A man who turned up at a Warwickshire Armistice Day parade wearing an SAS beret and an “impossible” array of military medals found himself denounced as a “fraud and imposter” by members of the armed forces and veterans groups.
Described as a Walter Mitty figure, Roger Day, from Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, wore 14 medals dating from the Korean war in the 1950s to the Falklands Conflict in the 1980s and the liberation of Kuwait in the 1990s – giving him an unlikely 40-year career in the front line.
The glittering display of gongs included two of the country’s finest awards for bravery, the Military Medal and the Military Cross as well as the Distinguished Service Medal and the Army Long Service Medal.
Well-wishers, including recently bereaved families of servicemen, clapped and cheered as the annual parade in Bedworth made its way through the town.
But organisers, suspicious that while Mr Day wore an extraordinary collection of medals he did not have a regimental tie, challenged him.
Mr Day remained defiant when cornered by journalists, claiming he could not talk about his military service because he had signed the Official Secrets Act.
But he added: “They are all proper, pukka campaign medals. Medals I won in conflicts while I was serving with the British forces.”
Military service groups are urging the prime minister to make it illegal for people to misrepresent themselves as having served in the armed forces or having been awarded medals for gallantry.
Mr Day’s behaviour drew savage criticism from members of the Army Rumour Service internet forum.
One serving soldier said: “He should be named and shamed. He has stolen from those who demonstrated courage, honour and valour...it is just like identity theft.”
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