Battle of the MoD archive defeats conqueror of the Nazis

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The Independent Online
A SCOTTISH D-Day veteran has had his hopes of a French medal commemorating the 50th anniversary dashed because of an asbestos scare at a Ministry of Defence archive, writes Andrew Gliniecki.

Stewart Goldie, 68, a retired chauffeur, of Falkirk, Stirlingshire, wrote to the MoD asking for written confirmation that he had taken part in the Battle of Normandy in 1944. The French authorities in Caen responsible for awarding the medal had told him that his army pay-book and discharge papers were not sufficient proof.

The MoD wrote back to Mr Goldie saying that the archive in Hayes, Middlesex, which houses the names of all the D-Day troops, was closed so that dangerous asbestos could be removed from the ventilation system.

An MoD spokesman said the archive reopened at the end of February after being closed for a year. There was now an enormous backlog of work to be ploughed through.

Mr Goldie, a signaller who waded ashore with his unit on 8 June 1944 and took part in fighting near Caen, cannot now get proof in time. The French need the information by


Mr Goldie said: 'It looks as though the asbestos problem the Ministry of Defence wrote to me about has beaten us when the Wehrmacht couldn't'

Despite the setback, he plans to take his wife, Isobel, to France for the D-Day celebrations.