WW2 veteran Jim Marland given replacement medals at Rochdale AFC 231121 CREDIT MOD
The surprise presentation was made at half-time at Rochdale AFC's home League Two game against Stevenage (Picture: MOD).
Veterans

96-year-old WW2 veteran's stolen medals replaced by soldier at surprise presentation

Veteran Jim Marland was given replacement medals during a half-time presentation at Rochdale AFC's Crown Oil Stadium.

WW2 veteran Jim Marland given replacement medals at Rochdale AFC 231121 CREDIT MOD
The surprise presentation was made at half-time at Rochdale AFC's home League Two game against Stevenage (Picture: MOD).

Medals stolen from the chest of a 96-year-old Second World War veteran after he was pushed to the ground at his local cenotaph have been replaced.

Jim Marland, who suffered a shrapnel wound to the chest while seeing action in Germany during the conflict, was given the replacements on the pitch in a surprise presentation at Rochdale football club on Tuesday night.

He received a guard of honour to the centre of the pitch and was greeted with warm applause from the crowd at half-time between the match with Stevenage.

A serving soldier presented Mr Marland with substitute original World War Two medals.

Major Phil Linehan, a Reservist with 103 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), replaced the medals from his medal mounting company's stock after seeing Mr Marland's story on social media.

He travelled five-and-a-half hours from Kent to make the presentation at the Rochdale AFC's Crown Oil Arena.

Mr Marland's medals, plus other belongings, were taken while he visited Rochdale cenotaph prior to Remembrance.

The suspect made off with 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.

As well as the medals, 103 REME also gifted a replacement beret with an original Second World War cap badge for Mr Marland and an original First World War cap badge.

WW2 veteran Jim Marland at Rochdale AFC receiving replacement medals 231121 CREDIT MOD
Mr Marland said: "It was a surprise and I want to thank everyone that's been so nice to me." (Picture: MOD).

"The big Army family got together to produce this award and it was a wonderful privilege to give back to someone who gave so much for all of us," Maj Linehan said.

Mr Marland served as a private with Durham Light Infantry Brigade during the conflict.

He joined the Army aged 18, serving in the UK, Germany, India, Singapore and France.

"It was a surprise and I want to thank everyone that's been so nice to me," the veteran said.

The presentation at the football club was helped by former Royal Navy engineer, Adam Trennery, who's part of AFC Rochdale Veterans Association.

Rochdale AFC chairman Simon Gauge said: "It was a pleasure to host Jim and his family, as well as military personnel at Tuesday night's game against Stevenage, and it was a real honour to see him presented with the medals on the pitch at half-time.

"We're pleased to have helped play a small part in putting a smile back on Jim's face."