Sgt: ‘I thought it was an April Fool’s Day joke!’

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A former Chorley soldier has solved the mystery of military uniforms being given into a fancy dress shop.

Last week, the Guardian reported how staff at Giggles on St Georges Street were stunned when an elderly man wanted to add to their collection of military regalia rather than throw them in the bin.

Frederick Baxter of Wallett Drive got in touch with the newspaper to say he handed the two uniforms into the shop.

He said: “One of my friends contacted us to say did we know anything about the uniforms that were in the newspaper.

“I was shocked I thought it was a April Fool’s Day joke at first but I could not believe the uniform was in the newspaper.

“In the article it mentioned that it was a World War Two uniform but it could not have been because it was made in 1950.

“I was having a clear out and was walking down Pall Mall when I saw Giggles had some uniforms in the window.

“I asked them if they could take it and I have got no more use for the uniforms as I finished with them when I left the army.

“When I handed it in I thought that would be end of it just like most people who drop things off to a charity shop rather than putting it in the bin.

“I cannot remember wearing it but I think I must have had it when I was working as an instructor at the Territorial Army unit on Devonshire Road.”

Mr Baxter joined the Royal Artillery in 1948 and had a distinguished 24-year career including three tours to Germany.

The 83-year-old also had a trip to Gibraltar between 1950 and 1953 and he picked up the Long Service and Good Service medal and Defence medal for the Home Guard.

Staff Sgt Baxter retired from the army in 1969 and later worked at British Leyland Motor as a labourer and foreman.

He said: “The army was a great way of life and my family really enjoyed it.”

Mr Baxter added that he was delighted that two uniforms - one was made in the Royal Ordnance Factory - would be kept on display at Astley Hall.

Last week, Chorley Council want to get in touch with the owner to invite him to the 90th anniversary of the British Legion.

Mr Baxter said: “It is great that the uniform is staying in Chorley.

“I would like to go to the anniversary but I struggle to walk very far as old age is starting to catch up with me.”