Selfless Worksop cadet ‘went out of way’ to reunite 1950’s soldier’s family with lost ID tag

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A Worksop Cadet “went out of his way” to track down the relatives of a former soldier and return a military ID tag he stumbled across while taking part in his summer training camp.

Cadet Lance Corporal Ben Kirkham, from Nottinghamshire Army Cadet Force’s (ACF) Worksop Detachment, “didn’t give a second thought “to leaving the identity tag lying on the ground where he found it.

Instead, he immediately picked it up and considered how he would start his investigation to return the tag to its rightful owner.

Explaining that his search began online, Ben, aged 17, said: “I initiated my search on Google by typing in the Army number and name shown on the tag. This revealed the owner to be Sapper Don Penfold of the Royal Engineers.”

Ben discovered that one of his medals had just been sold in a Bridlington shop this summer to a private collector. This was his General Service Medal with ‘Near East’ Clasp.

He went on: “More digging revealed that the Medal and Clasp were awarded to Sapper Penfold for his service during Operation Musketeer in the final months of 1956, where he was supporting UK operations to stabilise and secure the area around the Suez Canal region.”

The investigation also highlighted that Longmoor Training Camp in Hampshire, where the ID tag was found, was in the late 1950s used by the Royal Engineers and that those deploying on Operation Musketeer were trained at this location before flying overseas to complete their deployment.

Ben said: “It’s entirely possible that Sapper Penfold lost the dog tag on deployment training. After spending hour searching, a friend of mine discovered the whereabouts of his family.

Unfortunately, Sapper Penfold and his wife passed away in the early 2000s, but he was survived by his sisters, children and grandchildren who live in Brighton.”

Ben travelled to Brighton on 11 November to present Sapper Penfold’s family the ID tag together with a replica of the serviceman’s medal framed with an explanatory note for them to keep forever.