Manitoba man finds long-lost military bracelet on beach, returns to family of Scottish pilot

A Manitoba man has been able to return a long-lost military ID bracelet to the family of a Scottish pilot.

Randy Gerylo has enjoyed the hobby of metal detecting for over 30 years and in November 2021, he went to one of his favourite spots one last time before the season came to an end.

Gerylo said he went to Gimli, Man. on Nov. 8, as the weather was still nice enough to explore the beach on the waterfront.

“I was just finding the normal bits of stuff that you find in the water. Some bits of jewelry I was finding, some coins, pull tabs, and then I came across this silver bracelet,” said Gerylo.

He said when he first pulled the bracelet out, it was badly tarnished, but he noticed a name was stamped into it.

A collection of items that Randy Gerylo found in Gimli, including the ID bracelet of a Scottish man who was part of the Royal Air Force. Mar. 14, 2022. (Source: Randy Gerylo)

“I knew it was an ID bracelet right away. So I cleaned it up a little bit. It showed there was a fellow on the bracelet, his address and from Ayr, Scotland.”

The bracelet said Granville W. Graham, 6 Alloway Place, Ayr, Scotland – a town on the southwest coast of Scotland in south Ayrshire.

Gerylo said it was an interesting find, noting it was the first time he ever found something like this.

“It was a great feeling.”

Over his metal detecting career, Gerylo said he has found other items like high school rings that he returns to the original owners, so once he saw the address, he knew he had to try to return to the person or their family.

He started posting about his find on Facebook pages in Manitoba as well as pages overseas to see if anyone had information.

“It was shared quite a bit and we found fairly early on that the fellow was from Ayrshire, Scotland but he had passed away in 2019 and the next step was to find some family members.”

A picture of Granville Graham in Gimli, who was part of the Royal Air Force and in Gimli for training in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mar. 14, 2022. (Source: Randy Gerylo who received the picture from the Royal British Legion)

He said eventually a newspaper in Ayrshire picked up the story about what he had found and someone with the Royal British Legion recognized the man’s name and knew who it belonged to.

“He was a member of the Royal Air Force, this Granville Graham.”

Gerylo learned that Graham had been stationed in Gimli in the late 1950s and early 1960s as the Canadian Forces Base in Gimli was used as a flying training school.

The man with the legion was running a veteran’s support group and knew the family of Graham. Gerylo said his wife still lived in Scotland.

The wife of Granville Graham being presented with his ID bracelet found in Gimli, Man. by a member of the Royal British Legion. Mar. 14, 2022. Source: Randy Gerylo who received the picture from the Royal British Legion)

“The next step was to get the bracelet back to her … a couple weeks later she was presented it by a member of the legion.”

He said he is happy that he was able to get the bracelet back to Graham’s wife, calling the bracelet one of his better finds just because of the meaning behind it.

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