The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 50, December 13, 2009, Article 20


Stick to displaying your medal collections at home or at numismatic conventions. Parading around with medals on your chest can get you in trouble. Here's a story that developed this week in England. -Editor

A man who marched at a Remembrance Day parade with an impossible array of medals was named last night as carpenter Roger Day, 61. Neighbours said the keen amateur actor was once thrown out of his local pub in a row over an SAS badge he was wearing. Mr Day denied he was a conman and said the 17 medals - including top bravery awards - were 'pukka'.

But medals expert Martin Harrison said: 'He would be world-famous - and some sort of Rambo character - if he had been awarded them all.' A drive to identify the mystery medal man was launched after he was pictured marching alongside brave servicemen at the November 11 parade in Bedworth, Warwickshire.

Roger Day's Impossible Medals Roger Day's Medals Listed

Mr Day was tracked down to his home in Earl Shilton, near Hinckley, Leicestershire, where it emerged that he is a regular churchgoer who sings in the choir.

Mr Day, who wore a beige SAS beret at the parade, insisted his medals were genuine, but said the Official Secrets Act stopped him giving details. He said: 'They're all proper, pukka campaign medals. Medals I won in conflicts while I was serving with the British forces. All I can say is South Atlantic the Gulf, Kuwait and one or two other stations.'

The medals included the Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross - the highest bravery awards after the Victoria Cross - campaign awards from Korea and the Falklands, medals for both officers and other ranks and foreign decorations.

Mr Harrison, a squadron leader with the RAF Volunteer Reserve and liaison officer at the Bedworth Armistice Day Parade committee, said: 'It is a ridiculous, ludicrous combination of medals which is unheard of.'

Hinckley Ex-Servicemen's Club has launched an investigation. Secretary Paul Savage said: 'If he has been wearing medals he is not entitled to he will be facing a £1,000 fine and he will be thrown out of the club. 'Most members consider it disgusting for someone to wear medals that do not belong to them. It makes a mockery of everything.'

The article was updated on Friday - here's the latest. -Editor

A carpenter who marched in a Remembrance Day parade wearing an 'impossible collection' of military medals has been arrested on suspicion of deception.

military experts said no single serviceman could have been awarded all the medals - some of which were from the Korean War, which ended when Mr Day was still in primary school.

Yesterday it emerged Mr Day had been arrested on suspicion of 'wearing military medals without authority as to be calculated to deceive'. A Warwickshire Police spokesman said Mr Day was arrested under section 197 of the Army Act 1955, which makes wearing decorations without authority a criminal offence, after attending a police station for a pre-arranged appointment.

OK, Rambo, get yourself out of THIS fix. But first, us yanks need to learn what "pukka" means.


A slang-term used in British English to describe something as "first class" or "absolutely genuine". That DVD is no "bootleg". It's pukka.

The derivation of the term appears in

"Pukka" tends to evoke the height of 18th- and 19th-century British imperialism in India, and, indeed, it was first used in English at the 1775 trial of Maha Rajah Nundocomar, who was accused of forgery and tried by a British court in Bengal. The word is borrowed from Hindi and Urdu "pakkā," which means "solid." The English speakers who borrowed it applied the "sound and reliable" sense of "solid" and thus the word came to mean "genuine." As the British Raj waned, "pukka" was occasionally appended to "sahib" (an Anglo-Indian word for a European of some social or official status). That expression is sometimes used as a compliment for an elegant and refined gentleman, but it can also imply that someone is overbearing and pretentious.

Hmmm - "overbearing and pretentious"? Sounds like a good description of someone wearing an impossible array of medals on their chest. As for "pukka", one never knows when a vocabulary word will come in handy. Years ago in my single days, I went to a movie with John Burns, now a numismatic literature dealer. We saw "Educating Rita" and at one point in the film, John and I were the only people in the audience laughing at one of Michael Caine's lines. Apparently we were the only people present who knew what a "wanker" was. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Medals are pukka...but I'm sworn to silence on how I won them, says the parade 'fraud' (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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