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A medal awarded to a soldier who fought in WWI was reunited with his family earlier this month after it was discovered near a park in England. 

Dean McLaughlin found the medal near Bradford in West Yorkshire, England while using his friend’s metal detector on May 8th and knew right away he had to find the family of the man it belonged to. 

“I felt like we found treasure,” he said to BBC News. “We wasn’t sure what it was at first. We even got pulled up by the police shortly after and even they didn’t know what it was.”

But soon enough, McLaughlin found the name Private Harold Varley and his regiment number on the medal and went to work researching the soldier. 

It was discovered that Varley died aged 21 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in France on 1 July 1916 and soon  Varley’s great nephew, Dale Moxon, connected with McLaughlin on Facebook. 

“It brought a tear to my eye,” Moxon said.

The family isn’t sure just how the medal was lost, but 62-year-old Moxon says that children in the family “may have taken it out to play with it” 50 years ago and “it’s been buried there ever since.”

“We knew he’d been killed in service. I remember reading his letters that he wrote to my gran,” Moxon said.

“I’m going up to my gran’s grave. I felt that’s the first place I should take it [the medal].”

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