A PROUD grandson has replaced all five medals lost by his Second World War hero grandfather.
David Noyce had always been fascinated by his grandfather’s memories of serving in Italy and his part in Monte Cassino – one of the bloodiest battles of the war.
Derek Groombridge, 94, signed up with the Durham Light Infantry in 1940 and was posted to Madagascar, India, Egypt and Iran before seeing action in Italy, where he spent the rest of the war.
But all five of his medals were lost in a house move some years ago and Mr Groombridge, of West Meon, had resigned himself to never seeing them again.
Grandson David, 31, of Montgomery Walk, Waterlooville, said: ‘It really upset me to think he didn’t have his medals to show off.
‘I’m very proud of him and he deserved something to show for what he had been through. I don’t know if I could have done it.
I’m very proud of him and he deserved something to show for what he had been through.David Noyce
‘I wanted him to have what was rightfully his.
‘I sat down with him and made a lot of notes to help me find out exactly where he had been and at what time to establish which medals he was entitled to.’
David spent hours online going through military history and discovered the missing medals were the Africa Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal, 1939 to 1945 Star and the War Medal.
The dad-of-one spent months trying to find the medals for sale until he finally managed to buy all five and present them to his grandfather.
Mr Groombridge, a great-grandfather, said: ‘I was astounded and I went a bit misty-eyed.
‘I couldn’t believe that he’d done this and kept it quiet. I was very proud of him for doing a thing like that.
‘It made me very happy that I had been reunited with my medals.’
Mr Groombridge and his wife Olga were pen pals during the war and married in 1947.
Mrs Groombridge died in 2014 after 67 years of marriage.
During the war Mr Groombridge caught malaria and was jaundice. He says he now looks back on his time fondly, despite the horrors.
‘I lost friends, including a Major in a mortar attack. But I remember the nice parts of the war, the comradeship.’