Veteran's medals replaced after mugger rips them from chest at Rochdale Cenotaph

Jim Marland had his medals replaced after he was mugged while paying his respects at a Cenotaph. Credit: MOD

A 96-year-old veteran who had his war medals ripped from his chest by a mugger while he paid respects at a cenotaph has had them replaced by a serving soldier.

Jim Marland was at Rochdale Cenotaph in the run up to Remembrance when he was pushed to the ground and robbed of the medals and other personal belongings.

The former Private, who served with Durham Light Infantry Brigade, was so shaken it took days before he was able to tell his family.

But, after a serving soldier came across the heart-breaking tale on social media, Mr Marland has now had the medals replaced in a surprise presentation.

Mr Marland received a guard of honour onto the centre of the pitch and was greeted with warm applause from the crowd. Credit: MOD

The pensioner was handed replacement original WW2 medals on Rochdale Football Club's pitch during half-time of their League Two match with Stevenage.

He received a guard of honour onto the centre of the pitch, while the crowd applauded the veteran.

Mr Marland said: "It was a surprise and I want to thank everyone that’s been so nice to me." He added: "If I’d known I was coming to this, I’d have put another row of medals on."

Major Phil Linehan, a Reservist with 103 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), decided to replace the medals from his collection after reading the shocking story on Facebook.

He travelled from Kent to present the awards and chatted with Jim before the presentation.

He said: "Jim told me, ‘I can’t wear my medals tonight like you.’ He was embarrassed he’d lost them. He didn’t know I knew the story."

The medals included the 1939/45 War Star for active service during the Second World War, the France/Germany Star, the Defence Medal earned for service in the UK which was under attack, and the 1939/45 War Medal, also known as the Victory Medal.

Mr Marland was given replacement original WW2 medals from a serving soldier's collection. Credit: MOD

Mr Marland joined the Army in late 1943 in Germany, and fought in Ibbenbüren, finishing the Second World War in Hamburg.

He was wounded in action while in Germany, suffering a shrapnel wound to the chest, leading to a six-week stay in a field hospital.As well as the medals, 103 REME provided a replacement beret with an original WW2 cap badge worn by a relative of ex-Corporal Buckley (Royal Engineers) and an original WW1 cap badge worn by a Great Uncle of Flight Lieutenant Martin, who served with Phil.

Phil added: “The big Army family got together to produce this award and it was a wonderfulprivilege to give back to someone who gave so much for all of us.”