Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 08:48
Ron Sanders, from Llanmorlais, who found American dog tags while using his metal detector in Scurlage
UK - When Ron Sanders heard a beep in his ear while carrying out his hobby in a field near Scurlage he had no idea he was about to find a link with two families more than 3,000 miles away.
The 62-year-old uncovered two dog tags which turned out to belong to a couple of American soldier who were stationed in the area during the Second World War.
Their unit was based in Gower in 1941 ahead of its role in the D-Day landings which were to liberate Europe and pave the way to ending the war.
Swansea Metal Detecting Club member Mr Sanders, who had permission from the landowner, said: "I knew this particular field was a World War Two American Army Camp in the weeks leading up to D-Day.
"On previous visits I found US Army buttons and badges, however on this occasion I found two US Army dog tags, one in the name of David Ochoa and the other in the name of Carl Price."
Describing the moment he made the discovery he said: "It was a feeling of amazement that they were still in the ground after the American troops left all those years ago.
"It would appear that if they lost their tags then they would get a new set, but it is still puzzling how they came to lose them, perhaps they were playing football and they fell off."
Not content to sit back on his discovery Mr Sanders turned detective.
He said: "I thought that it would be nice if the families of these brave American servicemen could be traced in the hope of returning them as family keepsakes. So our club secretary, David Hughes, started inquiries on my behalf.
"He contacted Eric Mitchell, of Virginia Historical Preservation Society, asking if they could assist with the research.
"Mr Mitchell put it out to his club members and an excellent response was received from members willing to help."
The transatlantic search paid off and the descendants of GIs Price and Ochoa were eventually located living in West Virginia and New Mexico respectively.
Mr Sanders has now returned their dog tags, along with a letter saying: "It is thanks to men like your father that we enjoy our freedom today and I take immense pleasure in being able to return his identity tag to you.
"I am only sorry that it is in the condition it is, but considering it has been buried in the ground for 68 years, it's not too bad."
Courtesy This is South Wales
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