For 40 years Joe Mckenna has stood by while his fellow veterans display their medals at Remembrance parades in Lancashire.
Now the former soldier from Fir Trees Avenue, Ribbleton, has his own badge of honour after being presented with his Northern Ireland service medal by Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Lighten, Commanding Officer of the 4th Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
Joe, 72, served in Northern Ireland in 1970, as the troubles were starting but was demobbed shortly after he returned - never claiming his medal.
He says: “It was bubbling up. Although there wasn’t much bombing I worked in the officers’ mess and if anything happened we would get called in to do guard duty.
“We were called in to wash down a pub after someone threw a smoke grenade in. It stank!”
The grandad of five left the army shortly after returning from Northern Ireland, when his squadron, The Loyal Regiment became The Queens Lancashire Regiment in 1970.
He now volunteers at The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Lancashire Infantry Museum in Preston and decided to track down his medal after a query about tracing lost medals at the museum, which is open to the public.
Now he says: “It’s the best Christmas present ever - my family very proud too.”