Tuesday 21 January 2020

Grandpa's Medals

Those who are on Instagram will know that my dad has been in hospital again. He was taken in at the beginning of last week and I'm pleased to say that he's now back home again. Thank you to those who sent lovely messages, looking after elderly parents is such a roller coaster ride.

While my dad was in hospital, we went round to his house and saw that the postman had left a card saying he'd tried to deliver a parcel but no one was home. We took the card to the local sorting office and collected the parcel. It turned out to be something my dad had been waiting for.

After the Second World War, many servicemen came home and never spoke again of what had gone on during those long years. The sights they will have seen must have been horrific and the only way they could deal with them was to never mention them again. Not only that, but they didn't even apply for the medals they were entitled to, apparently this was very common. My grandpa, my dad's dad, was one of these men. He served as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers during the Second World War and it's only recently when, a passing comment from my dad, led me to discover that he'd never claimed his medals and so I thought I would do something about it.

I printed off the forms I needed, collected the required information, got my dad to sign them and sent them off to the Ministry of Defence. It was all really easy. Inside the parcel I collected from the sorting office were these.

How fabulous is that? Just short of seventy five years since the end of the war, and now we have my grandpa's medals in our possession.

The War Medal 1939-45 is a campaign medal for award to subjects of the British Commonwealth who had served full-time in the Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy for at least 28 days between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945.

The Defence Medal is a campaign medal for award to subjects of the British Commonwealth for both non-operational military and certain types of civilian war service during the Second World War.

The 1939-45 Star is a military campaign medal for award to British and Commonwealth forces for service in the Second World War.

The Burma Star is a military campaign medal for award to British and Commonwealth forces who served in the Burma Campaign from 1941 to 1945, during the Second World War.

It's a long time since these medals were earned by my grandpa but at long last, his service has now been recognised, and the parcel containing these medals cheered my dad up no end when we took it into the hospital and he opened it.


  1. Jo, I think this is fantastic! I can understand why the men and women who served wouldn't want to collect their medals but i'm so glad you now have these to remember what your grandpa did for us.
    My uncle (dads brother) was in Burma, I have a photo of him taken while he was there, I don't know if he claimed his medals or not, I would imagine not. I'm glad you dad is doing better, parents can be as much worry as our children.

  2. I am so glad to hear your dad is on the mend and home, it is a huge worry when they are unwell. How lovely to see your granddads medals now with your dad, ith timing of their arrival is just perfect.

  3. John's dad was on the torpedo boats and John said he never talked about the war. John's been trying to find his dad's navy records and there are no medals. His dad died over 30 years ago, so maybe he will never know. I'm glad you were able to get your dad's medals; something to treasure and perhaps they may help him to recover. Best, Jane x

  4. How lovely to be able to get your Grandpa's medals, must have been a real boost for your Dad.

  5. I am really to sorry to hear that you Dad has been in hospital Jo. I do hope that now he is home again he is starting to feel a little better. What a worry for you all.

    I loved this post Jo, thank you reminding us of those wonderful people who fought for years to defend our country both here and overseas. I am so glad that you were able to apply for your grandfathers medals all these years later and that it made your dad happy to see them.

  6. This is marvellous, I had no idea you could do this, how wonderful for your Dad to have them especially when he's not been well.

  7. How lovely to now have these medals, in the family.

    Do hope your dad stays well. I'm sure this package, was a great help, to his feeling better.


  8. I was thrilled to read that the medals have been claimed and will now be part of the family. Glad your Dad is doing a little better, the medals hopefully were a real boost to him.

  9. I'm sorry to read that your dad hasn't been too well again. Good for you for doing this re your grandpa's medals, which must have really pleased your dad. xx

  10. You did a beautiful thing Jo. Glad your Dad is a bit better, hope you can make time to take care of yourself. Xx

  11. So lovely to keep and so thoughtful of you to claim them.
    My Father was there when Auschwitz was found and witnessed some horrible sights, that's as much as he would talk about it but it must have affected these men profoundly. No talk of PSTD then but they must have suffered from it.

  12. Such good news that dad is home resting. It's super that you have managed to get these medals. I do understand why those that could have got them wanted to put it all behind them, but its fabulous for your dad and the wider family to have them in your possession.

  13. That's fantastic! My dad landed on Omaha Beach on Day 2, survived that and made through The Bulge as well. He came home with German shrapnel in his knee and hip.... and died a few years ago with it still in there. He never applied for the medals nor and additional veterans' benefits because (A) "It was too much paperwork" and (B) He felt he didn't do anything any more special than every other soldier had done. The men of that generation were a completely different breed.

  14. What a lovely thing to do Jo! It has got me thinking, that I've never seen medals from my late Dad's service during the Second World War - I must delve into that a bit more.

    So glad to hear that your Dad is a little better. It is a roller coaster ride indeed.

  15. So glad to hear your dad is home, how worrying for you. Ahhhh, how wonderful having those medals, such a great thing to do. I was wondering why I hadn't seen a post from you in a while, they haven't been coming through, how odd, I've re-subscribed, but I was still subscribed.Hopefully posts will come through again.xxx

  16. How lovely that you managed to get the medals, wonderful keepsakes for the family xcx

  17. Pleased to read that your Dad is now back home …
    How wonderful to have those medals, very special.

    All the best Jan