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Weekly editor’s war medals bought off eBay

The medals of a World War One hero turned weekly editor have been bought by an historian who is now trying to track down the soldier’s family.

History enthusiast Frank Pybus was looking at war medals on eBay when he recognised the name John Hirst who took over the family-owned Spenborough Guardian in 1931.

Frank, from Cleckheaton in West Yorkshire, decided to buy the medals which included the 1914-1915 Star as well as the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Having bought the military memorabilia, Frank is now trying to get in touch with any living members of Mr Hirst’s family to show them his find.

Frank Pybus bought Mr Hirst's medals off eBay

“I recognised the name and ‘Cleckheaton’ in the listing. He said the man was killed in the war so I went to the memorial in Cleckheaton but his name wasn’t on it,” he told the Dewsbury Reporter.

Frank did some research and learned Mr Hirst, whose family owned the West Yorkshire-based Spenborough Guardian, had actually survived the war and joined the Royal Flying Corps.

“He was very brave to be in the army. He thought the war was a bit of fun at first but then he changed,” added Frank.

“After the war he went into the air force and became an observer. He took photos of the ground so they could see where the Germans were. They were very susceptible to being shot down.

“He went to Mesopotamia in the Middle East. He came out of the air force and took over the Spenborough Guardian in 1931.

“If there is any family I would love them to see the medals.”

During his war days Mr Hirst, who rose to the rank of officer but was a trained journalist before going to war, sent weekly updates to the Spenborough Guardian.

“All day and all night the deep voiced cannons growl and roar in the north, in the east and in the south, indicating the winding, waving line of the greatest battle which has ever been waged in the world,” he wrote.