A Millwall fan is hunting for the family of a World War One hero after finding his mud-encrusted medal near to The Den.
Lifelong Lions fan Jad Bayram stumbled across Lance Corporal James Cookman’s medal as he made his way to Saturday’s game versus QPR.
It sparked a search to reunite the medal with the war hero’s family – and your help is needed.
“The aim for me is to get the medal back to the family, whoever that may be. If that was my granddad I’d want it back,” said the 24-year-old VIP executive.
Jad discovered the mud-stained medal while walking near Bermondsey’s Ilderton Road on his way to the game, and after cleaning it up, revealed L.Cpl Cookman’s name on the back.
The clue was enough for Jad to uncover where L.Cpl Cookman was born, when he died and details of his military action in France – but so far, tracking down living relatives has not been possible.
“Everyone has said to me, ‘Don’t give up because we will find who he was,’” said the 24-year-old.
“It’s got no sale value, but it’s got huge sentimental value. And whoever L.Cpl Cookman was, he’s a hero.”
The medal is thought to be a 1914/15 Star, given to officers who saw battle against the Central Powers (Germany and it’s allies) between Aug 5, 1914 and December 31, 1915.
The soldier, from Battersea, is believed to have landed in France in December 1914, and appears on the casualty lists for the Royal Irish regiment on May 16, 1915.
He is known to have survived the war, and is believed to have had a wife called Ellen and a son called Peter – but here the trail ends.
“I’ve got a couple of people searching for the blood-line because apparently his son did not have any kids,” said Jad.
“He was a south London boy, but I don’t know how the medal made its way to Bermondsey.”
A rush of Millwall fans have now joined the Lions supporter in his quest to reunite the star with the war hero’s relatives – some from the other side of the globe.
“I’ve been kind of overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve had,” he said. “A lady in Australia has even been helping … it’s been crazy.”
What we know so far about L.Cpl James E Cookman:
The war hero was born in 1892, and is listed as being posted to France during World War One on December 19, 1914.
He was later listed as being among the wounded of the Royal Irish Regiment on May 16, 1915. He survived the war, and is thought to have passed away in London in 1958.
L.Cpl Cookman had a wife called Ellen, whom he married in 1920 after the War, and a son called Peter.
His home address was listed as 47 Vardens Road, which is in Battersea. It is not clear how the medal came to be in Bermondsey near to The Den.
James’s son, Peter, is not known to have had any children – and so the search continues for the war hero’s living relatives.
Can you help reunite this war hero’s medal with its rightful owner? Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org