War medal reunited with Eastwood hero’s family

Derek Gascoyne has been re-united with his Grandfathers War medal
Derek Gascoyne has been re-united with his Grandfathers War medal

A lost war hero’s medal has been returned to its rightful place with his family after an appeal in the Advertiser.

Joan Bestwick, 65, appealed for help a few weeks ago to reach any known family members of Eastwood’s First World War hero, William Gascoyne.

Derek Gascoyne has been re-united with his Grandfathers War medal, pictured is Derek's Grandfather William Gascoyne

Derek Gascoyne has been re-united with his Grandfathers War medal, pictured is Derek's Grandfather William Gascoyne

She is now pleased to announce William’s grandson, 83-year-old Derek Gascoyne, who still lives in the area, has come forward.

Derek said: “It was really very delightful to meet Joan.

“Both me and my cousin Sid, we didn’t even know that our grandfather served in the First World War.

“We thought Joan had all the information wrong, but it turned out she got the medal from my grandfather’s oldest sister.”

The British War medal 1914-1920 was received by all serviceman who fought in WW1.

The British War medal 1914-1920 was received by all serviceman who fought in WW1.

He added: “William, he was a very strict disciplinarian – so I suppose that goes back to his army days.”

William Gascoyne lived at 58 The Breach, so was a neighbour of the Lawrences, added Derek, who went to Devonshire Drive School and now lives in Kilburn.

“It was a Sunday morning pilgrimage that my father used to always take me down to see my grandparents and to St Mary’s.

“I lived on South Street until 1953 when I went into the forces,” added Derek, who was stationed at RAF Hemsell, near Lincoln, and worked on Mark-4 Lancasters and in radar interception, checking defences during the Cold War.

William Gascoyne received his British War Medal 1914-1920 for fighting alongside troops during the Great War.

Joan said: “It was absolutely amazing and I could see how pleased Derek was to get his grandad’s medal, and we just had a good natter for hours.

“I’m so pleased the medal is back in its rightful place.”

Now Derek has some research of his own to do as he tries to recover more information about William’s army days and he kindly provided the Advertiser with a picture of him taken in...

He said: “Going into Army records we cannot find any information of when he joined, the only information we have is his medal citation, and he was also entitled to the First World War Victory medal.

“The great tragedy is the loss of my aunt only two years ago, it would have been nice for her to see this, and we are going to look into her birth certificate to find out any informationn about William’s employment.”

William served in the North Staffordshire Prince of Wales Regiment and then the Notts and Derby Sherwood Foresters.

Joan found his medal after it had been lost for decades.

She said: “He must have kept it in his pocket and walked around with it every day of his life because it’s so worn and bits are missing.

“It must have meant everything to him.”