Mystery surrounds huge haul of WWII dog tags
Military expert Dan Mackay found 14,000 Word War II dog tags buried in a field just outside London.
The 37-year-old has launched an appeal to reunite the tags with their owners after stumbling across thousands of them while out looking for relics at the site of an old World War II anti-aircraft battery.
According to Mackay, the tags were likely to be among the first metal tags manufactured and sent out to replace the older fiber tags worn by soldiers throughout most of the war. The site where the tags were found is also thought to be where the factory that produced them once stood.
"Everywhere we dug in this area we found dog tags," he said. "The finding of the tags didn't seem to be slowing down at all, and in most places they were as lovely as the day they were thrown in."
"The excitement was almost unbearable, it was as if someone had lifted the lid on a treasure chest full of silver coins. I was sure that I stood there open mouthed for several minutes."
It has taken Mackay six months so far to return eight of the tags to their families with three of them actually being returned to the veterans themselves.
Most of them however are likely to belong to those who died during the war.
"From hundreds of hours of research I've found out I have dog tags belonging to thousands of soldiers," he said. "That includes military medal winners, PoWs, foreign medal winners and hundreds mentioned in dispatches - and I still have thousands more to get through.