IT has come home after 70 years.
The cap badge of a soldier killed in 1944 has been donated to the Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum by the son he never knew.
David Hope-Daly was born three months after his father was killed serving with the then Hampshire Regiment in Holland in October 1944.
Mr Hope-Daly said he was pleased that the Royal Hampshire Regiment was accepting the simple Bakelite badge.
He told the Daily Echo: “I’m delighted and honoured to have been asked to give this to the regiment. My father was part of the battalion and I thought its resting place should be here.”
Mr Hope-Daly, 69, a theatrical agent from London, added: “It’s fascinating, I have found out so much about my father. I didn’t know anything about him. I’m intending to go to Arnhem for a reunion.”
Lt Alex Hope, 28, was killed running over a dyke in Operation Market Garden, part of the offensive that saw the Parachute Regiment drop at Arnhem. Lt Hope was serving with the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment and had been posted to 7th Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment.
He was buried in the field but its location was lost that winter. It lay undiscovered before building work revealed it in 1984. He was interred at Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery.
The Dutch Army offered the badge to Graham Francis, a former member of the regiment, who contacted the museum which in turn tracked down Mr Hope-Daly.
In a brief presentation at the museum at Serle’s House in Winchester, Mr Francis handed it to Mr Hope-Daly who passed it to Brigadier Tim Glass, as chairman of the trustees of the Royal Hampshire Regiment Trust.
Also at the presentation was Henry Leach, who served on the campaign aged 19 and was injured two days after Lt Hope’s death.
Mr Leach, 88, of Yardley Road, Hedge End, said: “The badge on its own does not mean a thing, they are ten a penny. It is the story of what happened to the soldier that wore it – that means something.”
Major Ian Taylor, a trustee of the Royal Hampshire Regiment Trust, said: “The badge is the symbol of the regiment. It has now come home.”