Long-forgotten war medals may soon be in the hands of soldier's relatives

Some long forgotten First and Second World war medals may soon be back in the hands of relatives of the man who earned them.

Facebook post looking for family of soldier draws overwhelming response

The war medals Joe Mignon found in the garbage back in the 1960s. (Photo courtesy Kim Mignon-Stark)

Some long forgotten First and Second World war medals may soon be back in the hands of relatives of the man who earned them.

Joe Mignon was looking through some old papers in his Regina home when he came across a metal box he hadn't seen in many years.

Engraved on the top was "W.A. Harvie' and inside were six medals and 17 pins from the First and Second World War.

Then he remembered how he had come to possess the contents.

Found in garbage

"In the '60s I used to be a garbage man working for the city," said the 86-year-old Mignon.

"When I picked up the garbage at one address they were cleaning out a home and they threw everything out. And that's where I found it."

He couldn't recall the address, only that the house had been in the south-west corner of Regina.

Joe Mignon wants to find relatives of W.A. Harvie to give them war medals that he found in Regina. (Submitted by Kim Mignon-Stark)

Put on Facebook

Mignon enlisted the help of his daughter, Kim Mignon-Stark, in hopes of finding a relative of Harvie to whom they could give the medals.

"I couldn't understand the response after dad just came over yesterday [Sunday] to my house and said, 'Hey, you know, can you put this on Facebook and let's find out who these belong to.' Oh my God, everything just exploded," Mignon-Stark said.

"Oh my gosh, within 14 minutes my son-in-law down in California emailed me back with a page in a medical military records. In there was this W.A. Harvie.

"Then throughout the night and throughout the day I was getting all these ping, ping, pings I could hear on my cell phone."

Mignon-Stark couldn't believe the responses she was getting to the Facebook post  — people offering suggestions of who to contact for more information to actual leads on Harvie's relatives.

Another person emailed to say his research showed that if this is the same W. A. Harvie, he was a surgeon in the First World War.

"There are lots of little stories coming out already," she said.

Promising leads

Two responses in particular look very promising.

"They seem to be consistent with [Harvie] having a sister who may or may not be alive. This sister had three children and we are finding that one of them is probably in Toronto," Mignon-Stark said. "And I am trying to see if any of them are in Regina."

The woman who contacted Mignon-Stark said she had also contacted the niece in Toronto and she was very excited about the medals and wanted to talk with Mignon about them.

"It sounds like we may have someone," Mignon-Stark said. "I guess we just have to check it out and and see if these are the kids. And if it is, then we will speak to this person."

History still being written

Mignon-Stark said the medals are just the icing on the cake from the past year.

She has been researching the history on her father and has put together a book for her brothers and sister.

Mignon grew up in Vilseck, Germany, before coming to Canada in 1953. As a child Mignon saw first-hand the ravages of the Second World War.

"He got to witness the great big planes that came over and bombed the big cities," Mignon-Stark said of her father. "It just shook him because they were outside watching them fly over top of them."

She gave the book to her siblings at Christmas, but it turns out there are a few more chapters to write.

"In the meantime, dad has been cleaning and cleaning,and pulling out different papers and we are still adding to this book. And then he came across these medals."