PEI

Montague's mystery medals: legion hopes social media will help find owners

A case full of medals is raising lots of questions at the Montague Legion and on social media. The medals were discovered in the parking lot of a service station in Montague and members of the legion are now leading the search to find who they belong to.

'We want the right owners to have them, not someone to come in and say I own these medals'

Deborah Smith and Stewart Dewar take a closer look at the medals, now stored in a safe at the Montague Legion. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

A case full of military medals is raising lots of questions at the Montague Legion and on social media.

The medals were discovered in the parking lot of a service station in Montague, P.E.I. on June 1st and members of the legion are now leading the search to find who they belong to.

"It's really quite important to a lot of the public too because these medals, they were earned," said Deborah Smith, president of the Montague Legion.

"A lot of veterans gave their lives for these and it's a really big deal to put a face with the person that received those because they definitely deserved them."

This photo of the medals posted on Facebook has been shared more than 6,000 times. (Courtney Foote/Facebook)

A photo of the medals was posted on social media and has now been shared more than 6,000 times.

"Maybe someone will see that they have lost them or it's a family member or they were misplaced somehow," Smith said.

Some of the comments on social media have helped to narrow down the identity of the medals. 

"They're from 1939 to 1945 which was the Second World War and there are a few duplicates in there," Smith said. "That means that they would belong to different people and the rest of them are singles."

All the medals have been identified as being from the Second World War. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Smith speculates the medals could have belonged to multiple members of the same family.

But there are also questions. The medals were not arranged according to military protocol when they were found, adding to the puzzle.

"We haven't found out a lot, we're kind of hoping someone will come forward and say that it's theirs, without us doing major research," Smith said.

No false claims

Smith has consulted with the RCMP and she says they've also held back a few details, to make sure no one can claim the medals without being the actual owners.

"It is a small concern," Smith said. "We want the right owners to have them, not someone to come in and say I own these medals."

Stewart Dewar, 91, is a veteran of the Second World War and has been a member of the legion for 68 years.

There are some duplicates in the collection, suggesting more than one recipient, possibly members of the same family. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Dewar admits he's "quite concerned" over these medals and finding their rightful owners.

"I feel quite proud that I belong to an organization that's looking after these things," Dewar said.  "I'll be quite happy to get them back in the right hands, the owners."

'Large mystery'

Smith is hoping news reports will help spread the word about the medals.

"They could be from anywhere," Smith said. "They could have been a tourist driving, stopping for gas and they just fell out of their car."

Unlike medals from the First World War, these do not have any names or numbers to help identify the owner or owners. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Smith says if they aren't claimed, the medals will stay at the Legion and be put on display, so one way or another, they will find a home.

"It is a large mystery but we hope it solves itself someday soon," Smith said.

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About the Author

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water rowing, travelling to Kenya or walking her dog. Nancy.Russell@cbc.ca