Shooting medal discovered on South Canterbury beach more than 60 years after being lost

A 108-year-old shooting medal once belonging to a Temuka man has been found on a South Canterbury beach more than 60 years after it was lost.

The medal, discovered by twin brothers who were out metal detecting near Browns Beach in Temuka, belonged to William Joseph Husband.

James Koia, who along with histwin, Richard, discovered the medal, said he was thrilled to assist with the family.

“We were at Brown’s Beach with our metal detectors, and I got a good signal, so we knew there was something there,” James Koia said.

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“As soon as we saw the name and date on it we hoped we could contact the descendants of the person who owned the medal.”

Husband received the medal in 1913 from the Temuka Territorial Miniature Rifle Club before serving in World War I. He died in 1969 at the age of 82.

Marj Irving, alongside her twin brother John Gould, holds a shooting medal belonging to her grandfather that was found by the Koia brothers, James (left) and Richard (right) on a South Canterbury beach 60 years after being lost.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Marj Irving, alongside her twin brother John Gould, holds a shooting medal belonging to her grandfather that was found by the Koia brothers, James (left) and Richard (right) on a South Canterbury beach 60 years after being lost.

Granddaughter Marj Irving said the medal must have been lost at the beach for more than 60 years ago.

“He used to wear the medal and dog tags around his neck. He was a keen fisherman, so somehow, the medal must have come off his chain and dropped into the sea.

“I’m absolutely astonished that it’s been found after all these years. Our family can’t believe it.”

Irving said she became aware of the medal’s discovery after seeing a social media post.

“We were straight out there to pick it up.

The medal was awarded in 1913, and was missing for more than 60 years.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

The medal was awarded in 1913, and was missing for more than 60 years.

“I thought the people who discovered it might want some money for their find, but they were so kind, they just wanted to give it back to our family. So I gave them some whitebait.

“It was incredible, as soon as I saw the picture I knew what it was. It’s in amazing condition considering how long the medal has been lost.”

Husband, who lived in Temuka most of his life, was a kind man who loved fishing, Irving said.

“He never really talked about the war.”

The medal was nine-carat gold, and Irving said she and the other seven grandchildren would discuss what could be done with it.

Marj Irving holds her grandfather’s shooting medal found by James Koia (pictured) and his twin brother Richard on a South Canterbury beach.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Marj Irving holds her grandfather’s shooting medal found by James Koia (pictured) and his twin brother Richard on a South Canterbury beach.

“We could give it to the local museum, I’m sure they would be interested in it.

“But it’s just been so exciting to have it with us again after all this time.”

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