METAL detecting enthusiasts have found a wartime identification plate on a north Devon beach and believe it belonged to the father of a Stourport woman.

In February, Paul Fordham and his six-year-old daughter Maya were scanning a beach near their home in Barnstaple.

It was an area used during the Second World War for D-Day preparation, testing of weapons and training by UK and US troops.

One of the items found and collected by the pair was a metal plate, which they initially thought nothing of and stored in a scrap metal box.

Several months after the find, Mr Fordham and his daughter cleaned the plate and discovered the words “S.B.Whitten S.LT. R.N.V.R.”

engraved on it. It is thought the identification plate had fallen off a locker or trunk and been on the beach since the training during the 1940s.

After doing some research, Mr Fordham believes the initials stand for Sidney Bartholomew Whitten, sub-lieutenant, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.

Mr Whitten was born in Hackney in 1916 and married in 1939. He had a daughter in 1942 and was in service by 1943 but it is not known if he survived the war..

His daughter, Brenda J Whitten, got married in 1964 to a man called Gordon A Lovett and so became Brenda J Lovett. Through an online search, Mr Fordham managed to find a Brenda and Gordon Lovett living at the same residence in Stourport.

He said: “I am, however, unable to get their full details to contact them. I think it would be lovely to return this item to them – it is not worth anything to us – as it may be appreciated by the family as a keepsake or a memory.

“I realise Brenda will be 70 but also may have children.”

Mr Fordham can be contacted by emailing surfpipe dream@yahoo. Alternatively, any family members can contact The Shuttle newsdesk.