WHEN Gloria Wall found an old metal chain while digging out a pond in her garden she did not think much of it.

But 30 years later it will now be housed in a museum as a First World War relic.

Ms Wall, 77, who found the bracelet in her garden in Old Fort Road, Shoreham, enlisted her friend Andy Ramus to look into it.

The 52-year-old carpenter and amateur genealogist took up the challenge to find the rightful inheritors with great enthusiasm.

Using family history websites and historical census data, Mr Ramus painstakingly pieced together known details of the life and family of the man who had owned and lost the bracelet stamped “2nd Lt P. F. H. Simon, RFA”.

He discovered Lt P. F. H. Simon was in fact Philip Frederick Howard Simon, who was born on May 6 1898 in Tulse Hill, London, to German parents.

Armed with this information, Mr Ramus enlisted the help of fellow genealogy enthusiasts both locally and online.

Shoreham Fort resident Hilary Greenwood took a trip to the National Military Archives in Kew, which unearthed both his military record and the school from which he applied - prestigious Charterhouse public school.

Mr Ramus: “So I rattled off an email to them and the Charterhouse archivist. She kindly answered, granting me access to their fantastic online archive and attached a couple of school photos with Philip in them.

“We now had a picture.”

The archives at Kew revealed that Mr Simon was wounded twice in action in France in the First World War and once in Palestine. It was there he met his wife-to-be Phylis Chevalier.

He resigned his commission in 1922 and moved to South Africa with Phylis, where they married in 1924.

Mr Ramus then reached out to acquaintances on family history website Rootschat, who provided him with the names of the couple’s South African-born daughters.

More work at Ancestry.com unearthed their married names and family trees, and LinkedIn provided up-to-date contact details for Andy Quinan, Mr Simon's 67 year old grandson in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mr Quinan said: “I received the first email from Andy Ramus about my grandfather with intense suspicion because of all the scams going on around the internet, but having read it and absorbed the amazing amount of research Andy collected about my grandfather and his family I was delighted and extremely appreciative.

“When I learnt of Gloria’s offer to return the bracelet to us, I discussed it with my family and we all felt that it would be far better if the bracelet found a place in the local museum.

“Philip probably was in Shoreham Beach waiting for a ship, on his way to fight in France, so I thought let the ID bracelet stay where it was found as that is where it historically belongs.”

That final agreement took place during a Skype conversation between Mr Ramus in the UK and Mr Quinan in South Africa and the bracelet will be transferred to the Marlipins Museum in Shoreham.

Ms Wall said: “I’m very happy. It’s laid there a long time, and it must have been awful for him to have lost it, so it’s lovely to be able to track it down his family and offer to return it."

Mr Ramus added: “It’s been fun for everyone really, and I’m delighted the bracelet will be staying in Shoreham where it was found.”

Mr Ramus is now terying to find out how the bracelet ended up here in the garden of Old Fort Road.

If you can help him email news@theargus.co.uk