The grandson of a fallen Gallipoli soldier has been reunited with his suit and badges thanks to the perseverance of a British Transport Police officer.
Ian Domingo, from Dumfries, contacted British Transport Police in November last year when he realised the suit he had worn to an event in London commemorating the centenary of the battle had been taken from the train at Lancaster.
After searching lost property along the route, another suitbag was discovered unclaimed and BTP officer PC Gez Cooper, based at Lancaster, set about attempting to return the items.
Meanwhile, Elaine Higgins from Barrow, who had attended the same remembrance ceremonies that weekend and travelled back in the same carriage as Mr Domingo with her husband, was tipped off by friends about the missing suit and badges.
Recalling that she had carried a suitbag on the same service she checked her wardrobe, only to find Mr Domingo’s missing suit.
She said: “I was dumbstruck for a moment when I unzipped the bag and then went to tell my husband we had Mr Domingo’s suit.
“I was mortified for him, especially as I knew it had the medals on. We’d just picked it up and put it straight in the wardrobe, not even thinking to check the contents.”
Mrs Higgins has attended the remembrance ceremony each year as part of her involvement with SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) – Bereaved Families Support Group, since her son Aled Jones, was killed in Bosnia aged 18 in 1996.
She said: ”I immediately felt for Mr Domingo as I had been wearing Aled’s medals at the ceremony but took them off my suit – I knew what it would have felt like.”
And this week Mr Domingo, along with PC Gez Cooper, met with Mrs Higgins at Carlisle station to hand over the suit.
Mrs Higgins said: “I had to come here in person to apologise for taking Mr Domingo’s suit. We can laugh about it now they’re reunited but it must have been awful for him thinking he might not see it or the badges again.
“I am so impressed by the work of BTP and the lengths that PC Cooper went to get the suit returned.”
Mr Domingo said: “I knew straight away from speaking to PC Cooper that he would leave no stone unturned trying to find my suit. I really can’t thank him enough. He went to so much trouble for me.”
PC Cooper added: “It’s all in day’s work – as a BTP officer the railway is our community and we care about the people who use it.
“It was a great team effort and it was a real pleasure to be able to hand the suit and medals back to Mr Domingo.”