A WAR veteran has finally received his campaign medal – thanks to the efforts of a Basingstoke memorabilia collector.
Eagle-eyed Dan Newbold spotted the Iraq War campaign medal for sale on internet auction site eBay after it was advertised by a Russian dealer.
The medal bore the name and service number of a man called Luke Martell, who had served in Iraq in the Royal Engineers – the same corps of the British Army that Mr Newbold had belonged to.
Wanting to find out more, Mr Newbold, 51, of Neville Close, Cran-bourne, posted information about the medal on a Facebook group for former members of the Royal Engineers.
Within days, veterans had donated money to help Mr Newbold buy the medal, and contact was also made with Mr Martell.
Mr Newbold bought the medal for under £200, and he also put in a reserve bid of more than £650 to make sure he was not gazumped.
Mr Newbold, who has posted the medal to Mr Martell, said: “He was over the moon when I told him. He was humbled, and the whole thing was very emotional.
“Without the spirit of the ex-forces, this would never have happened. He will be able to give that to his children and the story will live on forever more.”
Mr Martell left the Army in 2005 after serving in the Iraq war in 2003. The 30-year-old is now a call centre manager in Preston, Lancashire.
He said he was never given a campaign medal for his time in Iraq as he left before they were made, and did not chase it up with the Ministry of Defence.
It is not known how the medal came to leave the MoD.
Mr Martell said receiving his medal is particularly special as his other mementos from his time in the Army, including a service medal from Northern Ireland, were stolen from his home during a burglary.
He said: “It is brilliant. To see everyone’s kindness, it put a lump in my throat. Dan is a true gent.”