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Campaign to find family after soldier's medal found in sewer

Contractor Amey and its client United Utilities have launched a campaign to find the family of a soldier whose First World War medal was found in a Manchester sewer.

The companies are using the hashtag #ReuniteMe to track down the relatives of the medal’s original owner.

Amey staff and brothers Jason and Shaun Dullaghan found the medal at the bottom of a manhole while carrying out routine cleaning work for United Utilities.

Inscribed with 32266 PTE W Harrison, it has been attributed to Private William Harrison, who served with the 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment in France. He enlisted on 15 December 1915 aged just 20.

More than 5M victory medals were issued at the end of the First World War, each struck in bronze with a full-length figure of Victory on the front, and inscribed ‘The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919’ on the reverse.

Jason said: “We were really lucky to spot the medal when we did – another minute or so and we’d have cleared the drain and it would have been lost forever.

“At first we thought it was a coin of some sort, it wasn’t until we looked closer that we realised what it was. We know that getting the medal back to the soldier’s family 100 years after the war is a long shot but it would be nice to hand it over to the rightful owners.”

United Utilities wastewater network manager Tony Griffiths said: “We find all kinds of odd things in the sewers, from false teeth to stolen goods, but this is the first time we have found anything with such emotional value as this medal. It’s sad to think how it was lost but we’re glad to have found it now.”

Anyone with information about Private Harrison or his family is asked to call 01772 31 7500.

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