, she was delighted to be reunited with the family heirloom. She is now looking forward to being presented with the medal at a ceremony at Accrington Town Hall on Saturday. She said: "I didn't know much about my great-uncle, he died so young and was the oldest of my grandmother's brothers. He was never really talked about or mentioned. "All I know is that he was born in Liverpool in 1900 and his family came across to Midgley to work in the mills and he worked in Dean Paper Mills." Private Ackerley enlisted in the 2nd Battalion The York and Lancaster Regiment but was killed in October 1918. She added: "One day I was trying some websites out and by some fluke came up with this item. I just happened to put this chap's name in, because I knew it was unusual, and it came up with this medal. It felt a bit strange because that side of the family was a bit of a mystery that I was investigating. "I offered to buy the medal from Major Smillie but he didn't want any money for it." Major Smillie, who had posted the Internet notice while tracing Private Ackerley's life story, said: "I was just starting out collecting military memorabilia and this medal was one of the first I bought, more than 20 years ago. "When the Internet took off I decided to do a bit more research. There was a gap of about four years, then Gwynneth got in touch. "I am delighted that this medal is now going home, back where it belongs with Private Ackerley's family. "When he died, he was the same age as many of our cadets and that has struck a particular chord with them." [email protected] Killed in action: Private William Ackerley. Read more: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/war-hero-s-medal-going-home-to-his-family-87-years-after-he-died-1-2553807#ixzz41fPvZpYC

Created by: , Wayne51525

  • Born 1872

    Died 1920

    British Army 119474 Pioneer Royal Engineers

    British Army 293824 Private Labour Corps