Sergeant Glyn Gurner served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers for ten years, before and during WW2, but sadly lost his service medals at some point in the 1950s. Mr Gurner never found out what happened to his medals, now he’s been awarded with five replacement ones from current serving personnel.
The war hero was visited on his 100th birthday by Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer First Class Richie Davies, who said he wanted to do ‘something special’ for the former sergeant when he heard about his story.
Davies said "When I heard he had lost his medals in the 1950s I wanted to ensure he had replacements made up especially for his 100th birthday. It’s an absolute privilege to do something for someone who served his country in the way Glyn did."
You can say that again, Sergeant Major. It must have been amazing to be able to visit a war hero on such a special day.
Mr Gurner served in the army from 1936 until 1946, which spanned the whole length of World War 2.
So how did this come about? Well, Sgt Maj Davies had found Glyn’s service documents in the South Wales Borderers Museum in Brecon. He looked him up, realized that he would be celebrating his centenary soon, and knew he wanted to do something special for the veteran.
So on Monday (January 7), on Mr Gurner’s 100th birthday, Davies turned up at his front door in New Tredegar, Wales, with Goat Major Sergeant Mark Jackson and Fusilier Shenkin IV.
I know the presence of a goat might seem a bit strange, but there is a reason for this. It stems from a tradition that originated in 1775, when a wild goat walked onto the battlefield in Boston during the American Revolutionary War, and led the Welsh regimental colours at the end of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Goats have had a special place in the regiment ever since.
Making his birthday even more special, Mr Gurner was also presented with a letter from Major General James Swift – who is currently the Royal Welsh’s highest-ranking member.
General Swift congratulated the 100-year-old on reaching his milestone, writing:
"I know that you volunteered and joined 1 Welch well before the Second World War in 1936. Your service during the war took you to most of the hot spots – Crete, North Africa, Italy and Palestine.
Like many of your generation you put your life on hold to serve your King and country.
For those who have not served in uniform this is something that people of today do not quite understand, but for those serving in today’s Army and your Regiment, we salute you and thank you for your sacrifice."
Wow. Talk about a special day! Mr Gurner appeared happy but also tearful when he was presented with the replacement medals, with family members by his side and neighbours gathered around to see what was going on.
He described the moment as ‘wonderful’ and said he couldn’t believe he’d been reunited with his medals after all these years.
Speaking to local press, he said "This is unbelievable. I never expected anything like this. What a wonderful thing to do. I can’t believe I’ve got my medals back."
His son Neil said the presentation had ‘really made his day’ and described it as an unforgettable experience: "This has really made his day and we’ll never forget it."
Happy birthday, Sergeant Gurner, and thank you so much for your service.