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The Military Medal was awarded to Sgt Alfred Blake by George VI for bravery in France in 1940, but the Royal Engineer may have dropped it on one of his regular walks at Kent’s Shorne Woods park.

Trevor Bent, who dug it up, traced Alfred’s sons Alan and Robert via the Royal Engineers Association branch in Gravesend where Alfred had been chairman.

Andrew Mayfield, Kent County Council archaeologist, said: “It was an unusual medal to be awarded but an even more unusual medal to find buried during a medieval dig.”

Father-of-five Alfred died in 2004 but his family did not know the medal was missing as they already had an identical one.

They now believe that is a replacement for the original Army honour.

Alan, 70, said: “It was a shock to get it back. We were all very pleased.”

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