THE hunt is on to find the family of a WW1 soldier whose war medal has been dug up in Old Sodbury.

Volunteers for Yate Heritage Centre are trying to trace the family of Archibald Joseph Newman, who served in France with the Royal Artillery, before centenary commemorations of the start of the war get underway later this year.

The standard issue medal, engraved The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919, was discovered just off the A46 in Old Sodbury nearly 40 years ago by a farmer who wishes to remain anonymous. But it was only recently that the find was brought to the attention of the heritage centre during a chance discussion with friend Tony Nelson.

Mr Nelson, 74, a volunteer at the centre on Church Road, said: “I saw an item on The One Show featuring the same medals and thought we should try and find this man’s family.

“It is very timely with the WW1 centenary coming up and it would be nice to hand it over to his descendants.”

He added: “I have my father’s war medal and although this was a common medal issued to soldiers, but it doesn’t mean anything to anybody unless they are your family.”

Investigations have discovered Mr Newman was the son of Charles George Neman and Ethel Elizabeth (nee Stabbing) who had links to Henfield Farm, Coalpit Heath and are believed to have run the grocers and post office in Westerleigh.

The 1911 Census shows that a young Archibald had a brother Frederick Charles, with just a year between them, and both joined up at the same time. Archibald rose to the rank of Sergeant in the Royal Artillery before he was injured in France and returned to convalesce in Brighton. His brother also survived the devastating war and married Ethel K Colwill in 1919.

“We know he was not linked to the Newman family of Yate which ran Newman Industries,” said Mr Nelson, who himself completed National Service in Germany from 1959 to 1961. “If we can find any relatives we would like to share with them what we have found so far.

“But we have drawn a blank on finding anyone so far. If we can’t we will probably put the medal in with the heritage centre’s WW1 display.”

Anyone with any information or who believes they are related to Archibald Newman should contact Tony Nelson at Yate Heritage Centre on 01454 862200.