A birthday to remember: veteran receives service medals after forty years

Date: 07/03/2024

For his 64th birthday resident Jeff received his service medals after his son tracked them down 40 years later.

64-year-old Jeff who lives at Rowan Village, this year received an extra special gift from his son Carl.

After joining the Navy at 16 and being enlisted into the army at 20, Jeff earned four medals for his time in service.

However, nearly 40 years later Jeff didn’t know where his medals were or if he would ever see them. After a conversation with his son Carl, Jeff received an extra special birthday gift, after Carl had tracked down his medals or sourced new with the appropriate authorities.

We caught up with Jeff to find out more about the gift and all about his time in service.

“I joined the Navy when I left school”, said Jeff.

“I joined as part of the Catering Team helping to prepare meals for officers. I wanted to join because I loved the idea of travelling and being part of the squad meant I would have the opportunity to travel all over the world.

“When I was off duty, I visited some amazing places. The highlight for me was going to New York. I’d never seen a place so brightly lit! Everywhere was illuminated and the club scene then was incredible.

“We even tried to see Elvis Presley too, but because he was so popular and had such a great turnout we got turned away.

“During my time in the Navy I met some incredible people and experienced some truly amazing things!”

After he left the Navy, Jeff was enlisted to complete national service in the British Army.

“Although the second world war was over, when I left the Navy, I was called out to Malaya as part of the aftermath of the war”, added Jeff.

“We were there to look for ‘terrorists’ as they were known then, but it soon became clear it was a fight we couldn’t win.

“As a young man it was a really tough time. I don’t think anyone can prepare themselves for war, especially at such a young age. I had friends and squaddies who were killed and seriously injured during it all, but thankfully I remained unharmed.”

Jeff shares how special it was receiving his medals after years of not knowing what happened to them.

"Over the years I'd lost medals, but then others I didn't even know I earned!", said Jeff. 

“It was so lovely of my son Carl to track them down for me. He surprised me with them as a present for my birthday and when I saw them, I was choked up and lost for words.

"It's a special present because he went to all that trouble to get them back for me, and looking at them help to remind me of fond memories, lost friends, and all the things I experienced as part of the Army and Navy too."

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