World War Two air bomber’s medal reunited with family after being found in Doncaster field

The ID tag of a World War Two soldier which was found by a metal detector in a Doncaster field has been reunited with his family.

Sgt William Stephen Whalley was killed while part of a crew on board a Lancaster Bomber in September 1943.

David Holyoak (right) and John Brown (middle), pictured handing over the RAF ID Tag of William Stephen Whalley, to his Nephew Stephen Whalley. Picture: Marie Caley

David Holyoak (right) and John Brown (middle), pictured handing over the RAF ID Tag of William Stephen Whalley, to his Nephew Stephen Whalley. Picture: Marie Caley

The plane crashed about two miles from Wymeswold air field in Leicestershire, killing all six crew members and three air cadets who were on board.

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Sgt Whalley’s metal engraved tag – known as a 'dog tag' – was found by metal detector David Holyoak during a search of land at John Brown's Cherry Tree Farm, in Hatfield Woodhouse.

Mr Brown said: "David found the medal and it had the chap's name on the back of it and I said it would be nice if we could get in touch with the relatives and pass it on.

The ID tag of William Stephen Whalley, pictured.  Picture: Marie Caley

The ID tag of William Stephen Whalley, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley

“He came back a day or two after and he had got all of the information. He’d found out where the grave was from some of the relatives and one of them was over from Japan to visit his sister.”

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Sgt Whalley, an air bomber,  studied marine engineering and originally wanted to join the navy before volunteering for the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

He then trained as an air bomber before his death at the age of just 20.

The grave of the late Sergeant William Stephen Whalley. Picture: Stephen Whalley

The grave of the late Sergeant William Stephen Whalley. Picture: Stephen Whalley

His nephew Stephen Whalley said: “I got a Skype call from my sister, because I live in Japan, and she said she’d got some important news and I couldn’t imagine what it was.

“She said something about finding a dog tag and my uncle’s grave. I am named after my uncle but I didn’t know much about it. Someone took me to Loughborough to see the grave and it was a bit of shock actually because it was all in the past but it suddenly all came back.”

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Mr Whalley was presented with the tag by Mr Holyoak at Doncaster railway station on Saturday.

The ID tag of William Stephen Whalley, pictured.  Picture: Marie Caley

The ID tag of William Stephen Whalley, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley

Mr Whalley added: “It was a mixture of funny feelings but I’m happy to get the tag and connect with old family members and the war.

“He was 20 years old so it just shows the sacrifices that were made. I was a bit choked up by it.”

Stephen Whalley, pictured holding the ID tag of his late Uncle William Stephen Whalley, which was found by David Holyoak, while he was out with his metal detector in John Brown's field in Hatfield Woodhouse. Picture: Marie Caley

Stephen Whalley, pictured holding the ID tag of his late Uncle William Stephen Whalley, which was found by David Holyoak, while he was out with his metal detector in John Brown's field in Hatfield Woodhouse. Picture: Marie Caley

The ID tag of William Stephen Whalley, pictured.  Picture: Marie Caley

The ID tag of William Stephen Whalley, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley

Stephen Whalley, pictured holding the ID tag of his late Uncle William Stephen Whalley, which was found by David Holyoak, while he was out with his metal detector in John Brown's field in Hatfield Woodhouse. Picture: Marie Caley

Stephen Whalley, pictured holding the ID tag of his late Uncle William Stephen Whalley, which was found by David Holyoak, while he was out with his metal detector in John Brown's field in Hatfield Woodhouse. Picture: Marie Caley

Sgt William Stephen Whalley. Picture: Barrow Upon Soar Heritage Group

Sgt William Stephen Whalley. Picture: Barrow Upon Soar Heritage Group

The crew of the Lancaster Bomber JB153, which crashed on September 8, 1943. Picture: Barrow Upon Soar Heritage Group

The crew of the Lancaster Bomber JB153, which crashed on September 8, 1943. Picture: Barrow Upon Soar Heritage Group