Veteran’s medal reunited with relative

Bill Polard pictured with the life saving medals and the medal(right) found by a metal detector.
Bill Polard pictured with the life saving medals and the medal(right) found by a metal detector.

A FIRST World War serviceman’s medal that was found on a beach by a metal detector enthusiast has been reunited with the officer’s great-nephew.

Bill Pollard got in touch with metal-detecting fan Tom Neesam after reading in the Hartlepool Mail how Tom unearthed the medal, which belonged to Robert Henry Pollard.

Tom Neesam after finding the medal

Tom Neesam after finding the medal

The medal, which features a man on a horse on one side and King George V on the other, was discovered by Tom, 45, on Seaton Carew beach.

He appealed in the Mail last month for any relatives of the officer, who was born in 1886 and served in the Royal Naval Reserve, to come forward and claim the piece.

Now the solid silver medal is in the hands of Bill, whose grandfather, William James Pollard, a haulier, was Robert’s brother.

Bill, who lives with wife Patricia, 65, in Fordyce Road, Owton Manor, said his great-uncle’s medal will add to two bravery medals awarded to his late father, Albert, for rescuing three people from the sea.

The retired senior operations manager, who turned 68 yesterday and has been researching his family tree, said: “It’s strange but good to have the medal.

“I met up with Tom and spent two hours with him.

“We were talking about how strange it was that the medal finished up there.

“Robert Henry was a stoker on a steamship and I wondered if, as he didn’t have children, did his wife maybe throw it into the sea when he died.”

Tom, 45, who lives in the Brierton Lane area and is a member of Ferryhill-based Dunhelm Metal Detecting Club, said: “Returning the medal back to where it belonged 100 years after it was awarded felt very satisfying as a piece of Hartlepool history was given back.

“Thanks to members of the online site Metal Detecting Forum as it was their research that got it started, and thanks to the Hartlepool Mail for helping track down the descendants of Robert Pollard.”

Bill, who is dad to Anthony, 45 and Lee, 40, and granddad to Paige, 16, Amy, 13, and six-year-old Joseph, said his great-uncle was one of eight children born in Hartlepool to Richard Pollard, who was originally from Cornwall, and his wife, Sarah, from Norfolk.

As well as Robert and William, there was also Richard, George, Lydia, Albert, Frederick and Rebecca.

Now Bill hopes to find out more about the circumstances in which his father received his own medals.

A story in The Northern Daily Mail, on August 25, 1936, revealed his father, then 27 and of Marston Gardens, dived into the sea off North Sands to rescue a 19-year-old Middlesbrough woman who had ran into difficulty.

The same article told how Mr Pollard, when aged just 10, had dived off Middleton Pier to rescue another boy and how he had also saved a Blackpool girl from drowning off Hart Beach.

Bill said: “My dad never spoke about the rescues and I’d love to know who awarded the medals.”

Anyone who can help can call Bill on (01429) 235353.