Who is the unknown soldier?

DECORATED SOLDIERS: Two uniforms which were given to a Chorley fancy dress shop are on display at Astley Hall
DECORATED SOLDIERS: Two uniforms which were given to a Chorley fancy dress shop are on display at Astley Hall
Share this article

A fancy dress shop owner could not believe her eyes when a war veteran donated his Second World War uniforms complete with military decorations.

Brenda Morris runs Giggles, on St George’s Street, in Chorley, and hires out all sorts of outfits from can-can girls to cowboys.

She says she was stunned when an elderly gentleman popped in to say he wanted to hand over his own two uniforms to her collection rather than throw them in the bin.

However, when she examined the Royal Artillery Lancashire Regiment uniforms she realised they had their original decorations on and now an appeal has gone out for the mystery man to come forward.

“He said he was having a clear out and wondered if I could make use of them,” she said.

“I thought it was really sad, but he said he didn’t have any reason to keep them and was going to throw them in the tip if I didn’t want them.

“I didn’t want that to happen, so I took them off him, but I didn’t think it would be appropriate to hire them out to people.

“They deserve more respect than that.”

She donated the uniforms to Astley Hall in Astley Park.

“I thought that would be an ideal home for them,” Brenda said.

“I do have some servicemen’s outfits in storage in the shop, but they’re more recent than these two.

“I even have one which a man said he traded for 200 cigarettes when the Berlin Wall was being taken down, so I’m no stranger to people bringing this type of thing in. I was just shocked that this man wanted to throw them out. It was very unexpected.”

The veteran did nt give his name and now Chorley Council wants to track him down and invite him to the 90th anniversary celebrations of the Royal British Legion at Astley Park in May.

Ann Schwarz, who works as a museum assistant at Astley Hall, said: “We’re planning on putting the uniforms on display in the coach house in the summer, because we’re setting up a war memorial room for the 90th anniversary.

“I’m glad we’re able to put them in an appropriate place and we’d love to invite the gentlemen who owned them to come and see them in the exhibition.”

One clue is the name Baxter, which has been stamped on the inside of one of the jackets.

According to the label, one of the uniforms was made at Chorley’s Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) in 1950.

The sergeant battlefield dress has a defence and war ribbon on it from the Second World War.

The other, which was made by B Bloom Ltd in 1955, has sergeant’s stripes and badges on, and includes a cap, shirt, tie and pants.

They are both a size seven, with a height of 5ft 7inch, a 35-inch breast and a 30-inch waist.

If you have any information about the man who donated the items to Giggles, please call Kay Taylor on 01257 264911.

Astley Hall re-opens for the Summer season on April 16.

Do you know the identity of the owner? Call 01257 264911.