Veteran’s medals found over 100 miles from major search at Lincoln Bomber Command memorial site

  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
  • Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Update, October 9, 5.30pm: Donald Nicholson’s medals have been found! They were handed in to a local police station in Tyne and Wear.

It’s thought they were found lying on the floor around the place where he got into the car in his home town over 140 miles away.


The team behind the International Bomber Command Centre on Canwick Hill in Lincoln never expected that their appeal to help World War Two veteran Donald Nicholson find his lost medals would take off the way it did.

Exactly one week after hundreds of former Bomber Command aircrew gathered at the centre’s memorial spire for its official unveiling, around 70 volunteers returned to the site – many armed with metal detectors.

They we all there to help with the appeal for Donald, who is 93 and from Houghton-le-Spring.

He became aware on returning from the ceremony that he had lost a Bomber Command Clasp, the 39-45 Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal and the Victory Medal.

It is unclear at which point in the day the medals went missing, but after the search was extended to Canwick Hill plenty of people grouped together to help, including a search team of personnel from RAF Waddington.

The volunteers also took to searching for a lost caterpillar pin belonging to veteran Daniel Nash.

The pin is military insignia associated with people who have successfully used a parachute to bail out of disabled aircraft.

Volunteer Chrissie Clayton, who lives in Nettleham, said: “When I saw the appeal my heart went out to the chap who lost his medals.

“We used to do metal detecting and I thought I’d come down on my day off.

“The spire and the ceremony here for the veterans last were was incredible I think the project is absolutely fantastic.”

Lancaster remains found

Finders of the possible Lancaster skin Brad Williamson and RAF Waddington Flight Sergeant Rich Selina. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Finders of the possible Lancaster skin Brad Williamson and RAF Waddington Flight Sergeant Rich Selina. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Volunteers did uncover pieces of historic agriculture, pottery and a piece of material thought to be the skin of a Lancaster plane.

RAF Cranwell Chef Brad Williamson discovered the possible Lancaster skin.

He said: “We came to try to find the medals for Mr Nicholson. We were on the field for around 15 minutes or so when we can across some aircraft skin and a few agricultural bits.

“There was a Lancaster which crashed just across the road during the war, so we can only presume that it’s come from that.

The plane skin remains were found on the site of the IBCC. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The plane skin remains were found on the site of the IBCC. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“The skin itself isn’t actually that unusual, especially when being surrounded by so many airfields like we are here.

“I’m from the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group and we’re based at East Kirkby.

“IBCC is outstanding, I can’t wait to come and visit once it’s finished.”

The search was a proud moment for this involved. IBCC Director Nicky Barr: It’s incredible to think that one post on Facebook did this.

“The Lancaster skin find is exciting. A plane crashed not far from here, as if we needed another reason to have the site where it is!

Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Trust Chairman Tony Worth added: “I think all the volunteers are wonderful. It’s amazing.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed for Donald.”