It’s the kind of investigating for which social media was made.
Martin Bokesch from Vernon, British Columbia, would like to reunite the rightful owner with his or her missing World War II medals.
When his wife found the World War II medals 18 years ago in a used desk which was on the side of a street in Montreal, she had no clue as to how to begin searching for the Canadian veteran. So she placed the World War II medals back in the original box and forgot about them.
However, things have changed since then, and when Bokesch found them in their home in British Columbia, he was confident he could reach a much wider audience on Facebook. He posted his plan on 6 November, and since then his post has been shared over 33,000 times.
He responded on Facebook that it was quite overwhelming. Tips keep coming in and a genealogist has even offered to help him.
There are a few clues to help Bokesch track down the veteran.
He states that the World War II medals were given for active service to someone who very likely served in the Navy, based on his research.
Despite the fact that the World War II medals have no information or inscription, he thinks the four medals are a War Medal, a Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, a 1939-1945 Star and the Atlantic Star.
The World War II medals were in a box addressed to Dorothy Priest of Timmins, Ontario. The box has a four cent King George stamp, which led Bokesch to think that it is from the same period as these World War II medals.
Bokesch states that he has made contact with a woman who is believed to be Dorothy Priest’s daughter.
The woman said that she did not know anyone in the family who may have earned the World War II medals, but that she would reach out to her extended family.
The final clue is just above the typewritten address – a handwritten name which could be either J Nicholls or F Nicholls.
Bokesch approached the Royal Canadian Legion, but unfortunately they do not have a searchable database for his needs. He also reached out to the Veteran Affairs Canada, but has not yet heard from them.
Bokesch states that he has been amazed by the number of people who have shared their own stories of veterans with him.
Bokesch has relatives who fought on both sides of World War II, and he has always had a passion for Canadian history.