Possible owner found for mystery medal

The design on the front of the medal
The design on the front of the medal
HM Submarine  P556  is berthed at (as it was then ) Fort Blockhouse. Wrens are pushing the torpedo. (Mike Nolan coll.)

NOSTALGIA: Wrens show the boys how to do it

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I’m grateful to Dave Lee for the research he has undertaken into this mystery medal.

Regular readers will recall that it was found by Neil Wilson from Fareham, buried on Portsdown Hill.

It was awarded to a John Collins who was born in Chance Street, Landport, Portsmouth, in 1865, and Neil would like to return it to its rightful owner.

After the initial plea appeared last month Dave got in touch to say that his 1896 street map of Portsmouth showed that Chance Street, now long gone, ran from Charlotte Street to Thomas’s Street, parallel to Hope, Amelia, Alfred and Conway Streets.

He said: ‘I have tried to trace John Collins and the most likely candidate I could find was serving on board HMS Rattlesnake in 1901, a torpedo gunboat based in Newlyn, Cornwall at the time of the 1901 census. He was recorded in the census as born in Landport, Portsmouth, and he was of the right age.

‘In the 1871 census he was living with his brothers and sisters in Paradise Street, almost opposite the end of Charlotte Street on the other side of Commercial Road.

‘In 1881 he was living with his now-widowed father back in Chance Street. However, I could not find him in 1891 or 1911.’