30 March 2017
The medals awarded to a hero of the Falklands War have been returned to him more than 30 years after they were stolen from an Army barracks room.
Former Scots Guardsman Ian Davidson, who was Mentioned in Despatches for his gallantry during the Battle of Mount Tumbledown, said, “Words are not enough to explain how happy and grateful I am,” after his campaign awards were returned by Christopher Hill, Director of Client Liaison at the international auction house Dix Noonan Webb.
The return of the medals – the General Service Medal with clasp for Northern Ireland and the South Atlantic Medal with the oak leaf emblem denoting a Mention in Despatches - was negotiated by Dix Noonan Webb after they were brought in for sale by a collector who had bought them in good faith. Despite the fact that the medals were expected to fetch up to £2,600 at auction, the collector kindly agreed to accept the financial loss and that they should be returned to Mr Davidson, 61, from Glenrothes in Fife.
“We are delighted that Dix Noonan Webb have been able to arrange the return of these hard- earned campaign medals to Ian Davidson,” said Christopher Hill, Director of Client Liaison at the auction house, who travelled to Glenrothes in Scotland to hand over the medals. “It was quite an emotional occasion as these original awards meant so much to him. They are now back where they belong.”
Mr Davidson said, “My heart skipped a few beats when I heard that the medals were to be returned to me. It is very difficult to put into words what this means to me, as I have always felt undressed wearing replacement medals at functions I attend. I can now wear the originals on my very proud chest. Words are not enough to explain how happy and grateful I am at what Dix Noonan Webb and the collector have done to ensure their safe return after some 30-odd years. I owe a huge debt of gratitude.”
Mr Davidson was Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette for gallantry during the night of 13-14 June 1982. The original recommendation for his award reads, ‘The 2nd Battalion Scots Guards attacked well-entrenched enemy positions on the craggy ridge feature of Tumbledown Mountain, 7km to the west of Port Stanley. During the assault,
Lance Sergeant Davidson’s section became pinned down by accurate enemy sniper fire. Showing a total disregard for his own safety, Lance Sergeant Davidson moved among his men encouraging them and steadying them. Inspired by his courageous example, they fought their way forward and destroyed two enemy positions. For his courage under fire and selfless leadership, Lance Sergeant Davidson is strongly recommended for Mention in Despatches.’
The Scots Guards lost eight men killed and 43 wounded as they drove the Argentines from Tumbledown, one of the highest points overlooking Port Stanley. It was a crucial action that helped seal the British victory.
Mr Davidson received his South Atlantic Medal with the oak leaf emblem for his Mention in Despatches to go with a General Service Medal for his Northern Ireland service. But in 1983 his medals were stolen from his Army barracks room. Although he obtained a replacement set stamped with the letter ‘R’, these never felt the same. He left the Army in 1986 and later worked as a fire safety officer in the National Health Service before retiring.