In a remarkable discovery, a British metal detector enthusiast recently unearthed a Second World War service tag belonging to a Saskatchewan bomber pilot, Flt. Lt. Frank Chad. The tag, lost nearly 80 years ago, has now been returned to the pilot’s family in a touching reminder of the enduring legacy of wartime service.
Darren Rigby, who hails from Somerset, England, stumbled upon the gold-plated tag while combing a farmer’s field near the historic Zeals House in Wiltshire. This area, once requisitioned as RAF Zeals during the war, revealed its hidden treasure in the form of Chad’s service tag, complete with his name and the Royal Canadian Air Force emblem.
“It’s nice to know someone is sitting there smiling,” Rigby told CBC News, reflecting on his find.
The Pilot: Flt. Lt. Frank Chad
Frank Chad, a native of Prince Albert, Sask., joined the Royal Canadian Air Force when the Second World War broke out. He spent over three years flying missions across Europe in Mosquito fighter planes, serving with the No. 410 night fighter squadron. Chad’s service was marked by bravery and dedication, characteristics that defined his post-war life back in Saskatchewan, where he raised a family and remained actively involved in his community.
The Journey Home
Upon discovering the service tag, Rigby embarked on an internet search for Frank Chad, a quest that led him to Chad’s obituary and subsequently to his family. Frank Chad passed away in 2007 at the age of 86, but his legacy continues through his 13 children.
Frank’s son, Joe Chad, expressed surprise and gratitude upon receiving a call from the funeral home about Rigby’s discovery. “Dad, along with most veterans, didn’t really talk about their time in the service. So we didn’t learn a whole pile growing up,” Joe recounted to CBC News.
In a heartfelt gesture, Rigby mailed the service tag to the Chad family this fall, a move that humbly downplayed his role in preserving history. “It makes me feel like I’ve done something really special, which I haven’t. It’s not like I’ve saved someone’s life. I’ve just sent them a piece of something that belonged to them,” Rigby stated.
A Family’s Discovery
The return of the service tag has inspired Joe Chad to delve deeper into his father’s wartime experiences. He shared a poignant note written by his father upon returning from the war, a testament to Frank Chad’s gratitude and commitment to life.
Legacy and Remembrance
This extraordinary discovery and the ensuing return of the service tag not only reconnect a family with a tangible piece of their history but also serve as a reminder of the countless stories of bravery and sacrifice from the Second World War. Frank Chad’s story, brought back to light by Rigby’s discovery and generosity, continues to resonate with his family and the broader community, underscoring the lasting impact of those who served.
According to CBC News, the Chad family is now more motivated than ever to uncover and cherish the untold stories of their father and other veterans, a journey of remembrance and discovery sparked by a simple metal detector and a man’s willingness to connect the past with the present.