A missing memorial honouring workers from city firm GKN who died in the First World War has been found – at a car boot sale.
Seven employees who fell in battle were honoured on the cenotaph which is thought to have disappeared from the engineering firm’s King’s Norton works when the site closed in the early 1980s.
Since then it has been missing – until local historian Greg Wigg discovered it at a car boot sale, at Cheltenham Racecourse, in March.
Knowing it to be important Mr Wigg bought the bronze memorial for £230, and contacted the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the War Memorials Trust in a bid to return the historic item to its original home.
Within three months he had been put in touch with GKN’s communications director Chris Fox, who immediately offered to buy back the piece.
Now it has been handed back to the company at its Redditch headquarters, where it will be displayed.
Mr Wigg, who is a trustee of the Restoration and Archiving Trust of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, said: “As soon as I saw it at the car boot sale I knew it shouldn’t be left there.
“Although £230 is far more than I would normally spend on one item, I spoke to a colleague at the Trust and agreed that we could display the war memorial in our museum if we couldn’t rehouse it.
“Having said that, I’m delighted that GKN was so keen to reclaim it. It’s vital that we remember our history and doubly so in the case of those who have given their lives for their country.”
The memorial reads: In ever grateful recognition of the splendid patriotism and heroic self sacrifice of the employees of Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds Ltd (King’s Norton Works) who gave their lives for their king and country in the Great War, 1914 - 1918.
GKN spokesman Chris Fox said: “Assoon as we heard about this we were anxious that it was properly restored in a suitable setting that be fits its importance to both relatives and GKN as a 250-year-old British company.
“We are extremely grateful to Greg for his commitment in returning it to GKN especially apt as it is just in time for the centenary commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War.”
GKN was established in 1759. Today, it employs 48,000 around the world and is a leading supplier to the global automotive, aerospace and land systems markets.