D-Day veteran GI's dog tag reunited with Detroit family
- 10 June 2014
- From the section Wales
The dog tag of an American D-Day veteran is to be reunited with his family in Detroit after lying lost in the ground in Wales for 70 years.
Barrie Jones, 52, from Swansea, began a transatlantic hunt after finding the metal identity disc in his garden.
It belonged to Thurmond Carethers, one of thousands of GIs camped in the area as they prepared to invade Europe.
Carethers's daughter Maurine said: "He did what he had to do. He was trying to get back home to marry my mother."
The decades-long tale of loss was unearthed when Mr Jones was building a wall in the garden of his home.
After scraping away the soil from the dog tag, he saw the name T. Carethers, from Detroit, Michigan.
He said: "It was just sticking out of the top of the earth and I could see straight away what it was.
"I was amazed that such an item was lying here all these years - so I set about trying to find out more to reunite it with him or his family."
Using military records and by contacting a local newspaper in Detroit, Mr Jones found Thurmond Carethers' daughter, Maurine Carethers-Tate, 57.
She revealed that her father never knew where he had lost his dog tags, only that they had gone missing during his training to storm the beaches of Normandy.
She said: "I asked him a long time ago. I said: 'Daddy, where your dog tags?' and he said: 'I don't know'."
Military records show Carethers was just 20 when he signed up days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941.
Thousands of American soldiers were camped around Swansea and the Gower during World War Two as they prepared to invade occupied Europe in 1944.
American GIs lived in the area for months as they trained for the D-Day landings, which marked their 70th anniversary last week.
Ms Carethers-Tate, one of Mr Carethers three surviving daughters, said her father revealed very little about his traumatic war experience to his family.
But she said as he got older he described D-Day and his wartime experiences as a "point in his life he really wanted to forget".
After the war, Mr Carethers returned to Michigan and married his sweetheart Blanche Maurine.
Ms Carethers-Tate said she will pass the tag on to her son Terreance Tate, 25.
She said: "My son has never seen his grandfather. All he knows is the picture. He looks just like him."