War medal returns to Rothwell after eBay buyer's donation

A Rothwell man's war medal was donated to its rightful home after an eBay buyer tracked down a living relative.

Thursday, 29th November 2018, 10:47 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 1:51 am
David (right) hands the medal over to Brian.

Pte 204358 Alfred Laywood served in the First World War and is believed to have won three medals.

One of them, a general service medal, was spotted on eBay by David Brenton from near Halesowen in the West Midlands.

A delighted Brian with his grandfather's medal.

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After buying it for £25 he decided to try and find a relative of Pte Laywood and was put in touch with his grandson Brian Laywood, who lives in Desborough.

And yesterday (Wednesday) the pair met at Rothwell’s Heritage Centre in Bridge Street where the medal was donated to Brian.

Brian, 82, said: “I am absolutely delighted and humbled.

“I really would have loved to have known him [Alfred] and I understand he was dying to see me too.

Pictures of Alfred, his war medal with its box and envelope and a cutting from the Evening Telegraph of his death in 1936.

“I’m just so happy to receive this and I have to thank David for it.

“I will treasure it.”

David, 58, is a Freemason at Queensman Lodge in London and Lapal Lodge in Halesowen and about a year ago began searching for items related to his Queen’s Regiment as a gift.

He saw the medal on the auction site because Pte Laywood’s East Kent Regiment, known as the Buffs, was a forebearer to the Queen’s Regiment.

His intention was to have the medal mounted in a box and take it to Queensman Lodge to auction it to benefit charity.

But, with this year being 100 years since the end of the First World War, he had a change of heart and decided to try and track down Alfred Laywood’s living relatives instead.

With Ponder Street, Rothwell, on the original box and envelope that came with the medal he contacted Rothwell Town Council’s clerk before speaking to the Heritage Centre.

He said he knew it was a long shot but asked if there was anyone called Laywood in the area.

Valerie Panter from the Heritage Centre found an old school register that listed Brian and several people got in touch saying they knew Brian after they put a post on Facebook.

Soon after David and Brian, an organist at Desborough Baptist Church, were in contact with each other.

David, a vice chairman of the Royal British Legion where he lives, said: “I’m gobsmacked to be here, I never thought it would happen.

“It was such a long shot.

“The pleasure of giving it back to Brian is all mine.

“He’s now got a piece of his family history he probably never thought he would see.”

Pte Laywood was a bandsman in the Buffs and was born in Rothwell in 1881 to parents Elizabeth and Charles.

He had two brothers, George and Fred, who also served in the First World War.

Alfred joined between 1914 and 1916 and is believed to have served in India. He may have served in Europe on his return.

In 1936, with the country in a slump, Alfred started working at Kettering’s furnaces.

But he was killed in a tragic accident in September when a lump of ironstone fell on him.

Records show he left £156 15s 1d in his will, a lot of money at the time.

Brian was born two months later.

Valerie Panter from the Heritage Centre said: “I’m just thrilled to be part of it.

“It’s great to see Brian back with his grandfather’s medal.”

Brian added that he will donate the medal to the Heritage Centre in his will.