Woman discovers her long lost family when she sells her heirlooms on eBay
A widow discovered she had a long-lost family after a stranger bought her grandad’s First World War medals on eBay and gifted them to her.
Jocelyn Trent, 65, had no idea her granddad Charles Sharman had served with the Royal Garrison Artillery during the Great War.
She also thought she had no remaining family left apart from her daughter following the death of her husband in 1999.
So she was stunned to receive a message from kind-hearted Adam Simpson-York to say he had bought Charles’s medals on eBay.
The 35-year-old has spent lockdown buying unwanted medals online and then trying to reunite them with the soldiers’ families.
He managed to track down Jocelyn after researching her family history and contacting relatives she didn’t know existed.
Adam, from Ipswich, Suffolk, has now gifted her the service medal and victory medal, which he bought for £35 for the pair.
Jocelyn has also contacted the 18 surviving second-cousins she had no idea existed – including some living down the road from her.
The social worker, from Peterborough, Cambs, said: “What Adam did was absolutely incredible.
“He went through so many stages of research to contact me, and was able to tell me things I never knew about my own family.
“All I knew about my grandad was that he had lived in Doncaster and worked on the railroad for 40 years.
“And then to find out I have 22 second cousins that I never knew about – it’s been an overwhelming experience.
“It’s like I gained a new family in the space of 24 hours. I’m going to hold these medals close to me for the rest of my life. It’s unbelievable.”
“I don’t know how to describe what this means to me.
“Covid-19 has brought some dark days, but this feels like suddenly there is a light in my life.”
Charles’s medals had been lost for over 100 years before appearing for sale on eBay before Christmas.
Adam secured the help of Jocelyn’s second cousin Rob Sharman – who she did not know existed – to learn more about the soldier.
Jocelyn said: “Thanks to Adam and Rob, I now know pages and pages of information about my grandfather that I never knew before.
“I know he was born and baptised in Peterborough – and I even know three of the addresses where he lived.
“My plan is to go and visit these three homes and just stand outside them and take a quiet moment for myself.
“My dad was captured by the Germans in Stalag 17A, and kept a prisoner of war diary during that time, which I now have.”
Jocelyn’s husband served in the US Air Force and died in service 22 years ago.
Adam, a postman, has set up the Facebook page ‘Medals Going Home’ to reunite other wartime medals with their owner’s families.
He said: “It’s been really nice speaking to Jocelyn about all this – her excitement and enthusiasm really rubs off on you.
“I’ve been doing this for a little while now – I’ve been really interested in family trees since I put my own family tree together.
“It’s nerve-wracking at first, because you’re not sure how people are going to react.
“Not everybody wants to know, and some people don’t believe what I’m telling them.
“But I was very lucky that Jocelyn trusted what I was talking about. My main aim is always to reunite these medals with their families.
“They may not cost me very much to buy, but for the people who can get them back, like Jocelyn, they’re worth a lot more.”