Two years ago, Surrey RCMP conducted a raid on a drug house, and discovered a set of World War II medals and service pins, amongst other stolen property.
The challenge that laid ahead for investigators was to find the rightful owner of the medals.
Investigators contacted a retired Major with the Royal Canadian Legion in New Brunswick, a historian who was able to identify the owner of one of the pins. Several interviews with other government agencies were fruitless. However, a family member was finally identified through the use of a genealogist and police databases.
This month, police contacted Paul Jackson, from Parksville, who confirmed he was the lone grandchild of war veteran Arthur Bird.
Jackson was unaware his family had his grandfather’s medals, nor that they were stolen.
Bird passed them on to his son (Jackson’s father), who moved to Surrey and had the medals packed away.
“Dad probably forgot they (the medals) were in the house too,” Jackson said in an interview from Parksville. “It sure was a surprise getting a call, they managed to track me down.”
Jackson doesn’t remember hearing many stories of his grandfather’s time at war, but he recalls some of the time in Britain.
“He did talk about being in the trenches, laying in the wet, for hours at a time,” Jackson said. “That’s how he ended up with severe arthritis in his legs.”
He doesn’t have the medals on display right now, he said.
“They’re locked away,” Jackson said. “Don’t want to take the chance of having them disappear again.”
Jackson said they would remain the family and would be passed down to his son in due course.
Surrey Mounties are happy with the result of the lengthy work by investigators.
“Our investigators did a tremendous job connecting and working with the Royal Canadian Legion to get these precious items back to the rightful owners,” said Surrey RCMP Superintendent Bill Fordy. “This case may not have the same allure as much more serious criminal files we investigate however the level of satisfaction that came with its successful conclusion was unmatched.”