Parents of Lancashire soldier who died by suicide 'disgusted' MoD will not replace his lost medals

Video report by Granada Reports journalist Sarah Rogers

Grieving parents who lost their son to suicide say the Ministry of Defence (MoD) should be "ashamed" of itself for refusing to replace their son’s war medals.

Duncan Johnstone, was known as DJ to his friends and family, served in Afghanistan and Iraq and was in the army for nine years, joining at the age of 17.

At just 38, he took his life in 2021 following a struggle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but his medals are no where to be found.

His mum and dad, Duncan Senior and Lynne, say they have asked the MoD for replacements to honour their son, but have been told to buy copies instead.

Duncan Johnstone joined the army at the age of 17

"It's disgusting," said Lynne who wants to keep the medals in a memory box with a collection of her son's things.

She continued: "They should be ashamed of themselves."

They say they only replace medals where a loss "is completely outside the individual's control" such as in a burglary or house fire - and proof must be provided in these instances.

DJ served nine years in the army, joining when he was just 17 and serving with the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

The Johnstone’s, who are from Hyndburn, in Lancashire, say they even offered to pay for a new one and say a replica just is not the same because it will not have DJ’s name and number on it.

The MoD said in a statement: “Every suicide is a tragedy and deeply felt within the Defence community and our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Duncan Johnstone.

“Whilst we recognise that nothing can replace the original, if a medal is lost we can advise on the best options for high quality replicas.”

The response is just more heartache for pair who are calling for more support for veterans with PTSD and their families.

He is working with a charity Homes for Humanity started by one of DJ's friends supporting veterans with housing and their mental health.

Nichola Jones, CEO of Homes for Humanity

Nichola Jones, the CEO of the charity said, "I know they'll be a lot more veterans out there that will be going through what DJ was going through.

They need to be able to know that it is alright to cry or speak up about what they're feeling inside, no-one is going to judge them."

It has only been a year since DJ died, his family are still grieving. One thing they say would help them is to receive the medal their son fought for. 

 "Just reconsider," said Duncan,"for the sake of a medal, that would mean a lot, to us."