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Liverpool family reunited with long lost WWI medal found in Fife park

Lyn and Pete Marven reunited with their ancestor's war medal.
Dt Lyn Marven and her dad, Pete reunited with the WWI medal, inset Jesse Marven and the Victory Medal.

A family from Liverpool has been reunited with a long lost WWI medal after it was found at a Fife park.

War hero Jesse Marven’s Victory Medal was discovered on a bric-a-brac stall in Leven’s Silverburn Park, 107 years after it had originally been awarded.

Shona Smith from the Friends of Siverburn Park (FOSP) group realised its importance and quickly did some research online.

She soon found a blog written by Dr Lyn Marven, who had been posting on a family history site looking for information about her great grandfather.

Jesse Marven and his medal, found on a bric-a-brac stall in Silverburn Park, Leven.

Shona contacted Lyn, a lecturer at Liverpool University, who confirmed it belonged to her great grandfather who was born in Essex in 1889 but lived in Leven until his death in 1956.

By sheer chance, Dougie Saunders, from FOSP, had a sister-in-law visiting Fife from Liverpool who happened to know the Marven family.

Reunited with the medal

A handover was arranged and Lyn and her father, Pete, were presented with Jesse’s long lost medal, one of five he was awarded for his WWI exploits.

Pete receives the medal from Helen Paterson.

Commenting on the discovery of his grandfather’s medal, Pete, who grew up in Leven but moved to England in 1980, said it had been an amazing find.

He added: “It was quite strange.

“When my grandfather died the medals were distributed amongst his siblings.

“We knew where three were but two were missing so it is a relief to see this one back in the family.

“The whole family stayed in Leven and I think they all died in Leven so the fact that it was found there was not surprising.

“But it is surprising that it has turned up after all this time.”

Fife connections

Pete, 75, recalled some of the stories of his grandfather exploits, which included a claim of being the only person to fly under the Forth Rail Bridge.

He also said his grandfather once landed a plane on Leven Thistle Golf Course when visiting his wife.

The medal discovery coincides with the Marven family home in Robertson Avenue, Leven about to be sold, ending a 100 year association with the area.

Lyn and her dad, Pete, reunited with the war medal
Lyn and her dad, Pete with the long-lost medal.

“The fact that we got [the medal] back was fantastic and that was thanks to so many people at the park,” said Lyn.

“Silverburn Park staff were incredibly helpful.

“It was a lovely connection for my dad who grew up there until he went to university.

“My dad was overwhelmed to get his hands on something that belonged to his grandfather.

“I’m just so thrilled to get my great grandfather’s medal as it means a lot to me and my family.”

War hero

Jesse was working as a dock labourer in March 1909 when he signed up with the Royal Navy for five years and served initially as a stoker.

He served on various vessels including Essex, Hindustan, Seahorse, Actaeon, Hermes) and shore bases – Victory II, Nelson, Pembroke –  working his way up to Petty Officer
(4th class) by 1916.

In 1913 he was transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve in Portsmouth, home to the newly formed Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).

Jesse was part of Drake Battalion that went to Belgium at the start of World War One, but was transferred to the Central Air Office at the end of 1914.

He continued in service with the RAF until 1921.

It is thought he spent time prior to 1914 at RAF Leuchars, which the RFC used as a Naval Fleet Flying School.

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