Category Archives: Military

Meet The Former Squaddie Who Now Runs A Coffee Company

Darren, the owner and founder of hugely popular Tactical Coffee joined the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1989 and after his basic training in Woolwich was posted to 17 Corunna Battery 26 Regiment RA in Gutersloh, Germany.

Darren served as part of a Tactical Observation Team that directed artillery fire. He also served as a Ferret driver, 432 driver, Warrior driver, Signaller and as the assistant to the Forward Observation Officer. 

During his time with 26 Regiment, he deployed on three tours of Northern Ireland, two tours of Bosnia and a tour of Kosovo as well as countless exercises in BATUS, Poland, Germany and the UK.

It was on his tour of Kosovo in 1999/2000 that Darren had his first introduction to real coffee, while on duty in the Multi-National Division Headquarters (on Millennium Eve).

Darren was offered a cup of coffee from a cafetière and, like many of us have, he developed a love for real coffee.

In 2001 Darren was selected to be the Photographer for the Royal Artillery and the Gunner Magazine.

Photography was a hobby since school. Darren returned to Woolwich as part of Headquarters Royal Artillery and travelled to the Falklands, Brunei, Dubai, Gibraltar, Norway.

In 2007 Darren was posted to the Royal School of Artillery in Larkhill to work as part of Media Services Team, the civilian lead team of photographers, Videographers and Graphic Designers. 

As the only military employed member of the team, by his own admission, Darren didn’t fit in well.

On deployment to Larkhill Darren soon spotted a gap in the Military Clothing and Accessories market. 

There were no shops in the area that supplied equipment to troops on exercise on Salisbury Plain, Phase Two Recruits based at the Royal School of Artillery and stationed troops within the Larkhill, Bulford and Tidworth Garrison.

Darren and his wife Joanne soon opened a succession of shops in Larkhill, Bulford and Westdown Camp. It was during this time that Darren also established BombG T-Shirts, printing his own military humoured t-shirts and hoodies.

BombG T-Shirts was very successful but caused a lot of controversy with some of the designs being banned from sale within the shops that were located on military-owned property and even they got Darren and his family a few death threats.

The success of the shops and the online T-Shirt business soon meant that Darren could leave the Army after 19 years service.

In 2008 Darren sold his three shops and online business, and with the proceeds of the sale, Darren and Joanne signed a tenancy agreement on a pub in Upavon, Wiltshire. 

But after just over a year the business venture failed, mostly due to the lack of support from the brewery with who they took on the tenancy and the fact that in Darren’s opinion he was on the wrong side of the bar.

In 2010 Darren joined the Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS) part of the Adjutant Generals Corps (AGC). 

After leaving the Army for the second time in his life, he started a career in the Private Security Industry. He had several jobs including, Security Escort, Door Supervisor, Operations Manager, Instructor, Penetration Tester and even the dizzy heights of Close Protection. 

In 2015 Darren and his family moved away from Wiltshire back to the West Midlands where Darren had joined the Army 26 years earlier. 

Not happy with the average pace of life, he wanted to start another business and try to make it as successful as his chain of shops and online T-Shirt sales.

Darren took his love of coffee and tried to encompass this into a business and began to learn all he could by reading and watching videos. 

In late 2015 Darren took a course with the Winchester Coffee School and learnt the basics of making the perfect cup of coffee with the insight to opening a coffee shop, this idea soon turned into a mobile coffee van. 

It didn’t take long before he realised that both options were out of his financial reach, so he began to think of other ideas for a business that could incorporate his love of coffee and entrepreneurialism.

In 2017 Darren stumbled upon an online business selling bags of coffee to the military community in America (Black Rifle Coffee) and began to do his own research into the possibility of starting a UK version but found that he had been beaten to the post by a Company formed by a couple of serving Royal Marines.

Not letting this deter him, he carried on with his research and found that every time he looked another UK online coffee company would pop up.

Darren said:

“We spoke with several coffee roasters and attended a few Coffee Expos and conventions across the UK before we found the perfect roasting partner. 

“The company we founded is also run by a veteran who employs veterans which matches our company eth; we didn’t want to white label their own coffee and pass it off as our own, we wanted coffee blends that were unique to us. 

“We took our first three ideas for our blends (Alpha, Bravo and Charlie) and the roasters agreed to do them exclusively for us”.

In January 2018 Darren decided it was time to jump on the bandwagon and launched Tactical Coffee. 

Since its first sale in January 2018, several other coffee companies have emerged and disappeared, but Tactical Coffee has gone from strength to strength. 

Darren puts this down to his genuine passion for great coffee.

Darren and his oppos

Since Tactical coffee began, they have taken on three members of part-time staff:

Steve; a former Combat Medic and now an instructor for the HART teams across the UK and Make Ready Assistant Manager for the NHS and also the owner of SimFX Casualty Simulation can be found working alongside Darren at events (Steve is usually the one with a beer in his hand).

Paul, also a former Gunner and self-confessed caffeine addict can be found making Fresh Hand Brewed Coffee at events and Veterans Breakfast Club.

Joanne, long-suffering wife, the ‘long-haired General’, Chief of Domestic Staff and Darren’s rock. She also provides an ear for Darren’s rants, raves and stupid ideas.

See tacticalcoffee.co.uk for more information.

If you have a business that you would like us to promote to our 900k combined followers and group members, then email our team at hello@dailydits.com

Civilian Gets ‘Airborne’ Tattoo, And His Wife Now Reckons He’s ‘Basically Airborne’ And That She Is A ‘Military Wife’

There are a few qualities which you need before you embark upon a career in the military. It would help if you were brave as well as be willing to work as part of a team. You also need to be fit and be willing to take commands from your superiors. 

I talk from experience as I had the privilege and honour of serving in the military from the tender age of 16 to 21. I enjoyed my time spent in the armed forces and would highly recommend a career in the military to anyone who is thinking of joining up. 

But, of course, there are the individuals out there who like the idea of serving in the armed forces but, for whatever reason, decide not to take the leap of faith by signing on the dotted line. 

But one guy who loved the idea of joining the forces, but never actually did, decided to get an ‘airborne’ tattoo on his neck. It is weird when a civilian gets a regimental tattoo despite having never served. Some people in the veteran community call it ‘stolen valour’. 

It is usual for civilians to grab some military memorabilia to show their support for and of the armed forces, but getting a regimental tattoo – despite having never served – is just odd. 

And it is even weirder when your wife tells you to get the tattoo and then creates a post on social media telling the world that, just because you have the tattoo and you like the idea of serving, then you are just as good as someone who serves and that she is now a ‘military wife’.

In the post, the confused spouse said:

‘Well, my hubby and I are engaged but not married, but basically, I am an army wife. He hasn’t enlisted but has been thinking about joining the military. 

‘He loves airborne, so I suggested that he get a tattoo of it on his neck. I know he never went to the school, but he’s basically airborne in his heart. 

‘So proud of my hubby for getting an airborne tattoo based off my suggestion! He Doesn’t need to enlist! It’s how he feels’. 

The bit that gets me is the: ‘he doesn’t need to enlist! It’s how he feels!’. 

No! It isn’t! If he wants to get the airborne tattoo and thus give everyone the impression that he has served, then he needs to get off his arse and sign up! 

You can’t just get a tattoo of a regimental badge and then claim that, just because you like the idea of serving and just because you have now got the tattoo, then you are as good as anyone who has gone through the process! 

What is the world coming to!? Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

‘Dozens’ More Afghan Interpreters Who Risked Their Lives Supporting British Troops Begin New Lives In The UK

Dozens more Afghan interpreters who risked theirs and their families lives as they supported British Armed Forces on the frontline in Helmand Province will be able to move to the UK as part of an expanded relocation scheme announced by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Afghan civilians did a vital job as interpreters for British forces on the frontline in Helmand from May 2006 – December 2014, often serving alongside soldiers in perilous situations.

They were often the ‘eyes and ears’ of British forces, and their linguistic and cultural expertise enabled the UK to work hand-in-hand with its Afghan partners and local communities while protecting British troops.

The Ex-Gratia Scheme was initially set up in June 2013 to recognise the Government’s ‘huge debt of gratitude’ for their service. 

Under the scheme, interpreters could choose to either relocate to the UK, receive five years of training and a monthly stipend or receive the equivalent of 18 months’ salary.

Through the scheme, 445 former staff and their families have chosen to relocate to the UK, meaning a total of 1,319 Afghan interpreters and their families have already been supported as they create new lives in the UK.

The new changes will significantly expand the eligibility criteria for former interpreters to apply for the relocation offer. 

Until now, former employees must have been made redundant on or after 01 May 2006 with 12 months or more service ‘outside the wire’ on the frontline.

The announcement made earlier this week will allow an additional cohort of interpreters – those who resigned on or after 01 May 2006 after serving a minimum of 18 months on the frontline – to apply for relocation.

Their spouses and children will also benefit from the expanded scheme.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

‘Courageous Afghans worked side by side with our Armed Forces to defeat terrorism, risking their own lives in the pursuit of peace.

‘In recognition of their dedication, today, we are fulfilling our promise and have expanded the relocation scheme so that more brave Afghans and their families can come and build a new life in the UK.”

The Defence Secretary and Home Secretary visited Stanford Training Area in Norfolk this week to observe Afghan nationals training British troops before their Op TORAL deployment, which sees British troops train and mentor Afghan forces and provide force protection for NATO advisors with the Kabul Security Force.

Afghan nationals routinely support the training that troops undertake to provide an element of realism – performing the roles of interpreters, leading politicians and members of the public.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“Our efforts in Afghanistan simply could not have been possible without the help of brave interpreters who risked their lives to work alongside our personnel throughout the conflict.

“They did not leave us behind then, and we will not leave them behind now. It is crucial there is a fair system in place to support those who want to relocate to the UK, and that is why we are going even further to make sure more individuals have the opportunity to apply for relocation.

“The Home Office and Defence will always work together to address policy issues and promote British values”.

The changes to the scheme will be made through secondary legislation in October and be implemented shortly afterwards.

The Robot ‘Dogs’ Are Coming – USAF Deploys Its First Robot Dogs!

Who remembers watching the first Terminator film and thinking ‘thank **** these robot things are not actually a thing’. I am sure many people who have experienced the visual delight of the film knew deep down that, one day, the robots would arrive.

And now it seems like that day has finally come after the United States Air Force (USAF) announced that they have just deployed their first ‘robot dogs’. The dogs will be used to patrol air bases around the country.

Of course, this is not the first time we have seen robot dogs. But this is the first time (publically at least) that a military organisation has announced that they will be deploying robots in a roll that would ordinarily be undertaken by their animal (or human) counterparts.


Advertisement

Don’t have the time to read conventional books? Try out the world’s largest collection of audio books, for FREE!
>>>START TRIAL<<<

The Drive recently reported that these fascinating pieces of machinery had been deployed to ‘defend the perimeters’ of an airbase; Nellis Air Force Base, to be precise. 

The thought of these robots patrolling an airbase would probably be enough to deter anyone with any evil intent from trying to penetrate the outer perimeter of an airbase. 

After all, we have all seen the films where robots have no hesitation in unleashing their incredible power on humans. It is almost as if science fiction writers actually know what the future holds when they write the scripts for the films which we have all come to know and love.

These robot dogs are intended for surveillance purposes rather than for ‘seek and destroy’ objectives. They are controlled by humans and can patrol the same bit of land until their batteries run out. 

Obviously, they don’t need feeding (apart from electricity), so they can pretty much stay on station until their batteries run out. Their deployment means that their human counterparts can remain close to the aircraft they are protecting whilst the robot dogs wander off into the distance, looking for signs of life. 

The ‘dogs’ are made by a company called Ghost Robotics. Talking about their creation, a spokesperson for the company said:

‘Beyond all-terrain stability and operation in virtually any environment, a core design principle for our legged robots is reduced mechanical complexity when compared to any other legged robots, and even traditional wheeled-tracked UGVs.

‘By reducing complexity, we inherently increase durability, agility and endurance, and reduce the cost to deploy and maintain ground robots. 

‘Our modular design even supports field swapping any sub-assembly within minutes’.

Give it another few years, and robots will almost certainly be more commonplace on the battlefield in more ‘offensive’ rather than defensive roles.

Has anyone registered the domain name for SkyNet yet…? 

Image credit: USAF

Fawn Spotted Curled Up Next To Headstone Of Unknown Soldier

A heartwarming image has been shared on social media of a baby deer curled up next to the headstone of an unknown U.S. soldier in Georgia’s Andersonville National Cemetary.

In the picture, the fawn can be seen resting in front of a headstone that reads: ‘Unknown U.S. Soldier’ with the American flag next to it. 

The image was shared on the Andersonville National Historic Site with a caption that read:

“Park Maintenance Supervisor James Taylor spotted this young guest cosying up and giving special honour to an unknown soldier resting in Andersonville National Cemetery.

“Later in the day, several staff saw the doe come back for her young”.

One user commented that a fawn’s mother will leave their offspring in a safe place while they are feeding and will return once they have finished eating. 

Another commented:

“unknown except to God. And God sent a little angel to show his love for our fallen soldier”. 

With it being 2020, uplifting images and stories can be hard to find, so that is why we thought that this image and story was worthy of a share! 

While you are here…

Don’t forget to join our online community ‘Interesting Stuff Spotted Online’ where our followers can share ‘stuff’ (such as videos and pictures) they think our writers might be interested in covering – CLICK HERE to join the group.

You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram! Just search for ‘Daily Dits.’

If you have any stories which you want to let our writers know about, or if you have any videos which you have recorded and which you would like us to share, then email our team: hello@dailydits.com

Service Dog Receives Coveted Military Award After Saving Numerous Lives During Firefight Despite Being Shot

During a dangerous operation in 2019, three-year-old Belgian Shepherd Malinois’ Kuno’ and his handler were deployed in support of specialist UK and host nation forces on a compound raid against a well-armed and aggressive enemy when they came under attack.

Pinned down by grenade and machine-gun fire from an insurgent, the assault force was unable to move without taking heavy casualties.

Without any hesitation, ‘Kuno’ charged through a hail of gunfire to tackle the gunman, breaking the deadlock and changing the course of the attack, 

‘Kuno’s’ bold actions allowed the mission to be completed successfully.

During the assault, ‘Kuno’ was wounded by bullets after being struck in both of his back legs. 

He was given life-saving treatment by his handler and by medics in the back of a helicopter.

His injuries were so severe he required several operations before he was stable enough to fly back to the UK. 

Sadly, part of one of Kuno’s rear paws had to be amputated to prevent life-threatening infection.

But now Kuno is thriving after becoming the first UK military working dog to be fitted with custom made prosthetic limbs.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“Without Kuno, the course of this operation could have been very different, and it’s clear he saved the lives of British personnel that day. 

“This particular raid was one of the most significant achievements against Al Qaeda in several years.

“Kuno’s story reminds us not only of the dedicated service of our soldiers and military dogs but also the great care that the UK Armed Forces provide to the animals that serve alongside them.

Kuno underwent extensive rehabilitation under the watchful eye of British Army vets and is fitted with prosthetics that allow him to run and play.

Kuno returned home aboard an RAF plane, receiving in-flight care from a Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) team. 

Back in the UK, he was transferred to the Defence Animal Training Regiment in Melton Mowbray where he underwent extensive reconstructive surgery, overseen by Professor Dick White, one of the world’s leading specialists in canine surgery.

Under the meticulous care of Army vets, veterinary nurses and canine physiotherapists, assisted by staff from the University of Nottingham, Kuno then embarked upon an innovative and lengthy programme of rehabilitation to restore function to his nerves and muscles, just like injured service personnel.

Kuno was a friendly and enthusiastic patient throughout; he loves human interaction and especially enjoyed his sessions on the hydrotherapy treadmill.

Within months, he was strong enough to be fitted with a pioneering custom-made prosthesis to replace his missing paw, alongside an orthotic brace to support his injured limb.

Kuno, who was on his second deployment when he was injured, is the first UK military dog to be fitted with such devices. 

Lightweight and fully bespoke, they enable him to run and jump as he wishes, securing an excellent quality of life for many years to come.

Colonel Neil Smith QHVS, the Chief Veterinary and Remount Officer said

“It is important that Military Working Dogs receive a high level of care if they are unfortunately injured, and Defence has military vets and vet nurses to ensure animals receive the care and rehabilitation they deserve. 

“Kuno is an amazing dog in many ways, and we are delighted that the PDSA have decided to award him their Dickin Medal”.

Now retired and rehomed, Kuno will receive the PDSA Dickin Medal, the highest animal honour in existence for military animal valour, which will be formally presented by PDSA, the UK’s leading veterinary charity who run the world’s most prestigious animal awards programme, in a virtual ceremony in November.

PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, said:

“Kuno’s heroic actions undoubtedly changed the course of the mission and saved lives. 

“He took on the enemy without fear or hesitation, never faltering from his duty despite being seriously injured.

“For his bravery and devotion to duty, he is a thoroughly deserving recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal and we look forward to formally presenting his award later this year”.

The world-renowned PDSA Dickin Medal was introduced by PDSA’s founder, Maria Dickin CBE, in 1943. 

It is the highest award any animal can achieve while serving in military conflict. 

Kuno will become the 72nd recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal; previous recipients include 34 dogs, 32 World War II messenger pigeons, four horses and one cat.

While you are here…

Don’t forget to become a ‘Daily Ditter’ by becoming a Supporter of our page! 

As well as getting access to exclusive content and behind the scenes’ stuff’, you will also be able to join our ‘Daily Ditters’ supporter-only group! CLICK HERE for more information! 

AND don’t forget to join our online community ‘Interesting Stuff Spotted Online’ where our followers can share ‘stuff’ (such as videos and pictures) they think our writers might be interested in covering – CLICK HERE to join the group.

You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram! Just search for ‘Daily Dits.’

If you have any stories which you want to let our writers know about, or if you have any videos which you have recorded and which you would like us to share, then email our team: hello@dailydits.com

Imagine Joining The US Navy And Then Being Drafted To This Thing!

When you join the navy, then you probably have expectations of one day serving on an aircraft carrier, a destroyer, a frigate or maybe even a submarine. 

But imagine going through all of your basic training and then getting your drafting order only to find that you have been posted to a boat that is small enough to fit into your bathtub!? 

At 19ft long, this tiny tugboat is understood to be the smallest vessel in one of the world’s largest, if not the largest, navy – the US Navy

It can currently be found bobbing around on tiny swells at the USS Constitution Museum in Boston Harbour. So, granted, it isn’t the sort of vessel that you would be expected to fight a war on, but it still has ‘US NAVY’ on it! 

The tiny incy-wincy boat was initially built to herd logs in waterways and is now an all-purpose vessel that can tow small ships and deploy floating security fences. 

It wards off unwanted visitors from larger vessels although, with no deck guns, then I am not quite sure how it would stop a boat full of sailing-loving fans who want to hug a matelot? 

I am guessing that it probably also not able to go to sea where the sea state is anything other than ‘mill pond’ status…

While you are here…

Don’t forget to become a ‘Daily Ditter’ by becoming a Supporter of our page! 

As well as getting access to exclusive content and behind the scenes’ stuff’, you will also be able to join our ‘Daily Ditters’ supporter-only group! CLICK HERE for more information! 

AND don’t forget to join our online community ‘Interesting Stuff Spotted Online’ where our followers can share ‘stuff’ (such as videos and pictures) they think our writers might be interested in covering – CLICK HERE to join the group.

You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram! Just search for ‘Daily Dits.’

If you have any stories which you want to let our writers know about, or if you have any videos which you have recorded and which you would like us to share, then email our team: hello@dailydits.com

Farmer Makes Epic ‘Thanks To Those Who Serve’ Mural In Field

99.9% of us are thankful to the men and women who serve in the military. Let’s face it; they are willing to lay down their own lives to protect our country. 

Let’s leave out the politicians who send them to political wars. We all know that most politicians would not have the guts to fight in the conflicts which they initiate. 

Instead, let’s talk about the men and women who, rather than sitting at home and playing video games all day, actually want to better themselves by joining a band of brothers and sisters who will always have you back. 

For many of us, we show our appreciation for our military in subtle ways. 

But for one farmer, he wanted to make it clear to everyone (who can see his field) that he is hugely grateful for the sacrifices which have been made by our military.

The incredibly detailed mural has the words: ‘thanks to those who serve’ amongst detailed ‘drawings’ of a fighter jet, a tank and some soldiers. 

The field is located in Dundee, Michigan and took the farmer days to complete. 

Over the years, we have seen similar artwork being made in fields, but the detail of this particular piece is incredible.

While you are here…

Don’t forget to become a ‘Daily Ditter’ by becoming a Supporter of our page! 

As well as getting access to exclusive content and behind the scenes’ stuff’, you will also be able to join our ‘Daily Ditters’ supporter-only group! CLICK HERE for more information! 

AND don’t forget to join our online community ‘Interesting Stuff Spotted Online’ where our followers can share ‘stuff’ (such as videos and pictures) they think our writers might be interested in covering – CLICK HERE to join the group.

You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram! Just search for ‘Daily Dits.’

If you have any stories which you want to let our writers know about, or if you have any videos which you have recorded and which you would like us to share, then email our team: hello@dailydits.com

No Jail Time For The Men Behind The ‘Save Our Soldiers’ Charity Con

A gang of morally corrupt fake charity ‘bosses’ have walked free from court after hoodwinking members of the public to hand over more than £500,000 in donations. 

The fraudsters employed an army of fake veterans to try and convince generous members of the public to hand over money. 

Often, the ‘walts’ would wear berets and other items of military clothing to make the public think that there were handing over money to a real veterans charity. 

Donors were told that their cash contributions would be used to help disabled soldiers when, in reality, the money was being used to fund the lavish lifestyle of the morally corrupt people behind the scam. 

The fake veterans would wear ‘save our soldiers’ tops with cammo trousers, and they were placed at various railway stations around the country. 

The scam lasted for two years and was the front of a complicated network that involved several organisations. 

David Papagavriel, 57, Terence Kelly, 73, Ian Ellis, 59 and Peter Ellis, 31, were given suspended sentences and ordered to perform unpaid work.

During the case, which was heard at Wood Green Crown Court, Judge Kalyani Kaul QC said: 

‘No one here needs a lecture on the crisis that this country faces and the importance that charities play in our communities.

‘We need to give money to them to help those who have suffered whether physically or mentally from their work, to have as good a life as we can.

‘What you did was take public money given in to help those they perceived to be soldiers who fought for their country and needed our help.

‘People gave, large amounts were given, none of use will know how much that was, we only have what we have.’

Papagavriel, of Picasso Way, Shoeburyness, Southend-on-Sea admitted fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment suspended for two years with 250 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay back £31,606.50 within three months or serve six months in jail.

Kelly, of Howard Place, Canvey Island, Essex admitted two counts of supplying the charity commission with false or misleading information and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years with a five-month curfew from 9 pm to 7 am.

Peter Ellis and Ian Ellis, both of Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire, admitted one count of theft each.

Ian Ellis was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years, with five months curfew from 9 pm to 7 am.

A confiscation order with the nominal value of £1 was made against the Peter and Ian Ellis with the understanding that they must pay £57,000 if they are able to in the future.

Peter Ellis was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work.

While you are here…

Don’t forget to become a ‘Daily Ditter’ by becoming a Supporter of our page! 

As well as getting access to exclusive content and behind the scenes’ stuff’, you will also be able to join our ‘Daily Ditters’ supporter-only group! CLICK HERE for more information! 

AND don’t forget to join our online community ‘Interesting Stuff Spotted Online’ where our followers can share ‘stuff’ (such as videos and pictures) they think our writers might be interested in covering – CLICK HERE to join the group.

You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram! Just search for ‘Daily Dits.’

Falklands War Veteran Reunited With His Medals Which Were Stolen 15 Years Ago

A Falklands War veteran who had his treasured medals stolen 15 years ago received the perfect birthday gift – after police were able to deliver them back home.

Anthony Paterson, whose distinguished career saw him serve in the Royal Navy for 24 years, was left devastated back in July 2005 after war medals were stolen from a house on Mowbray Road in South Shields.

Anthony – who was on holiday at the time – had to endure a painful flight home after learning that his South Atlantic Medal, awarded to servicemen and women who served during the Falklands War, and his 2002 Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal had both been stolen.

As the years passed, Anthony reluctantly accepted he would never get the sentimental relics back – until his wife Lorraine sensationally spotted them up for sale on a London-based medal website a few months ago.

That allowed detectives in Northumbria to spring into action, locating the business and asking their counterparts at the Metropolitan Police to seize them.

On Monday (July 20), just eight days after Anthony’s 57th birthday, police visited his home in Pelaw and were able to reunite him with his well-earned medals after they had successfully been transported back to the North-east.

“It was the best birthday present – a wonderful end to a long story,” Anthony said. “I was so upset when they were stolen, I was absolutely fuming.

“Over the years, I lost hope that I’d ever get them back – so this was an incredible surprise and I’m really grateful to the police who were able to bring them home to me.

“I actually came close to finding them back in 2010 – my friend came up for the Great North Run and mentioned that he’d recently seen them for sale in a pawnbrokers in Guisborough. He thought I must have decided to sell them, they had my name on and everything.

“But when I travelled down the next day, the shop said they’d sold them only a couple of days earlier to a private collector, and it was going to be almost impossible to trace them.

“I felt that pain all over again, having come so close to getting my hands on them. In the years since, I’ve sporadically checked online on medal websites to see if they’d materialise again, but to no avail.”

That was, however, until Anthony’s wife searched online for ‘Falklands medals for sale’ a few months ago and spotted the items up for sale again – this time on a London-based medal selling website, along with a comprehensive lowdown of his two decades of service.

Uncertain what to do, Anthony rang Northumbria Police who then vowed to track them down – and after working closely with the Met in London, officers were able to courier them back to the North-east.

Detective Sergeant Chris Raper-Smith, who spearheads the Southern Burglary Team based at Southwick Police Station, visited Anthony’s home earlier this week – and is delighted to have been able to reunite him with his medals.

“It’s a really nice end to the story,” Det Sgt Raper-Smith said. “Having something so sentimental and personal stolen, after such a distinguished service, it must have been absolutely horrendous for Anthony to have to come to terms with.

“So often with these types of cases, the medals exchange hands so quickly and it’s very difficult to trace their whereabouts.

“But after Anthony’s wife spotted them for sale online, we were determined to do our bit and make sure we brought them home to him. I’d like to thank my team as well as our colleagues in the Met who worked closely with us to make that possible.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be able to visit Anthony earlier this week and chat to him – and now his well-earned medals are back where they belong. I know it means a huge amount to him.”

Jarrow-born Anthony joined the Royal Navy aged 16 and served on HMS Brilliant during the Falklands War in 1982.

He then went on to serve on various ships including HMS Euryalus and HMS Illustrious, the latter which saw him travel to the Far East in 1997 to oversee the handover of Hong Kong to China.

After 24 years’ service, Anthony left the Navy in 2004 as a Chief Petty Officer – and went on to open a bar in Benidorm, which he named ‘Jarrow Lad’, before returning to the North-east in 2008.

While you are here…

Don’t forget to become a ‘Daily Ditter’ by becoming a Supporter of our page! 

As well as getting access to exclusive content and behind the scenes ‘stuff’, you will also be able to join our ‘Daily Ditters’ supporter-only group! CLICK HERE for more information! 

AND don’t forget to join our online community ‘Interesting Stuff Spotted Online’ where our followers can share ‘stuff’ (such as videos and pictures) they think our writers might be interested in covering – CLICK HERE to join the group.

You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram! Just search for ‘Daily Dits.’

« Older Entries