Honiton sale reunites two unknown relatives

PUBLISHED: 14:12 31 March 2015 | UPDATED: 14:12 31 March 2015

Duncan and Liz Chilcott, Jenny Bell and Dudley Broom of Chilcotts Auctioneers & Valuers. Ref mhh 1918-13-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Duncan and Liz Chilcott, Jenny Bell and Dudley Broom of Chilcotts Auctioneers & Valuers. Ref mhh 1918-13-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

The wartime mementos were brought in by Mr Gossington’s granddaughter, Mrs Janet Stanbury, from Willand.

Relatives living on opposite sides of the country who knew nothing of each other’s existence were brought together after a World War One soldier’s medals were auctioned in Honiton.

The medals, which were awarded to Private C Gossington during the Great War, were taken to a valuation day at Chilcotts Auctioneers, in Silver Street.

The wartime mementos were brought in by Mr Gossington’s granddaughter, Mrs Janet Stanbury, from Willand.

She decided to sell the medals as none of her family was interested in keeping them.

Chilcotts included the medals, along with Private Gossington’s discharge certificate and a silver-gilt cross, in a specialist collectors auction in Honiton that contained a number of militaria lots.

The Gossington lot was bought by an online bidder for £130, but the fee was never received so Chilcotts Auctioneers paid Janet and retained the medals for a future sale.

“Some months later, we were contacted by Dale Gossington from Surbiton in Surrey, who had found a reference to the sale on the internet while researching his family tree,” said auctioneer Duncan Chilcott.

“He was delighted to discover that the medals were still available and proceeded to purchase them.”

During the transaction, Liz Chilcott put two and two together and realised Dale and Janet must be related.

She put them in touch, and subsequently Dale wrote to Janet who was over the moon to discover the medals had stayed within the family and that the Gossington family name had survived.

The two now talk regularly on the phone and Dale hopes to visit Devon in the near future.

Dale has since confirmed that he is Private Gossington’s first cousin once removed - the soldier would have been Dale’s grandfather’s nephew.

Private Gossington was severely wounded by shrapnel during World War One and was treated at Roehampton Hospital where he met his future wife, a nurse.

Despite injuries to his head including the loss of half an ear, he continued to work until his death in 1971, holding down positions at the poppy factory in Richmond, and Thorne and Carter, in Cullompton.

“It’s a really heartwarming story and one that we feel is a fitting tribute to this brave WWI soldier,” said Liz.

The next Chilcotts fine art and collectors items sale will be held in Honiton on Saturday, June 6.

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