Bracewell doctor turns detective to unravel ring mystery

Craven Herald: STRIKING GOLD:  Dr Mary Harrington inspects the ring she found her in garden STRIKING GOLD: Dr Mary Harrington inspects the ring she found her in garden

All that glitters did turn to gold for Mary Harrington when she was digging in her garden in Bracewell.

What she thought was a crisp packet turned out to be a signet ring and the start of an investigation which led to Scotland, the First World War and the tragic story of a young soldier.

Dr Harrington eventually discovered the gold ring had belonged to John Badenock, of Sentosa, Banff, Scotland. Engraved inside was the name Ian and the date 19.3.1917.

With the help of her son, Dr Harrington set in motion a further investigation which revealed that Ian was the son of John and he had died heroically on the Western Front.

“Ian was awarded the Albert Medal for his bravery when he saved men of the 20th Royal Fusiliers during a bomb throwing accident on the Somme in 1917,” said Dr Harrington, a consultant physician.

“On March 19 of that year, during bombing practice, a live bomb thrown by one of the party failed to clear the parapet and fell back.

“Lieutenant Badenoch at once rushed to pick up the bomb and threw it out of the pit. He collided with the man who had thrown it and was in the act of throwing it when it exploded and he was mortally wounded,” she said.

Ian was just 19. He is buried in the Le Neuville communal cemetery at Corbie in northern France and his Albert Medal was presented to his father by King George V on March 16, 1918.

But it is mystery how the ring made its way to Yorkshire and to an area where there used to be a midden heap.

“I’d love to know how it got here but I think it should go back to the family and that’s our wish now,” said Dr Harrington.

She has contacted the Banffshire Journal to appeal to its readers for help and she hopes someone in Craven can throw light on the mystery Ian had a younger brother, George, who was killed in World War Two. The two brothers are listed on the Banff War Memorial and in the Banff Academy Roll of Honour in the National Library of Scotland.

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