WW1 plaque mystery traced to Taggart star

Stewart Cormack
Stewart Cormack

The rightful owner of a World War One death coin has been traced to a TV studio in London - with the help of Fife Herald readers.

We recently reported that Chichester man Stewart Cormack, originally from Scotland, was trying to track down the family of Lance Corporal Harry Duncan Michie, who was killed in action on July 1, 1916.

John Michie and (inset) Stewart Cormack and the death coin

John Michie and (inset) Stewart Cormack and the death coin

And in a remarkable twist, it turns out that the coin belongs to actor John Michie - better known as DI Robbie Ross in the ITV detective drama series Taggart, Karl Munro in Coronation Street and Guy Self in Holby City.

Stewart had no idea how his family came to have the coin - also known as a death plaque - which was given to the families of soldiers who fell in the Great War.

He contacted the Fife Herald because Harry’s family lived in Newton of Falkland and Harry was a member of Falkland Cricket Club.

But Stewart’s plans to re-unite the coin with a family member in Falkland took a surprising turn after he was contacted by two readers with an interest in geneology.

They discovered that John Stafford Michie, who was born in Burma, was a descendant of Harry, who was his father’s uncle.

“John has a studio in London so I wrote to him and marked the envelope ‘urgent family news’ “, said Stewart.

“Lo and behold, he called me on my mobile and said he was very interested in the coin and grateful for the effort I’d put in to trace its owner. I was surprised he contacted me so quickly.

“He said he was happy to fit in with anything I wanted to do by way of handing it over to him, so I contacted the One Show. I’m still waiting for a response, but if it turns out that they’re not interested in the story I’ll arrange to meet him and present it to him.”

Stewart continued: “John did know that Harry was his father’s uncle and he has seen a photo of him in uniform.

“In fact his own father was named Harry after his uncle.

“Next year will mark 100 years since Harry’s death so I’m very pleased to be able to re-unite the death coin with its rightful owner.

“I found the death coin in my Dad’s shed and I have no idea how he came by it, but during the time I’ve been looking for its owner I’ve become quite attached to Harry.”

Harry’s name is included on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in France, which is dedicated to more than 72,000 British and South African soldiers who died at the Somme between 1915 and 1918 and have no known grave.

His name is also on the War Memorial in Falkland.