Sefton Veterans Project helps Seaforth hero receive his father’s lost medals

A WAR hero from Seaforth has been formally presented with the medals of his father who served in the First World War.

Henry Edward Whetnall, 89, was joined by other veterans at the Bowersdale Centre where they were given medals in a touching ceremony attended by the Mayor of Sefton and MP Peter Dowd.

Henry, who served for his country during the 1939-45 period in a bomb disposal team in Palestine, has social media to thank for helping to reunite him with his father’s medals.

The Champion reported in February 2015 how the ex-serviceman was given his own medals which he had lost after getting help from Sefton Veteran’s Project.

The group then shared the story on social media and Henry’s distant cousin, Rita, who lives in America, spotted it while researching her own family tree and decided to get in touch.

She helped Henry locate his father’s medals and a presentation was held on Wednesday, March 2.

David Smith of Expect Ltd and Project Manager of the Sefton Veterans Project, said: “It was an incredible story last year. When Henry told us about his missing medals, we worked hard to track them down from the Ministry of Defence, and it was a very moving presentation.

“As soon as Rita got in touch, we knew we had to present Henry with his father’s original medals to give the honour and respect both men deserved.”

Sefton Veterans Project is delivered by the charity Expect Ltd, a charity providing services to people living with learning disability and mental health problems.

The project’s primary focus is the mental wellbeing of ex-service personnel and their families, and part of its work is to track down and reunite veterans with their missing medals.

Two other local veterans, Tess Cameron and Colin Johnson, joined Henry last week as they also received lost medals.

Tess, who served in the Royal Navy from 1943-46, was reunited with her Second World War General Service Medal and Colin, who served in the Royal Green Jackets, received the Long Service and Good Conduct medal, awarded after 18 years of service.

David added: “Reuniting veterans with lost medals is just one aspect of our work.

“We believe it’s incredibly important to formally acknowledge these military honours.

“It’s bringing back pride, recognising those who risked their lives, and not forgetting theirs and their fallen comrades’ sacrifices.”

The medals were presented by Commodore Gary Doyle, a senior Royal Navy officer and the new regional commander for Northern England and the Isle of Man.