Kingston hobbyist locates invaluable treasure of Silver Cross widow

Finding lost things is a hobby for Kingston metal detectorist Paul Scott, but he could never have imagined the value of the little pin that he found five years ago, and which belonged to a Silver Cross widow, Cynthia Wadsworth.

“Man, do I love this hobby!” wrote Scott on a Facebook post about finding the pin’s owner. Screen captured image via Facebook.

While indulging in his detecting hobby in late August 2022, Scott was approached by Wadsworth, who asked if he had ever found a silver pin with the logo of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). She had lost such a pin while attending a cenotaph ceremony in MacDonald Park almost a decade ago.

Scott was unfamiliar with the regimental logo, but he took Wadsworth’s contact information because her story tweaked a memory. He said that five years earlier, about 20 feet away in the same park, “I found this pin and I didn’t know anything about it.” There were no words on the silver pin and no date to Google, so he added it to his collection of interesting finds and more or less forgot about it.

Scott said that, after talking to Wadsworth, “I went home and I got the pin out, and I knew it was a special pin because it had two crowns in it. So, I called her right away.” Between them, the two confirmed that the pin Scott had found and the pin Wadsworth had lost were, indeed, one and the same. Scott happily returned the pin to Wadsworth on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022. 

Wadsworth, for her part, said that she just had an intuition that she should approach Scott when she and her son saw him in the park that day. “I looked over to my left and I could see this guy with a metal detector. And I thought… I should go over and talk to him.” She followed her instinct and introduced herself to Scott.

“It’s interesting,” Wadsworth said, “because I think a lot of us do not follow our intuition. I have found that that’s a big deal.” For example, she recalled that, once, on the anniversary of her husband’s death, she looked for her engagement ring in its regular spot, but it was missing. Then a week later, she thought it was lost for good, but had the urge to look again: it had reappeared just where it ought to have been.

Wadsworth had lost the silver pin, which she wore along with her Silver Cross, several years ago while she attended Remembrance Day services at the park.  

Scott shows off “just a fraction” of his collection of objects he has found over the last 15 years. Submitted photo.

The PPCLI pin was given to her when her husband transferred out of Canadian Forces Base Edmonton to Kingston, a traditional gift to spouses being transferred, symbolizing their dedication and sacrifice as military family members. 

Not only has the recovery of the pin reunited her with a lost treasure, it has also given Wadsworth a fresh opportunity to share her husband’s story with the public more than 15 years after his death, she expressed.

Canadian Army Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener. Photo courtesy of Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Wadsworth’s husband was Canadian Army Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener, who was killed with three others on July 25, 2006, while serving as a United Nations (UN) military observer in Lebanon.

 “It’s unresolved as to what happened to him,” Wadsworth said. Hess-von Kruedener and his three UN comrades were inside their bunker-like base in Khiam, Southern Lebanon, when they were killed.  

Hess von-Kruedener’s mission was to report on the hostilities in the area, and shortly before his death, he sent e-mails home to Canada reporting war crimes: Israel was bombing schools and waging “a campaign of terror against the Lebanese people.”

Wadsworth and many others believe that, despite Israel’s claims that the bombing was accidental, Israeli forces attacked the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) post because the Israelis were tired of having their violations noted by the peacekeepers and simply removed the obstacle.

According to a Canadian Board of Inquiry (CBI), there is no debate that, despite multiple calls made to various levels of Israel’s politicians and military by political and military levels of the UN and peacekeepers themselves, Israeli jets took several concerted runs at destroying the UN’s position that day. The attacks on the base lasted seven hours before an Israeli jet dropped its 500 kg GPS-guided bomb right through the doorway of the underground bunker, killing everyone inside.

“It’s really hard when someone is killed in the military in these circumstances, and then, naturally, life goes on,” Wadsworth said, noting that stories fall out of the public sphere over time, “but I’m happy to always bring up his story… It is unresolved and we need a better world. We just can’t seem to resolve anything without going in and killing people, it seems… I think there has to be accountability and awareness.”

Cynthia Wadsworth holds up her silver Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) pin while wearing her Silver Cross (Memorial Cross) in honour of her late husband, Major “Wolf” Paeta Hess-von Kruedener. Submitted photo.

Having followed her intuition to ask a perfect stranger if he could help her, and with Paul Scott actually having her pin in his possession and returning it to her, Wadsworth concluded, “It’s hard to put into words… I’ve been through a lot, and it just meant so much for me to get that pin back.”

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