Hero reunited with bravery award; INCREDIBLE Bronze figure spotted in shop 30 years after it was nicked.
Byline: David Campbell
A Northern Ireland veteran was shocked to spot the bronze statue awarded to him for bravery sitting in a Glasgow antique shop - 30 years after it was stolen.
Graham Yuill, from Paisley's west end, was given the 10 inch soldier by the Commander of the Ulster Defence Regiment, Brigadier General David Edwin Miller, after acting as his personal bodyguard for two years at the height of the Troubles.
SAS trained Graham, who was codenamed G6, was awarded the figure in 1980 after foiling an IRA assassination attempt on his boss as he attended a funeral for a murdered UDR reservist.
However, the sentimental item disappeared when he moved house in 1987 - only to resurface now.
Graham, now a security consultant, told the Paisley Daily Express: "In July 1987, the military soldier was stolen while being transported by a removal company when I was moving house.
"I was outraged and deeply saddened, as you can imagine, by the loss of such a sentimental item.
"However, on Saturday afternoon, 30 years later, I wandered into an antique shop in Glasgow's west end and saw, to my amazement, a military soldier which looked exactly the same as the one that was stolen, proudly displayed in a cabinet.
"I asked the owner if I could see it.
"The figure was holding a distinctive military issue 7.62 SLR.
It was on sale for PS55."
The former elite soldier protected one of the men most wanted by the IRA, Brigadier General David Edwin Miller, said to have been behind only the Queen and Margaret Thatcher on the terror group's kill list.
He can hardly believe the statue, which stands on a wooden block, has finally turned up. And Graham is convinced it is the one that belonged to him, thanks to some unique and rather clever markings.
He added: "The bronze matching name plate of me and the Commander's details, which he inscribed, had been removed, but the two tiny holes attaching the plate were still visible.
"After further checking with a jeweller's eyepiece, I found the two unique marks that the Commander had purposely made for recognition purposes behind the bronze plate at the front of the soldier.
"Only we were aware of them. They were still there, as well as a tiny rodent, with a bushy tail, surreptitiously engraved within the wood."
And the story doesn't end there. "I bought the item from the antique shop owner and asked him where he had got it from.
"I was amazed when he replied, France."
Younger days Graham served with the Royal Military Police
Delighted Graham Yuill was amazed to see the figure after 30 years
Back where it belongs Graham has been reunited with the military soldier statue