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Stella’s medals gift will go on show to the nation

EMOTIONAL Stella Coppard has ensured her late father’s war medals will be proudly on show.

 

Aldwick resident Mrs Coppard presented the seven honours to Captain Gary Pullen, of the 3rd Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment at Aldwick’s  Remembrance Day service.

 

She said: “This is an emotional day because I’m thinking of my dad and my son is not here either. It’s very poignant.

 

“I lost my son three years ago and I have got no blood relations. It’s troubled me that, when I died, there would be nobody to look after the medals.

 

“They could have just got thrown away. I wanted to make sure they were looked after safely.”

 

She contacted the successor regiment to her late father’s and the presentation was arranged for last Friday morning’s service.

 

“Knowing the medals will now be in safe hands is really important,” said Mrs Coppard.

 

“I wanted to wear them for the last time today to honour my father and to make him proud and make me proud.”

 

Canterbury-based Capt Pullen said: “It’s an absolute honour to be taking hold of the medals, especially as it’s from a regiment with such strong links to us.

 

“These medals will go on display at the Battalion’s headquarters in Chilwell.

 

“You see so many medals in junk shops and antiques shops and it’s shame that history has just been thrown away. A soldier is still a soldier. An infantryman still faces the harshness of fighting whether it’s in the Second World War or now.

 

“But what those soldiers in the war didn’t have, that we do, is the modern luxuries and kit. It was a lot harsher in those days.”

 

Mrs Coppard’s father, Albert McHugh, was a Trooper in the Royal Armoured Corps.

 

He enlisted in 1939 in Oldham and served in the 7th Armoured Division, known as the Desert Rats, from 1941.

 

He fought in the Battle of El Alamein and took part in the drive to Tripoli. He returned to the UK in 1944 for the D-Day landings.

 

His medals were the 1939/45 Star, the Africa Star Eighth Army 1942/43, Italy Star 1943- 45, France and Germany Star 1944/45, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45 and the Territorial Efficiency Medal.

 

He was shot and wounded at the Battles At Villers-Brocage and was taken prisoner of war.

 

He was repatriated at the end of the war and transferred to the Army Reserve in June 1946.

 

He died in 1996 at the age of 72 after a road accident.

 

They were presented in a short ceremony in Willowhale Community Centre after the remembrance service.

 

The honour of receiving the medals was placed upon 3 PWRR because it is the nearest Desert Rat unit that serves within 7th Armoured Brigade to Stella’s home.

Posted in Community, News.