Brothers from the borough have expressed surprise and delight at being reunited with their grandfather’s war medal decades after it was lost.
John and Bill Shepherd were given the service medal awarded to William Shepherd for his efforts in aid of his country during World War One.
The medal was unexpectedly found by Keith Davidson while clearing out the Leigh home of his mother-in-law Doris Hallworth following her death.
And after a call for Mr Shepherd’s relatives to come forward in the Wigan Observer the artefact of the conflict a century ago was making its way to John, who lives in Leigh, and Pemberton resident Bill.
Both said their grandfather did not put a high price on the medal after returning from the conflict and, like many men of his generation, almost never spoke about what he had done on the front line.
Bill, 71, said: “He wasn’t bothered about the medals, he used to let us play with them when we were kids. He never said anything about the war.
“Thinking about it I do remember him having this medal now and there were a couple of others as well, ones which most soldiers got.
“I think they were mostly lost when we were still kids. It’s nice to have this one back. I’m baffled how it ended up in Keith’s mother-in-law’s house in a weekend suitcase.”
John, 73, added: “He didn’t say a lot but he was definitely the boss of the family. He had a ring at one time which had a bit of Gibraltar rock he had rubbed down until it was polished and nicely shaped.”
Bill also spoke about another unusual memento of his grandfather’s time in the army, his soldier’s spoon.
He said: “If you lost your spoon you would have to eat with your fingers, you guarded it with your life.
“One of my grandfather’s pals pinched the spoon and started trying to change the service number on it to his. My grandfather collared him and gave him a going over.”
Mr Shepherd was a brick setter by trade and did work at Haigh Hall during his career.
He lived in New Springs and Goose Green and served in the Royal Artillery.
Bill and John are sons of Mr Shepherd’s son John Alexander Shepherd and say they are grateful to Mr Davidson for his interest in the medal.
Bill said: “We’re going up to Berwick-upon-Tweed for John’s birthday and want to call in to thank Keith.”