Medals turn up on eBay
By RENEE FORD
WHEN Julia Beal from Brushgrove researched her family genealogy on the internet, she had no idea that she was about to stumble across a long lost family heirloom.
Julia typed in a Google search for 'Jabez Duchars', her husband's great grandfather, then a response came up that no one could anticipate.
'Crimean war medals from a J Duchars' were being sold on eBay on the other side of the world, in England, for 260 pounds with two days, two hours and 47 seconds left to go before bidding closed.
After reading the information, Julia and John Beal realised the medals were actually his long lost great grandfather's war medals.
They had been secretly sold around 50 years ago, and hence lost as a family heirloom.
"It was a chance in a lifetime, what are the chances of that happening,?" John said.
"We had no choice, we really had to get them back."
The Beal family didn't have broadband facilities at home and were not very familiar with the ins and outs of bidding on eBay, so they asked their son David to make a bid on their behalf.
David made a bid that had to be increased a few times.
"My son (David) rang us up at 5.30am on his mobile, with two minutes to go before the bidding closed," John said.
"We thought we'd got them, but then there was another bid."
Someone else was still competing for the valuable medals, so with 30 seconds remaining, David increased the bid by another 100 pounds.
Meanwhile John and Julia could only listen on the other end of the phone and hope for the best.
"He gave us the countdown, 30 seconds to go, 15 seconds to go, and nobody else made a bid," John said.
"Five seconds, four, three, two, one.
"Then 'congratulations, you now own Crimean war medals from a J Duchars'."
The winning bid was 570 pounds, around $1430.
John said it was incredible that the genealogy of his maternal side was held in a small parcel.
"It was like having an Aladdin's cave in a jiffy bag," John said.
"I opened the flap and there they were, I had them."
John said he remembered seeing the medals in an old cabin chest in his father's attic, and heard so many great stories about his great grandfather.
Sergeant Jabez Duchars was a labourer born in the parish of Gosberton, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, in 1835 and attested for the Royal Artillery on November 5, 1853, at age 18.
Sgt Duchars served in the Crimea for 360 days for which he was awarded the Queen's Crimean medal clasp sebastopol and the Turkish Crimean medal (pictured).
Sgt Duchars had a very long military career covering 41 years and 217 days.