War medals unearthed

The West Australian

A tin of World War I medals and memorabilia was recently unearthed from a Cranbrook farm, 60 years after being buried by the recipient's grandson Lyall Wilkinson.

Lyall was seven when he secretly buried the tin of "treasure" at the family farm under a jarrah tree.

In early April 2015, Lyall was diagnosed with stage 4 aggressive bowel cancer and on the Anzac Day long weekend he finally shared the story of the hidden treasure with his family.

"Dad told us the tin contained the World War I medals awarded to his pappa, Walter James Wilkinson, who enlisted in the Australian Army and served on the Western Front for almost two years," Lyall's son Simon said.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


"We were determined to find the lost medals for dad. So after some research and tracking down Tony and Perin Warham, the owners of the farm Valemarie, I arranged a day of fossicking with my wife Rebecca, friend Keith Righton and his trusty metal detector."

Last Saturday, after two hours of unearthing numerous fragments of wire, bullets and bottle tops, the treasure tin and contents were discovered.

_"We were absolutely thrilled when we uncovered my great-grandfather's collection of seven WWI medals and memorabilia, as well as the handle and corroded remains of the tin that contained them," Simon said. _

_"The discovery of the medals added another significant chapter to the history of Valemarie farm, and the Wilkinson family, who established and lived on this property for 99 years. _

"We were thrilled to have witnessed this discovery." Mr Warham said.

It was an emotional reunion for the Wilkinson family in Albany, as the medals were finally returned to Lyall 60 years after he buried them. The family will have the medals professionally restored and they will remain proudly with the family.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails