A museum in Surrey is hoping to trace the family of a Bolton World War One hero after a service medal was discovered in an old toolbox.

The volunteer-run Send and Ripley History Society was approached by local man Clive Carter after he found the service medal in his toolbox.

The medal was found while sorting the tools out to pass on to the son of a friend, but Mr Carter told Clare McCann he has no idea how it got there.

Knowing Clare's surname was McCann, he brought it to the museum in case it was a relation, as the recipient of the medal was G McCann AB. RNVR service number Z 3727.

A search on the National Archives database, revealed the medal was given for WW1 service to George McCann, born in Bolton in 1899 and at the time he enlisted in July 1917 he was a frame overlooker.

The Bolton News: The medalThe medal (Image: Clare McCann)

His first ‘ship’ was listed as Victory V1, and it turns out that during WW1 Crystal Palace was used as a training establishment for the Royal Navy.

It was officially known as H.M.S. Victory VI, and informally as HMS Crystal Palace, 125,000 officers and men were trained there.

He served at HMS Dolphin, a shore establishment at Gosport, the home of the Royal Naval Submarine Service and the HMS Hebe, a torpedo gunboat that had been converted to a mine sweeper and was ultimately broken up after the war and HMS Pomone, another training ship.

Having traced his war service, Clare says she is now keen to learn more about the family and hopefully reunite the medal with his family.

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One of Clare’s colleagues, Janet Tice, traced the family via Ancestry.

She first found the McCann family in the 1861 census – David McCann, age 58 and originally from the Isle of Man, was then living in Little Bolton, Lancashire with his wife and five children and he was a roller coverer at a Cotton Mill.

His son John, then aged 16, was an iron moulder. The 1881 census reveals that John was still similarly employed but was now married with eight children, one of whom was George aged eight.

In the 1901 census George ‘senior’ born in Bolton in 1873 and was a hairdresser and had a son, George born on April 6, 1899, the recipient of the medal.

The Bolton News: The medalThe medal (Image: Clare McCann)After the war, in the July of 1922, ‘our’ George was married to Amelia Wharmby in Bolton.

By 1939 he and Amelia had a son called Keith, who was born in 1931 and they were living at 20 Thornton Avenue. George was a Cotton Carder and also serving as a special constable.

Clare said: “The 1939 Register is the last, easily accessible record so we cannot offer any more information.

“We are hoping that Keith McCann might have stayed in Bolton and had a family and perhaps one of them can get in touch with the newspaper.

“The medal is not valuable, it is a simple service medal, but it would be special to restore it to the family and, who knows they might be able to shed light on how it ended up in a toolbox in Surrey.”

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at chloe.wilson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on X @chloewjourno