A VETERAN who served in the Falklands War has been emotionally reunited with his war medals - 39 years after they were stolen from his car on his wedding day in Berkeley. 

Keith Eamer's medals were stolen from the boot of his car in Stone almost four decades ago, on the day of his wedding in September 1984. 

However, they were recently discovered for sale online by a veteran who served alongside him, and the medals were returned last week with the help of police.

Mr Earmer's name, rank, and number are engraved on the medals.

Keith served under 'Colonel H' in the 2nd battalion of the Parachute Regiment during the Falklands War.

During his six years in the army Keith also served in Northern Ireland during the troubles.

He said: "At first, I wasn't even convinced that they were mine!

"I was in a state of shock when I was told they had been located. I had given up all hope of them being found. 

“I wore the medals at my wedding at the parish church in Stone. 

“After the ceremony I put them, and my uniform, in the boot of my car - a brand new Ford Cortina Mark V which I bought after my service in the Falklands.

"The next day they were gone. Someone had broken into the car and stolen the medals, the uniform and other things from the boot.

Gazette Series: Keith Eamer's medals were stolen after his wedding day in September 1984 in Stone near Berkeley Keith Eamer's medals were stolen after his wedding day in September 1984 in Stone near Berkeley (Image: Keith Eamer)

"I was devastated.

"The theft has been on my mind all the time since it happened. 

“Getting them back is the best Christmas present I'll ever have."

Keith, a dad of three and grandfather of seven, has been wearing replica medals at military ceremonies ever since the originals were stolen.

"Wearing replicas never sat right with me," he said. "I never felt complete on Remembrance Day.

"When you're next to veterans that you've served with you feel a bit of a fraud."

They were returned to him last week by PC Sarah Robinson, based in Stroud.

Tomorrow, he will wear his proper medals on Remembrance Sunday morning at the Gloucester Cenotaph. 

He said he is sure there will be tears in his eyes as he proudly stands to attention with them on his chest.

Gazette Series: Gloucestershire Police helped return the medals to Keith EamerGloucestershire Police helped return the medals to Keith Eamer (Image: Keith Eamer)

He has expressed his gratitude to Gloucestershire Constabulary for their support in returning his medals.

"They have been absolutely terrific," he said. 

"The police come in for a lot of criticism these days but they have done a magnificent job with this and they deserve praise."

War & Son, dealers in military medals and antiques in Leominster, Herefordshire, posted Keith's medals for sale online. 

They bought the medals as part of a large collection from the widow of a man who had amassed a large collection over the course of 30 years.

Steve Nuwar, of War & Son, said: "The collector had British war medals all the way from Waterloo to Wireless Ridge.

"He had acquired Mr Eamer's medals about 30 years ago. They were being kept in ice-cream tubs!"

As soon as War & Son were told by Keith that the medals appeared to be his they took them off their website and began the process of returning them.

Gazette Series: Mr Earmer's name, rank, and number are engraved on the medalsMr Earmer's name, rank, and number are engraved on the medals (Image: War & Son)

"This is completely without precedent," said Mr Nuwar.

"We have helped families reacquire medals that have gone missing over generations.

“But we have never had anything happen like this, where the medals were stolen and returned to their original recipient."

A Gloucestershire Police spokesperson said "Last week we received a report from a man who said he had found military medals belonging to him for sale on a website.

"The medals had been stolen from the boot of the victim's car in Berkeley in 1984.

"The medals have been recovered by officers and have now been returned to the victim."