It was a simple search at a field near an anti-aircraft battery, which led to the discovery of more than 14,000 dog tags by Dan Mackay. He believed it was from soldiers who fought and served the country in World War II and especially during the Normandy landings.
What became a discovery now has led the relic hunter on a mission to bring the tags to the families of the fallen soldiers. He has so far given the nameplates to eight families and called on a national appeal for more Brits to step their feet forward and claim the tags of their lost family members.
Mackay told The Telegraph, "The excitement was almost unbearable, it was as if someone had lifted the lid on a treasure chest full of silver coins." He mentioned that it was a duty to send back the dog tags to the families. "I will travel nationwide if that's what it takes," he said.
Because they are made from a corrosion-resistant metal, dog tags remained with soldiers' corpses, especially when battle conditions worsen, and their lives were at stake. However, it may be possible that some of them were separated from the soldiers who lost it from the war.
And with luck, he found through the Forces War Records, Frederick Henry Bills, a veteran from the war. Bills was still alive, and Mackay was able to connect to him through his family.
Mackay tried asking help for several military organizations like the British Legion and some historians and magazines but was turned down. With much press coverage now from various sites, he hopes that families will indeed come forward for the military tags of their loved ones.
Travel and Leisure noted that dog tags in Western Europe are not common to discover. But just last month, a fourteen-year-old Daniel Kristiansen from Denmark stumbled on a WWII airplane.