Social media sheds new light on WWII medal mystery

Doug Schnurr /

British Columbia’s Martin Bokesch has turned to social media to try to reunite four WWII medals with their rightful owner.

Bokesch’s wife discovered the medals 18 years ago in a abandoned desk in Montreal. At the time, she didn’t know how to track down the person who they belonged to.

When he rediscovered the medals this year, Bokesch was determined to finally return them back to the family of the soldier they had been awarded to. He reached out to Veterans Affairs and the Royal Canadian Legion, but was unable to get any answers. He did, however, have a few clues to go on.

The four medals

Photo courtesy of Martin Bokesch/

Bokesch figured out that the medals were most likely given to someone who served in the navy during the Second World War. Furthermore, the box they were found in was addressed to a Dorothy Priest of Timmins, Ontario and had a stamp from the 1940s, which lead Bokesch to believe it was from the same era as the medals.

Armed with these few tidbits of information, Bokesch posted a photo of the four medals, which he believes to be the Atlantic Star, a 1939-1945 Star, a Canadian Volunteer Service medal, and a War medal, along with a photo of the box they were found in, on Facebook.

The box

Photo courtesy of Martin Bokesch/

Since going up on November 6, the post has been shared 33,000 times. Bokesch was overwhelmed by the response.

“It now has more meaning than I would have thought possible and obviously with all the replies I’ve got, it obviously means a great deal to many, many Canadians across the country,” he told the CBC.

Thanks to the incredible response on Facebook, Bokesch has managed to contact the daughter of the woman the box was originally addressed to. While she has no idea who in her family may have served during WWII, she plans to reach out to her extended family for answers.