Some months ago I found a French ID bracelet near Arras. It was dated 1918, and the name and serial number still readeble. I decided to do some research, and found out his family name was rare in France, not to much people with this name.
On the back of the bracelet Narbonne was ingraved, a village not far from where I found a family with the same name. So today I decided to travel down there, and see what I could find out, and maybe even return the bracelet to the family.
My first stop was the cemetery in the village, and after a quick walk arround I found the family grave. Now I knew for sure I was in the right spot, so travelled on to the centre of the village to visit the monument to see if his name was on the list.
I found out he toke service in 1918, and was killed in action in the same year.
I had looked up the address on internet, and after a few minutes I found the house, knocked on the door but nobody answered, so toke the detector out for a swing in the neighborhood, to come back later. I was more lucky the second time; an old lady answered the door. I explained why I was there, what I had found, and if that could possible be family of her's. It turned out the soldier was her husbands grandfather. She had never met the man in person, but had heard the stories about the war, how young lads where taken away from their homes to fight in the war, never to come back. They had lost more family in the great war she told; Jean's brother also never came back. Her husband was not in, but she asked me if she could have the bracelet to give it to her husband, or their children, and of course I told her it belonged to them, and it was the meaning of my trip to return it. She asked me a few times if she had to pay anyhting, but of course I told her they owed me nothing. Altough she had never met the soldier in person she told me she would pray for him next week, when the French commemorate the fallen in the great war. I said I would too. I never left my phonenumber or address, maybe I should have, I don't know. Anyway, the bracelet is back home after all these years, and I bet the lady and her husband are puzzeled how it ever could end up in their hands.
I've uploaded some pictures, hope you guys like it. Now I'm moving on to my next project; a French messtin named and dated. It belonged to a French soldier who was taken prisoner at Dunkirque 4 june 1940.