Lost in Alicante: Brit appeals for WW1 tag of fallen grandfather

A British holidaymaker who lost his grandfather’s world war tags while travelling through Alicante airport has made a desperate appeal for their return.

Lost in Alicante: Brit appeals for WW1 tag of fallen grandfather
The tag lost belonged to Slaughter's grandfather who was killed in WW1.

Paul Slaughter was returning to the UK after a holiday in southern Spain when he removed his necklace to go through security at Alicante airport on Friday, May 25th.

He was queuing up to board when he realised that it had fallen from his neck.

“I attached it after clearing security but did not properly clasp it together and it must have just slipped down onto the floor,” he told The Local.

The necklace was very precious, although not in monetary terms, because hanging from the chain was an irreplaceable heirloom: the identity tag of his grandfather who was killed on August 8th 1918 in the Battle of Amiens.

The story of his grandfather is a tragic one.

He emigrated from Norfolk to Canada in search of work in 1912 and as a 19-year-old was among the first to sign up at the start of WW1. After being gassed, he was sent to back to the UK to recover and it was there that he fell in love and married.

He was sent back to the frontline and never met his son who was born in 1917 because he was killed in the one of the last German offensives of the war when he led his platoon over the top at Amiens.

READ ALSO: Benidorm diver finds ring lost 37 years ago… and returns it

“The ID was worn on the wrist in those days and was snapped in two, to prevent anyone else using it,” explains Slaughter. “I inherited it some 40 years ago, had it spliced back and have worn it ever since.”  

“The tag measures 1.5 x 1 inch and is engraved with his name, JWW Slaughter, 5th Canadian Batt, his number. He crossed out Sgt and wrote Lt after he was commissioned in the field by the Commander-in-Chief Earl Haig.”

“It means a great deal and is irreplaceable,” said Slaughter.  “It is especially significant because it is the 100th anniversary of the ending of WW1 this year and in two months will be the 100th anniversary of his death.”

This is a sample of the type of tag lost:

Slaughter, who is a former GB International parachutist and represented Great Britain in World and European Championships, also had a St Christopher medallion, a gold cricketer and a parachute attached to the necklace.

A photo of Paul Slaughter in his parachuting days.

“I know this is a long shot, but one never knows,” he said.

He hopes that by sharing the story, someone who may have found the necklace might be moved to return it. 

Send an email with any information as to its whereabouts to [email protected]



The miracle of Audrey – The English teacher brought back from the dead in Spain

Just over a month ago, Audrey Mash was, for all intents and purposes, dead. And for six hours she had no heartbeat.

The miracle of Audrey - The English teacher brought back from the dead in Spain
Audrey Mash alongside one of members of her rescue team. Photo: Vall d'Hebron

But on Thursday her case was presented at a hospital in Barcelona as a survival story that could change the way hypothermia is treated.

The 34-year-old Briton had been on a trip to Vall de Núria in the Catalan Pyrenees with her husband Rohan Schoeman to celebrate their sixth anniversary and the pair had set off early from a mountain hut for a day hiking in the snow.

But the couple, who mived to Barcelona in 2017, were caught in a snowstorm and as temperatures plummeted they lost their way and sheltered from the wind and the cold crouching in the lee side of a rock.

For several hours the pair clung to each other for warmth waiting for the weather to clear, but Audrey’s body temperature dropped and she started behaving strangely.

“She started talking nonsense,” her husband recounted to La Vanguardia newspaper. “Then she stopped talking altogether and just made grunts, and then she stopped moving and slipped into unconsciousness.

“Her eyes sort of rolled back and she breathed what seemed to be her last breath,” he said. “I look for a pulse but I found nothing, no sign of life.”

Rohan had already raised the alarm, sending friends’ pictures of their location, and at 3.40pm on the afternoon of November 3rd, a rescue team finally reached them.

But by now, Audrey was turning blue and her body temperature had dropped to 18C and she had entered cardio-respiratory arrest.

Many may have given up hope and given her up for dead but thanks to quick thinking by the rescuers who believed that there might still be a possibility of survival, if they could only get her to the hospital and to the right team, she was airlifted to hospital and arrived at the Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona shortly before 6pm.

Eduard Argudo, an intensive care doctor specializing in hypothermia had just finished a 24 hours shift at the hospital that morning but immediately rushed to meet the helicopter as it arrived.

“I saw a young woman in cardiac arrest and no sign of life. She was pale and blue, with a body temperature of 20.2C. The only good thing is that she was so cold because everything else looked very bad indeed,” the doctor told a press conference at the hospital on Thursday.

She had no vital signs, her heart was showing no electrical activity and her kidneys and lungs were not functioning. In most cases, the story would have ended there.

But not at the Valle d’ Hebron. The patient was immediately placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine which oxygenates the blood and gradually warms it to increase body temperature while the heart remains stopped.

“We didn't know if it would work but it was the only option,” says Argudo. “Although we knew there was a risk of neurological damage”.

When she warmed to 30C the doctors tried to defibrillate and get the heart beating on its own. It finally started to beat autonomously at 9.46pm.

On Thursday a smiling Audrey Mash sat beside her husband surrounded by the dozens of people who were involved in her rescue.


(In the picture above you can see Audrey on the far left next to her husband and the bearded Dr Eduard Argudo).

Her doctor said part of the reason she survived was due to the hypothermia.

“The hypothermia killed her but also saved her at the same time. With the cold, the body's metabolism slows down, the organs need less blood and less oxygen and that helps protect the brain,” he explained.

“She was able to recover because the brain cooled rapidly and its need for oxygen was reduced before cardiac arrest,” he explained, adding that it helped that she was a fit young woman who regularly runs marathons. 

“When cardiac arrest first occurs and then cooling, as usually occurs in avalanche victims, the prognosis is very bad. But when it is hypothermia that causes cardiac arrest, as in the case of Audrey, we must try to save the victims because survival without serious consequences is possible. ”

Audrey said she has made a full recovery, apart from a numbness in her fingers.

“I didn’t realize that my life was in danger until I woke up in hospital,” Audrey told the press on Thursday.  

“The medical attention has been fantastic.”

“I feel so incredibly grateful to be alive, to all the doctors, medics, rescue teams who went above and beyond their duty to save me. I'm incredibly lucky,” she said.