Charles Brown, a 93-year-old veteran of the Dunkirk evacuation and the Normandy invasion, was on an Association of Dunkirk Little Ships cruise on the Thames last Sunday. The medals fell from his pocket as he boarded a riverboat in Kingston.
Divers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institute began searching the river bottom Saturday morning, six days after the medals were lost. the BBC reported. Jean-Pierre Trenque, who led the search, said that visibility was surprisingly good on the river bottom -- about 1 1/2 feet -- and the medals were discovered quickly near where they had fallen.
"I do get a bit emotional because these medals meant so much to me," Brown said. "I wasn't a celebrity, a pop singer or a cricketer, these medals were what I was proud of."
The set included an Order of the British Empire medal and Dunkirk and Normandy campaign ribbons.