A keen gardener was stunned when he went to dig up some vegetables in his greenhouse – but instead unearthed a haul of World War One MEDALS.
Green-fingered Roger Aston, 64, found the buried relics among his POTATO patch.
The retired maintenance man found two medals buried in the soil at his home in Smethwick, West Mids., – one British and one GERMAN.
Pensioner Roger decided to dig a little deeper, and discovered one medal belonged to Private Francis Hubball, of the lst Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment.
Using genealogy websites and his local library he began patching together a brief history of Private Hubball and discovered that he died in Flanders in Belgium on October 26, 1917 almost 96 years to the day before the medals were discovered.
He revealed that Private Hubball was born in around 1884 and had worked as a Cycle Polisher in Smethwick.
He married his wife Agnes in 1907 and went on to have four children – Frances, Harold, Annie and Frank.
The family all lived together in the local area where Agnes remained until her death in 1969.
Despite the trail appearing to end there, Roger has vowed to track down Private Hubball’s family and reunite them with his medal.
He said: “The main problem you get is the spelling of names.
“His last name has also been spelt Hubble in some documents which make it difficult to track his relatives.
“I would love to be able to give the medals back to members of his family before next year’s centenary.”
Roger believes the medals may have been dumped by local children playing in the area after the war before his house was built in 1939.
The grandfather-of-three Roger described the moment he found the weathered General Service Medal alongside a similar German item in the garden
He said: “I was just digging the soil and they popped up.
“I must have been digging this ground twice a year for the last eight years and I’ve never found anything like this, only the odd farthing here and there.
“The medals must have just worked their way up over the years.”
“I suspect Pvt Hubball may have had more medals – whether they’re in the ground or with members of his family I don’t know.
“I’ve no idea how it ended up with the German medal, there are no identifying marks on it other than where it was made so that story ends there.
“It’s quite poignant how medals belonging to two men who would have fought each other have now been found together almost a century later.”
Roger said he had made efforts to find Pvt Hubball’s family but had hit a dead-end after document trails seem to go cold in the 1950s.
He said: “I’ve managed to track his family down as far as his sons and daughters, but I’ve had no luck tracking them down.
“The most recent record I can find is his youngest daughter married a man called William Henry Chance in 1954, but they disappear off the radar after that.
“I wonder if they left the country.”