Journalist’s medals turn up on eBay

WAR MEDALS Frank Pybus with former Guardian journalist Pte John Hirst's medals. (d602b407)
WAR MEDALS Frank Pybus with former Guardian journalist Pte John Hirst's medals. (d602b407)

A history enthusiast has bought the medals of a former Guardian journalist who fought for his country during the Great War.

Frank Pybus was looking at war medals on eBay when he recognised the name Pte John Hirst.

Mr Pybus decided to buy the medals – and now wants to get in touch with any living members of Pte Hirst’s family to show them his find.

He said: “I recognised the name and ‘Cleckheaton’ in the listing. He said the man was killed in the war so I went to the memorial in Cleckheaton but his name wasn’t on it.”

Mr Pybus did some research and learned Pte Hirst, whose family owned the Guardian, had actually survived the war and joined the Royal Flying Corps.

During his war days he sent weekly updates to the Guardian.

He wrote: “All day and all night the deep voiced cannons growl and roar in the north, in the east and in the south, indicating the winding, waving line of the greatest battle which has ever been waged in the world.”

During the war Pte Hirst was injured while cooking, when some bullets in the fire exploded and hit his hand.

He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star as well as the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Frank said: “He was very brave to be in the army. He thought the war was a bit of fun at first but then he changed.

“After the war he went into the air force and became an observer. He took photos of the ground so they could see where the Germans were. They were very susceptible to being shot down.

“He went to Mesopotamia in the Middle East.

“He came out of the air force and took over the Spenborough Guardian in 1931.

“If there is any family I would love them to see the medals.”

• We’re featuring your families’ stories from World War One over the next four years to mark the centenary of the Great War. We’d love to hear from readers with stories to tell. Contact reporter Lauren Ballinger on 01924 487145 or at