Esperance resident Annette Havlin has been returned her great uncle's World War I medal

An Esperance woman has had a pleasant surprise after being returned a 101 year old World War I medal belonging to her great uncle.

Esperance resident Annette Havlin said she had ‘no idea’ the medal existed until she was contacted by Lost Medals Australia six weeks ago.

“I received a phone call from an army officer in Canberra wanting to know who I was and getting details of my family because someone had found a lost war medal,” she said.

“He’d gone through all kinds of papers and rolls in order to find a family member and it turns out I’m the oldest surviving member of that family.

“They’d found my details from the electoral roll.”

Ms Havlin said she now understands her great uncle, Private Cecil Rourke, was killed in action in France between November 3-6, 1916.

Ms Havlin said she was thrilled and overwhelmed to find out the ‘British War Medal’ medal existed.

“For something that I didn’t know existed, it’s unreal and still sinking in that it’s back in our family’s possession,” she said.

According to Ms Havlin, the medal was found by Trevor Pengilly during the clearing of land in Kalgoorlie more than 20 years ago.

“This chap took it home and put it in his draw some 21 years ago,” she said.

“He said he thought regularly about the medal but never did anything about it until he was moving to Bunbury around 12 months ago.

“He said he found the medal while he was unpacking and thought ‘I’m going to find the rightful owner of this medal’.”

Prior to moving to Esperance nine years ago, Ms Halvin said she had always lived in Kalgoorlie and, as far as she is aware, believed the family had also.

Ms Havlin said Lost Medals Australia put both her and her sister in contact with Mr Pengilly, who then returned the medal back to the pair.

“It was a really gorgeous moment,” she said.

“It actually turned out that we’ve got mutual friends and, in fact, one of them lives in the same set of units that I live in [in Esperance].

Since receiving the medal, Ms Havlin said it had been the topic of conversation among family members.

“There is really only myself and my sister and our children and they’re thrilled,” she said.

“My son has actually been in contact with someone already and organised the ribbon that was missing and is supposed to go along with the medal.” Ms Havlin said although the medal had quite a history, she was glad it was finally with its rightful owner.

“I’m glad its journey is stopping here in Esperance, with me.”