Derek Eustace John Meaker
Picture of Derek Eustace John Meaker wearing his medals.

Derek Eustace John Meaker

Service History
Medal group

The story behind the medal group



Being a not too willing participant in a shopping expedition in 1995, my wife and I ended up in a nearby market town, Atherstone in Warwickshire.  Whilst my wife went around the shops I had noticed a street market and I proceeded to lose my wife and ended up perusing the stalls.

On one of them were groups and single medals for sale, one of the groups had a sticker on it indicating that the group was to a trooper in the S.A.S.  On inspection the group that consisted of:  39/45 Star,  Africa Star (no clasp),  Italian Star,  Defence and War Medal,  General Service Medal (clasps Malaya and Arabian Peninsula) and the Campaign Service Medal (clasp Malay Peninsula).  The GSM was indeed named to 22513086 Tpr. D.E.J.Meaker S.A.S. and the CSM to 22513086 Sgt. D.E.J.Meaker R.A.O.C.

As far as I knew very few medals were named to the SAS, they I thought, were named to the Regiment or Corps from which the individual came.  This was my initial reaction to the group, then I looked again at the number 22513086.  Those of you who are more knowledgeable on this subject will realise that this was a 1954 Army number!  How then did it come to have World War 2 medals with it, had they been added to "improve" the group?  The group was mounted in the modern court style but the CSM was loose having become detached at some time.  Apart from that everything else looked correct, with these thought in mind I "haggled" with the stall holder and after agreeing a reduced price, purchased the group.

How to research the group was my next task.  I reasoned that although there was no Long Service and Good Conduct Medal with the group he may or must have served for at least twelve years, was he entitled to a pension?  A letter was duly composed and sent to the Army Pensions Office in Glasgow, a long shot, but one must start somewhere.

Meanwhile my thoughts were on the OMRS Convention in September so any more thoughts on the group were put to one side.  On returning from the convention, my daughter in law who had been looking after our dogs whilst we were away for that weekend, mentioned that there had been "a phone call from someone I was researching".  Naturally I asked who had it been?   "Someone called Deaker or something like that" replied she "don't worry, he said he would call back tomorrow." Realising to whom it was she was referring I waited with impatience for the call the following day.  The call duly came, it would appear that the Pensions Office had sent a copy of my letter to him, and he was now following up that letter.

When researching any fairly modern group, the thing you most fear is, had the group been stolen?  Yes, it had twenty years previously!  However he accepted, much to my relief that these things happen in life and at seventy-three years of age he was not particularly interested in having them back.  However he would like to see them once more, so I arranged to go and visit him and he promised to tell me his service history.