WATCH: A mystery nearly two years in the making has brought together war medals found in a Campbell River pawn shop with the family of a heroic soldier who shared few details about his service in the war. From the moment Sean Smith saw the medals that day he knew he needed to get them to their rightful home, and Saturday, in an exchange he says can only be fate, it happened.
For years, the story of Raymond Buckberry’s wartime service has been a mystery to his Campbell River family.
“He just kept to himself and yeah we don’t know that much about it,” said his daughter Lois Milne.
Now Sgt. Buckberry’s service is finally getting its due because of Sean Smith, who is a veteran himself. Smith took a fateful trip to a Campbell River pawn shop in January 2016 and found six war medals that he thought belonged on a hero’s lapel instead of up for sale.
“And the thought that a teenager purchasing them to wear as jewellery just did not sit well with me,” said Sean Smith. “So I bought them on the spot.”
He began a search for their rightful owner but unfortunately hit a dead end. However, around the same time, Jenna Milne went looking into her grandfather Raymond Buckberry’s military history since he fought in the Second World War. He was a warm, quiet man who died in 1996 and was so modest, he never collected his medals he was always due.
“I took a look at his service papers,” said Smith, And wouldn’t you know it, he served in all six of the things that we had the medals for, I found a home.”
It turns out Buckberry fought in some of the most legendary battles of the Second World War.
“He served the entire war,” said Smith.
On Saturday, his family collected the six medals in his name.
“You know if there is such a thing as fate, that’s it,” said Smith.
“It kind of explains a lot knowing what he went through,” said Lois Milne. “And not knowing how hard that must have been,” she said.
Sean Smith says the act of uniting the mystery medals with Buckberry’s family is something he will always treasure.
“Can’t describe it. Just can’t describe it,” said Smith with tears in his eyes.