Burnley war hero’s medals back with family

Gary Blakeley, his mother Catherine Blakeley and Andrew McKay

Gary Blakeley, his mother Catherine Blakeley and Andrew McKay

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After a fruitless 40 year search for the wartime medals of a fallen relative, a Canadian ex-pat has finally found them – thanks to a Burnley war researcher.

Gary Blakeley, who has lived in Canada since emigrating from the UK in 1987, has been fascinated in the First World War exploits of his remarkable Burnley ancestors ever since his grandmother presented him with his great-grandfather’s medals when he was 12 years-old.

Pte Thomas McCarthy
Pte Thomas McCarthy

His great-grandfather James McCarthy was killed in the Battle of Boesinghe in 1915, but Gary had nothing to remember James’ younger brother Thomas by, and so started a decades-long search.

 

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