Metal detectorist's bid to reunite 100-year-old coin with owner's family

The coin which was found by metal detectorist Stephen Brown in Sculthorpe

The coin which was found by metal detectorist Stephen Brown in Sculthorpe - Credit: Stephen Brown

A metal detectorist who unearthed a century-old coin with military links is looking to track down the family of its original owner. 

Stephen Brown found the coin while taking part in a rally in Sculthorpe, near Fakenham, back in 2015. 

The coin found by Stephen Brown, who lives near Swaffham, bears the name of Private Smith of the Norfolk Regiment

The coin found by Stephen Brown, who lives near Swaffham, bears the name of Private Smith of the Norfolk Regiment - Credit: Stephen Brown

Mr Brown, who has been detecting for 40 years, thought relatively little of the metal piece - until he finally got round to having it professionally cleaned a few months ago. 

Beneath the dirt he discovered the change had written on it the name and number of a soldier, 8390 Private Smith, and his military regiment, the Norfolk Regiment. 

Also inscribed is a location, Baghdad, and the years of the First World War, 1914-1917. 

On the rear is the emblem of a lion holding a sword. 

The emblem on the rear of the coin, showing a lion holding a sword

The emblem on the rear of the coin, showing a lion holding a sword - Credit: Stephen Brown

"I found it seven years ago in this field right next to the nature reserve and it was completely encrusted with dirt," said Mr Brown, who lives near Swaffham. 

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"Since then it has just been sitting there, until I got in cleaned in the last year."

With the writing on the coin now legible, Mr Brown enlisted the help of a friend - calling upon his vast knowledge of military history.

He managed to trace a Pte C. Smith of the Norfolk Regiment thanks to a military award he received, which saw him recognised for "gallant conduct" in April 1915. 

A record showing that Private Smith was recognised for "gallant conduct"

A record showing that Private Smith was recognised for "gallant conduct" - Credit: Courtesy of Stephen Brown

The record also mentioned that he had been "noticed on several occasions for his courageous behaviour", adding that he had been wounded in August 1915. 

"The thinking is that Pte Smith had this coin made for him while he was serving in Baghdad," said Mr Brown. 

"It must have been very important to him to pay to have it made."

Now, the 65-year-old is desperate to locate Pte Smith's descendants and is hoping they may still have connections to the local area. 

A hospital record which appears to belong to Private Smith of the Norfolk Regiment

A hospital record which appears to belong to Private Smith of the Norfolk Regiment - Credit: Courtesy of Stephen Brown

"This must be somebody who lived quite near Sculthorpe as it has obviously been dropped while walking across," he said. 

"Really, this coin is ready to go back to where it's from.

"Perhaps there are people reading this who have done a family tree from over the years and think there might be a connection. Smith is a common name but hopefully someone has a link - it will be very interesting to find out."

To contact Stephen Brown, email tkjoll@aol.com.