AN Army veteran is celebrating the return of his medals — after his wife mistakenly dropped them into a post box along with the rest of the couple’s mail.
Malcolm Vickers’ campaign medals went on an incredible 1,000-mile journey over five days — before the Royal Mail and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) joined forces to return the package to Mr Vickers.
The mishap occurred after Mr Vickers left his medals in a packet on the stairs at his Westhoughton home next to other mail ready for posting.
His wife Mary then posted the medals into a Hart Common post box.
Despite a rush to the post box in an attempt to retrieve the parcel Mr Vickers was too late and the postman had already been.
The medals had recently been applied for by Mr Vickers from a firm in Sheffield specialising in commemoration awards that many soldiers did not receive because they were not campaign medals issued by the MOD.
The medals were presented on a board and packaged in a plain white envelope with no address on the front.
Mr Vickers said: “I usually leave out-going mail on the stairs so Mary just thought it was something to be posted.”
The 69-year-old secretary of the Hindley branch of The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment went to the sorting depot in Horwich only to be informed he would have to write to Belfast and Manchester to see if the parcel could be located.
Mr Vickers received a telephone call from the lost mail centre in Manchester to say the medals had arrived in Manchester from lost property in Belfast and that they had then been posted to had posted to the medals office at the MOD in Gloucester.
The MOD then sent the medals to an address in London and Mr Vickers was finally reunited with them five days after they first went missing.
He added: “I cannot thank the post office enough. After numerous phone calls, emails and letters exchanged it looked, for a time, like I would never see my medals again.”
Mr Vickers is a veteran of the 5th Battalion of the Loyals and said he had not fallen out with his wife describing the incident as “a simple mistake”.
- Any veteran interested in finding out more about applying for medals should visit the new Friendly Loyals meeting on Tuesday, March 25, in The Rumworth Lodge, St Helens Road, Bolton at 7pm. Any ex-service personnel are welcome to attend the group.