First World War medal returned to soldier's family after seven decades
Relative of Royal Newfoundland Regiment private killed in action meets man whose family cared for medal
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 8:51 AM NT
Last Updated: Jul 1, 2012 9:54 AM NT
Leo Knox, 87, of St. John's, has been reunited with a British First World War medal that belonged to his father's cousin, Royal Newfoundland Regiment Private William Roost.Leo Knox's father, Paddy, was William Roost's first cousin. (CBC)
Knox was presented with the medal on Friday during an interview with Ted Blades, host of On The Go on CBC Radio One.
"I feel very emotional," said Knox. "You know, it brings back memories of my dad."
Knox's father, Paddy Knox, was also a member of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and a First World War veteran.
Rossiter family had medal for decades
Tom Rossiter of St. John's said Roost's medal was kept by his family for decades. Rossiter's father, Nicholas, discovered it in in the early 1940's, in a metal box left when a boarder at his mother's house in downtown St. John's passed away.Tom Rossiter's family has cared for William Roost's medal for decades. (CBC )
Rossiter said his father frequently spoke of Roost and wondered what had happened to him. The Rossiters also displayed the medal several times each year at family gatherings, and at memorial ceremonies for soldiers from Newfoundland and Labrador killed in the line of duty.
After Nicholas Rossiter passed away in 1989, Tom Rossiter took possession of the medal and kept up his family's tradition of displaying the medal to remember Roost and other soldiers.
A few years back, Rossiter sought out more information about Roost at a military archive in Ottawa. Rossiter discovered that Roost was wounded in the shoulder during the Battle of Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916.
He was sent back to England to recuperate, rejoined his regiment several months later, and was killed at the age of 24 on March 2, 1917 at Sailly-Saillisel, France, during the Somme offensive.
Roost's cousin, Paddy Knox, eventually took possession of Roost's medal. Knox had been the resident at the Rossiter boarding house who had passed away, and had told no one about the medal in the box.
Tom Rossiter was so moved by this new information that he wrote and published a story about Roost and the saga of the medal.
Knox makes family connection
Leo Knox's daughter read Rossiter's story several months ago and gave him the story to read.
Knox immediately recognized William Roost as his father's cousin, and contacted Tom Rossiter.
The two men agreed that Knox should resume stewardship of the medal.
"It breaks my heart," admitted Rossiter, on letting go of the medal.
However, Rossiter knew it was the right thing to do.
"I'm really delighted that it's back in the hands of its rightful owners."
Knox, a Second World War veteran himself, will keep the medal in his pocket as he attends the Newfoundland Memorial Day ceremony to mark the Battle of Beaumont Hamel at the National War Memorial today in St. John's.
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