Metal Detectorist finds nameplate of Capt J. R. Macardle in Bicester

Jock Macardle Nameplate

An astounding piece of the Macardles Legacy has come to light in Jan 2022 when we were contacted by UK metal detectorist Phil Brandon. A name plate for “Capt J.R Macardle” aka Jock was found by Phil while metal detecting in Bicester in the U.K. recently. Having no knowledge of its providence he then researched online only to find that Jock Macardle did indeed visit Bicester for a horse event in 1956 and wrote all about it to his stable hand “Mallon” in a letter that was sent from the Stanhope Court Hotel back in 2nd Nov 1956. The letter which is preserved as part of the Macardles Historical Society was posted online by Jason McGee to the website and thus found by Phil to make the connection to his find.

“I consider it a privilege to have found this gallant hero’s saddle badge and return it to its historical roots with his family’s brewery.” said Phil “I am sending it over to the Macardles Historical Society so it can be preserved along with other artefacts”.


Phil Brandom – More Info

I am  family man in my mid 50’s work for NatWest Bank and have recently taken up metal detecting as a hobby.  This was probably my 5th or 6th metal detecting hunt!  I found this artefact in a dig organised by a local Group called the Metal Detectorists in Buckinghamshire.  The dig was on Sunday 23rd Jan 2022 at a farm between Marsh Gibbon and Bicester in Bucks.UK

I found this piece as soon as I started about 3″ down in a large unploughed field near the road and at first I thought it was a manufacturers plate from a farm machine.  When I took it home and cleaned it I uncovered the name ‘Capt JR Macardle, Bicester’ and was immediately intrigued as to who this JR Macardle was as it was such a distinctive name that I figured there was a chance of finding a family who might appreciate being reunited with this little piece of history.

I started researching on the web and asked my online Metal Detecting Forum (MDF) colleagues for support.  They immediately started researching along with me and identified this as likely an army saddle badge.

We looked through many military records and came across Captain JR Macardle from Ireland, at that point I found the brewery history website and stumbled across Jock Macardle’s letter stating he was coming to Bicester for a horse event … this was the link we had been looking for: JR Macardle, in Bicester, with his horse.  At that point I contacted the Macardle historic curators and told them the story.

The final confirmation came from one of the MDF Forum members who sent me a set of clippings from the various  publications outlining all of the mentions of Capt. JR Macardle, it was here that I was able to confirm that John Ross Macardle was also known as ‘Jock’ Macardle (confirming him as the author of your letter). He ‘attained his captaincy at the age of 24. This is something of a record.. and was…exceedingly fit.’ (Dundalk Democrat, 20 January 1917).

It also made mention of his award of the Military Cross: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. His battery came under heavy fire, and the camouflage at one of the gun pits was set on fire. He at once ran in and extinguished it, and thus prevented the fire from spreading to the ammunition It was largely due to his gallant act that the battery was able to keep all its guns in action.’ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 22 March 1918)