ACROSS the globe, people treasure war medals signifying their relatives bravery during battles of the past.

Jackie Hamilton from Eccleston was no different, carefully looking after what she believed was her granddad John Cunliffe's medal from fighting in the First World War.

So last week she was shocked to learn - after giving the silver medal a good clean - that the medal was in fact not his.

Jackie, 69, said: "It's been in a box for years and the other day I decided to get it out and clean it because it is silver and it has blackened over time.

"But I discovered writing on the rim, which after looking it up I realised it would say the person's name, rank and number.

"So I was shocked after scrubbing it to find it didn't have my granddad's name on it at all and had the name of Peter Oswald Gee."

St Helens Star:

The medal

Jackie asked her daughter's partner Ian to research Peter, and was shocked to learn that Peter and her granddad had lived at 12 and 28 Peter Street respectively in 1914, making them neighbours.

Jackie said: "I knew I wanted to give it back to Peter's family, how it came into our family's possession I don't know but it wasn't ours to keep and belonged with his family."

Ian did some family tree research and discovered that Peter's granddaughter Vivien Gaskell was from Old Eccleston.

Vivien, 73 said: "When Ian got in contact over Facebook messenger I was so shocked, I have a medal of my granddad's already so I didn't know this silver one existed."

So today, Tuesday, February 18, the two women met at The Griffin, Eccleston and were shocked to have yet anther surprise - they themselves had been neighbours years before.

Vivien added: "I just walked in and Jackie turned around and I thought, 'no way', because we already knew each other as we had been neighbours years ago.

"I was overwhelmed to get to hold my grandad's medal.

"They kept such good care of it and it was great to catch up and share stories about our grandad's.

"I can't believe it has been given to us after more than 100 years."

John Cunliffe enlisted with the 5th Prince of Wales (South Lancashire) Regiment which was a ‘Pals’ regiment based at Mill Street Barracks at the outbreak of the war and became a ‘Pioneer’.

He landed in France in early 1917 and saw action in Passchendaele where he was wounded.

Peter Oswald Gee enlisted in 1915 and served with the Royal Engineers for the duration of the war.

Both men were awarded the 1914-1918 silver British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Quite how Peter Gee’s medal came to be with the Cunliffe family will probably remain a mystery