Tributes to decorated war veteran, 93, who made headlines over missing medals

Donald Nicholson pictured after he was reunited with his medals.
Donald Nicholson pictured after he was reunited with his medals.
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A Wearside war veteran who made the headlines after he was reunited with his misplaced 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 a ceremony in October.

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

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

But he was reunited with them when they were handed in at Houghton police station the next day.

International Bomber Command Centre helped organise a visit back to the memorial and he was treated to a flypast.

A statement from its leaders said: “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 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.

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