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Burnham Royal British Legion member accused of lying about military past

Accusations that a Burnham man is fraudulently claiming to be a Northern Ireland and Falklands veteran are the work of ‘malicious Facebook trolls’, he has said.

Nick MacDonald, 63, a member of Burnham Royal British Legion, has defended himself after an online vigilante group claimed he has never seen military service.

Mr MacDonald said he joined the Royal Highland Fusiliers in the early Seventies before joining  the Royal Military Police (RMP) in a 30-year career that saw action in the Falklands and Northern Ireland. He said he received the Military Medal for bravery for his involvement in Northern Ireland.

However, the Walter Mitty Hunters Club, an online group of current and former military personnel who work to expose bogus veterans, said records of medal recipients are detailed in the London Gazette, an official journal of public record, and there are no records matching Mr MacDonald’s description.

The group added none of its members remember serving with Mr MacDonald.

Mr MacDonald said he suspects he has become the victim of right-wing groups after being quite vocal online and because of his work in the community, especially with Muslim groups.

He added: “It all began a few weeks ago when a guy in one of these groups started having a go at me; then about a week later all this stuff started coming out.”

John Davis, 58, a warrant officer regimental sergeant major in the Royal Signals for more than 30 years, was the first to raise his concerns with the Walter Mitty group.

He said: “We just got chatting about his military career in a Facebook group called ‘Ex-British Veterans’ and it became evident to me he was lying. The RMP community is so small someone would

recognise him. It’s like being in an exclusive club. I speak to my comrades every day.”

A statement published on the Burnham Royal British Legion Facebook page described the allegations against Mr MacDonald as ‘quite sickening, depraved and totally untrue’.

Mr MacDonald provided a photograph to be used with this article and asked: “If I wasn’t in the military would I have staged this photograph?”

He also explained the reason the group cannot find his mili-tary record is because of a ‘trauma’ in his family that led him to change his name.

Mr MacDonald showed the Advertiser a hard copy of his change of name deed and a record under his previous name can be found on the London Gazette website.

However, the Advertiser has been unable to check the legitimacy of the document as the law firm that signed it appears to no longer exist.

A member of the Walter Mitty group described that as ‘a typical excuse used’.

A Royal British Legion spokeswoman confirmed that no documents are needed to become a member and it is ‘conducting a review into the concerns raised in this instance’.

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