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Datchet soldier's war medals returned to family 30 years after being sold in car boot sale

Medals belonging to a Datchet soldier who was killed during the First World War have been returned to his family 30 years after they were sold at a car boot sale.

Soldier Philip Tarrant, an organist and choir master at St Mary’s in Datchet, received service medals for his time in the army that were left in the custody of his eldest son.

Brian Langston brought the medals at a car boot sale in Wraysbury before retiring from the police service and moving to the South of France with his wife Sharon in 2010.

“They all remained in my collection of curiosities and collectables,” he said.

“I thought I would research them when I had more time and to be honest were forgotten about for decades.”

After watching the war film 1917 earlier this year, Brian was reminded of the medals and decided to trace the family.

“They were still in the original envelopes which had been posted to his widow after his death and with them was a letter from Buckingham Palace bearing a facsimile signature of King George V, which had accompanied the Great War Memorial Plaque, also known as the Death Penny,” said Brian.

Brian’s wife Sharon took to the internet to find Philip’s descendants and was guided to the Datchet Village Society website which had lots of detail about the soldier’s life.

“It was a very poignant moment when I first saw his photograph looking back at me as I held his medals in my hand, over a century after his tragic death,” said Brian.

The couple reached out to Philip’s granddaughter, Teresa Bruce, in February.

“We thought we’d never get the originals back so when we had contact from Brian to say he had them it was absolute shock and delight,” said Teresa.

“We’d been on various websites and societies looking for them but as they were only service medals we assumed they’d been stolen, sold or lost,” she added.

Brian and Sharon met with Teresa and Philip’s great-great-grandchildren at the memorial in the village green to return the medals.

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