A RETURNED serviceman has expressed his gratitude to a stranger after having his father's World War II medals returned.
The Bendigo man was wearing his own service medals and those belonging to his late father when he marched at Kangaroo Flat on Anzac Day.
But his father's medals fell off towards the end of the morning ceremony.
It was the second time the medals had fallen off, with the rack also getting lost in Gallipoli some years ago.
Fortunately on that occasion they were recovered quickly, as the returned servicemen felt the medals fall at his feet.
The gentleman, who would like to remain anonymous, was this week relieved to again have his father's medals in his possession.
"I just want to say a big thank you - from a son, an only son, who is very thankful for the fact they were returned,'' he said.
The medals were found on bitumen in View Street, Kangaroo Flat, by Michael Rohde.
Mr Rohde, also a returned serviceman, saw what he thought was a threepenny bit in loose gravel on the edge of the bitumen - but upon further inspection, realised the items laying face down were miniature war medals.
One medal in particular struck him as unusual because it was an efficiency medal with an India clasp, which Mr Rohde later discovered was a UK issued medal.
Mr Rohde took the medals to the Bendigo police station in the hope they would be returned to their owner.
"I know how important these things are to the people who have been awarded them,'' he said.
"I thought because they were WWII medals they were likely held by a family member.''
Bendigo police then phoned the Kangaroo Flat RSL, which had received a report of missing medals.
The medals were returned to their owner on Monday.
"I'm just delighted they have found the owner,'' Mr Rohde said.
Acting Sergeant Mark Bell said police officers "were happy to be of service and that the medals were returned to their rightful owner''.