A random search on the Internet helped reunite a family in Chelsea with their grandfather's WW1 medal that disappeared more than forty years ago.

The medal belonged to Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan Eberts Macintyre who was instrumental in Canada's success at Vimy Ridge. It's been one hundred years since Lieutenant-Colonel Macintyre helped Canadian soldiers win one of the biggest battles of World War One. 

And 45 years since his family last saw the Distinguished Service Medal he was awarded, in part, because of that battle. Now, the medal is back home where it belongs.

Along a rural road in Chelsea, Quebec that bears the name of Duncan Eberts Macintyre.

At the house where the distinguished military veteran settled after the wa, history lives on in Duncan Macintyre's grandson John.

“My grandfather was an incredible person,” says John, “He had great skills as an organizer, as a planner.”

They are skills that would prove invaluable in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.  Macintyre was adept at quickly sketching enemy trenches and front lines, earning him a number of medals.

But after his death in 1974, the family discovered that one of the many medals adorning his military uniform, the Distinguished Service Order or DSO, was missing.

“It was discovered that this set of medals, the stitching had been carefully removed,” says John, “and the DSO medal was gone.”

Over the decades that followed, the Macintyre family didn’t think much more about that medal.

Recently, though, on Vimy weekend to commemorate his grandfather’s contribution to the battle, John posted pictures of Lieutenant-Colonel Macintyre and a photo of a memorial rock outside the family home commissioned by a neighbor who greatly admired Macintyre.  The rock mentioned that the veteran was a recipient of the DSO.  John’s brother-in-law wondered what “DSO” stood for and googled it.

“As he googled it, he came up with an on-line auction site that had very clearly my grandfather's medal with a copy of my grandfather's book, with a whole bio of my grandfather, detailed pictures of the medal including his name engraved on it.  So there was no question.”

That auction site, Medals of War out of Kemptville, is owned by Tanya Ursual.  Ursual explains that she had purchased the medal from a collector a few months ago.  Before that, it had belonged to a collector in B.C., and some time before that, had been purchased out of an auction house in the U.K. 

Ursual says with the advent of the internet, searches for medals like these have now become possible.

“Where it once would have been very difficult to find your family's medals had they been lost,” she explains, “there would only be a small number opportunities to seek those medals, a needle in a haystack.

Nowadays, you can do a google search and find anything immediately. 

Ursual was advertising Macintyre’s DSO for $2800 but won’t disclose what she actually sold it for.

“The mystery of where it's been for the last 40 years, I can't answer. It went missing even before I was born, so that's a question.”

It's probably not a question John Macintyre cares to answer. His family has the medal back, for a price.

“It' wasn't a king's ransom but it was a few thousand dollars or more.”

But that, he says, is the price for a piece of the family history. John Macintyre thinks his grandfather would be thrilled to know his set of medals is once again complete, maybe even honoured to know his story is still being told to a generation one hundred years after the nation-building battle.