Man’s emotional appeal after family heirloom from war hero grandad goes missing

A man from Chorlton has issued an emotional plea for information about a family heirloom which has gone missing.

Luke Benfield, 50, was out in the Northern Quarter on Friday April 1 when he lost one of his prized possessions; his late grandad’s vintage watch from him. It is believed to be lost somewhere in the Northern Quarter.

The watch is a first edition Tudor watch, which is best known for being the sibling company of Rolex. The founder of Rolex created Tudor watches as a more affordable alternative to the luxury watches.

READ MORE: Manchester’s Northern Quarter in the 80s and 90s captured in rare images

Luke said he lost the watch towards the area of ​​Tib Street and Oldham Street, where he had gone for a job interview. When he was wearing it, Luke’s watch had a gold effect strap.

It is an oyster watch, meaning its second hand moves fluidly without ticking. It does not have any engravings on it.

The vintage Tudor watch that went missing in the Northern Quarter on Friday 1st April. When it was lost, the watch had a gold effect strap, rather than this leather strap

Luke, who works in social housing, told the MEN: “I can’t tell you how gutted I am about this. Iwear the watch on really special occasions.

“It’s my lucky talisman. I had a job interview in town and I thought I’d wear it for good luck.

“I was checking it every two minutes. I saw that I had half an hour, so I went to visit a friend in his shop and then saw the watch had come off my wrist somehow.

It’s definitely somewhere in theNorthern Quarter. It’s not a great place to lose something.”

Photo of Luke Benfield
Luke Benfield said the watch has a lot of sentimental value for his family

After losing the watch, Luke went round to all the local businesses, cash generators and goldsmiths in the Northern Quarter, leaving his contact details in case anyone found it. He also spoke to the police, who asked him to sign up to an online database so that police stations can contact him if they find the watch.

The watch has a great deal of sentimental value to Luke, as it belonged to his late grandad, George Edward Benfield. Having grown up in Toxteth, Liverpool, George had an illustrious military career.

A photo of Luke Benfield's late grandad, in his younger days
Luke Benfield’s late grandad, George, in his younger days

George was a naval officer who served in the submarines in World War Two. He was once stuck in the water with Lord Mountbatten for 12 hours, waiting for help.

A high-ranking Royal Navy leader and the uncle of Prince Philip, Lord Louis Mountbatten was assassinated by Provisional Irish Republican Army terrorists in an explosion on his boat in 1979.

Luke continued: “My granddad was a really impressive character. I t was almost intimidating to live in his shadow.

“He was a real war hero and saw a lot of action. He was in the water five or six times, basically hanging onto a bit of wood, waiting to be rescued.

Photo of a submarine that Luke's late grandad, George Benfield served on
A submarine that Luke’s late grandad, George Benfield served on

“He was presented with what my dad always called ‘the poor man’s Rolex.’

“When you get to my age, you don’t really have grandparents and the watch is a big connection to my past. I remember it as a child because my dad was given it when I was young.

“I t was a real big deal when it was passed on to me, as the oldest descendant of my granddad. I know it’s only an object and I’m not sure what it’s worth, but I never would have sold the watch.”

A photo of Luke Benfield's war hero grandad, Geroge
Luke Benfield is hoping to find his missing watch, which belonged to his war hero grandad (pictured)

Additionally, Luke said that the watch is not only historically important to his family, but also to Rolex themselves.

He added: “Funnily enough, the watch stopped working once, so we felt it into Rolex, who repaired it. They said they were delighted that this watch is still in circulation.

“I think they also said that if there’s ever a problem with the watch, we could send it back and they won’t charge any money for overhauling it because of the history.

“It’s a very old vintage watch. I get a bit choked up thinking about it.

“If anyone does find the watch, they can contact me via email.”

If you locate the watch or have any information about it, contact Luke Benfield at [email protected]

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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