Long lost locket could be key to story of wartime romance

A metal detecting enthusiast's latest find could tell a story of lost love and romance from World War One.

Saturday, 24th September 2016, 9:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:00 pm
Metal detectorist John Bradbury with the WWI sweetheart locket which is his latest find

John Bradbury discovered a silver pendant known as a “sweetheart locket” in a field close to his home in Brierfield.

The wreath shaped locket, stamped with an enamelled anchor and the Royal Navy, would have been bought by a sailor when he went away to fight in the war.

There is a loop on the locket for where the other part of the item, that would have been kept by the sailor’s girlfriend, was attached. As there is no name or anything else on the item to indicate who it belonged to, the story of the romance will remain a mystery.

A close up view of the WWI sweetheart locket found by John Bradbury

John, of Stoneyhurst Height, is now considering donating the locket to Burnley’s Towneley Hall where there is a permanent exhibition of WWI memorabillia, artefacts and photographs.

He said: “It looks like the locket would be worn as a medal on a lapel.”

A metal detectorist for almost 30 years John has found hundreds of items in that time both across the UK and abroad.

His last find was a ring that was centuries old which he unearthed in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire.

A close up view of the WWI sweetheart locket found by John Bradbury

The posey ring, which dated back to the Tudor era, was valued at up to £6,000 and was engraved with the words “Constant I Will Until I Die.”

John struck silver on the same day, picking up a hammered coin dating back to 1575 which had the outline of the head of Elizabeth 1 on one side.

With a keen interest in history John believes that metal detectorists have a great contribution to make in charting and area’s heritage and past.

He said: “To do this you need to have knowledge of the area so you know where to look for things.

“It is the discovery of the items and not the value of them that is the exciting part.”

John is now preparing to catalogue all his finds in a book and also on film.

He is also appealing for any farmers or landowners who would give permission for him to search their land as they could be in line for a pay out from any items found that would be donated to local museums.

John can be contacted on 07867936372.