An Army service medal which was stolen from the home of a former soldier then made its way half way around the world has been reunited with its rightful owners, just in time for Christmas.
And Georganne Morrison (61), of Lorne Street, who was married to William Lochrie, the medal’s recipient until he died in 1997, has described the moment she received the call telling her it was to be handed back to the family.
“It’s unbelievable,” she told the Press, “I honestly never thought I would see it again.
“When I got the call I burst into tears. It would have meant so much to Wullie to get it back. It really is a Christmas miracle!”
William’s medal disappeared from the family home at 36 Lauder Crescent, following a devastating fire at the house on Christmas Eve 1978.
The couple had been out for the night, leaving their four children in the care of a babysitter. They returned home to find their street filled with fire engines and their house ablaze.
The house was deemed unsafe and they weren’t allowed back in until several weeks later, when Mrs Lochrie discovered that a cupboard within the house had been broken into and memorabilia, including her husband’s Army service medal for tours of duty with the 1st Battalion the Black Watch in Northern Ireland, had gone missing.
“We reported it stolen at the time, but then never heard anything more about it, so we forgot all about it.”
It was almost four decades later, when her nephew James Scott was on eBay, that he noticed a medal for sale which he recognised was the same as his uncle’s missing one.
“It was being advertised by someone in Brisbane, Australia and he got in touch with me to ask for his uncle’s Army details because he thought it might be his medal,” she added.
Mrs Morrison’s son Brian (42) from Darlington took up the search, and in August Mrs Morrison contacted the Press.
We pointed her in the direction of the community policing team in Kirkcaldy and PC Gavin Kaye took up the case, contacting the seller in Brisbane, who was reluctant to provide his assistance.
“I had to do a bit of investigative work, but I eventually managed to track down the buyer who, by a weird coincidence turned out to be from St Monans in Fife!” he said.
“When I explained the story to Mr Shepherd, he said he would be happy to hand it over to its rightful owner, which was really decent of him. I couldn’t tell Mrs Morrison right away because. with the help of the ex service’s charity SSAFA, we had to confirm it was the right person, and that took a bit of time, but it eventually all came together, just in time for Christmas. It was great to pass on the good news.”