Houghton war veteran who sparked a nation-wide appeal after losing his medals dies aged 93

Donald Nicholson with his medals.

Donald Nicholson with his medals.

A Wearside war veteran who made the headlines after he was reunited with his military medals has died.

Donald Nicholson, 93, believed he had dropped his medals on the site of the new Bomber Command Memorial in Lincoln at an unveiling ceremony in October.

Donald Nicholson in the cockpit of Lancaster Bomber 'Patricia' - named after the pilot's fiance.

Donald Nicholson in the cockpit of Lancaster Bomber 'Patricia' - named after the pilot's fiance.

But they had been handed in at Houghton police station on the day and he was later reunited with them.

At the time, Mr Nicholson said: “I feel like I have won the lottery.

“I just want to thank everybody for their help.”

A statement on the International Bomber Command Centre's Facebook page says: "It is with huge sadness that we have to report the sad passing of Warrant Officer Donald Nicholson.

"Donald flew 31 operations whilst serving on 44 Sqn as a flight engineer.

"His Lancaster was shot down and Donald’s crew were killed and he had been unable to find the graves of any of them, except the pilot, in Germany.

"He was finally able to mark their passing by placing poppies at the IBCC Memorial, something he said gave him great comfort and enabled him to close that chapter of his story.

"As many of you will remember, Donald attended the unveiling of the Memorial in October 2015 and unfortunately lost his medals in transit, resulting in a widespread media campaign to locate them, a search involving over 80 Lincolnshire volunteers with metal detectors and offers of support from all over the country.

"Luckily the medals were found and he was overjoyed to be reunited with them.

"With the help of BBC Radio Lincolnshire we were able to bring Donald and his medals back to the Memorial two weeks later where the BBMF Lancaster treated him to a magnificent flypast, something that left him lost for words.

"We had the great pleasure of getting to know Donald a little and will remember with great fondness his incredible sense of humour.

"Rest in Peace Donald."