Can you solve the mystery of the lady in the locket?

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Oban Times readers are being called on to help solve the mystery identity of a lady in a locket – dating back to the First World War.

When Newfoundland historian and genealogist Ed Barbour first discovered the tale that involves a locket made of rose gold belonging to a Canadian soldier and coming from J McGilvray & Son jewellers of Oban, he contacted The Oban Times for help.

The locket was kept in a box from J MacGilvray & Son, Oban

Inside the locket was a photograph of Sergeant Charlie Reid of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, on the other side was a beautiful young lady whose identity is unknown.

At that time, the regiment was part of the British Army as Newfoundland was not then part of Canada.

‘No one on this side of the ocean knew who this woman was,’ according to Ed, who said Reid’s family presumed she was Charlie’s sweetheart.

The story surfaced when Charlie’s great-great nephew Ralph Reid took the locket in to Diamond Design jewellers in Newfoundland’s capital St John’s.

The family has no other record of who the woman in the locket ever was – no letters, nothing explaining how they knew each other. They have been trying to solve the mystery of the lady in the locket for years now but with no luck.

Charlie was wearing the locket on him when he died at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916 aged just 30. It was sent home with his other personal effects to his family.

‘One can’t help but wonder whether this mystery woman waited for her lost soldier,’ said Ed, who is researching the story behind the locket for the family and is hoping someone in Oban will be finally be able to solve the mystery for them.

McGilvray’s is no longer in Oban’s George Street but in its heyday it had a fine reputation as a quality jeweller, eventually taken over by Martin’s Jewellers before the building was eventually bought by a property developer for other use.

Anyone with information on the lady in the locket can email Ed at


Caption: Sergeant Charlie Reid and the mystery woman in the locket