The Peterborough Examiner of Ontario, Canada published an article this week about a man would recovered a long-missing family medal of eBay, and as a result learned a great deal about his family history. -EditorAbout a week ago, Apsley resident Wally (Wallace) James opened a Canada Post package and out slipped a First World War medal, a small token in the palm of his hand linking him to a lineage he had all but abandoned.
The service medal belonged to his great uncle Wallace William James, a black man from Woodstock, Ont. who enlisted in the Central Ontario Regiment in 1917 when he was 21 years old.
It was mid-October when James learned the medal existed, but it took weeks of dealing with a scrupulous seller before it arrived at his mailbox.
It also involved an investigation into his past. James, who has a white mother and black father, had to peal back layers of his genealogy, ultimately reuniting him with a side of his family -- the black side -- that he had been estranged from since childhood, he said.
"I don't believe in spirits, but when this medal slid into my hand, I truly felt I had found my family," the 53-year-old said. "I felt what Wallace William (James) would have felt when he got this in the mail."
On Oct. 11, James got a call from a friend in Woodstock, where James was born and raised, about an article in the Stratford Beacon- Herald. The story was about a rare war medal that had surfaced on EBay inscribed with the name W. W. James.
The source of the article was Dave Thomson, a St. George, Ont. man with an unusual hobby.
Thomson bids on war medals being sold online and tries to reunite them with families or communities.
Since starting his hobby several years ago, Thomson has reunited about 150 veterans' medals with 150 families or communities including matches in North Bay, Beaverton, Sarnia, Kingston, Woodstock and an attempt in Peterborough.
To read the complete article, see: Found my family (www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/Article
Wayne Homren, Editor
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