Dan Mackay, a 37-year-old so-called "relic hunter" from Britain, recently discovered more than 14,000 dog tags from World War II buried in a field next to an anti-aircraft battery near London.

He told the Telegraph the tags were found near a factory where they were once manufactured, and they belonged to military medal winners, prisoners of war and soldiers who had been written about in military journals.

“The excitement was almost unbearable, it was as if someone had lifted the lid on a treasure chest full of silver coins,” he said.

Mackay is now trying to return the tags to relatives of the men, who served in nearly every regiment of the British Army. Some of the men even fought and died in the Normandy landings. He has reunited eight of the tags with soldiers' families and has launched a nationwide campaign to find information on the rest.

"It's starting to feel like a full-time job — and certainly not one that normal people do. But now we're desperate to return the dog-tags we've found and I will travel nationwide, if that's what it takes," he told The Telegraph.

Mackay reportedly has met some resistance from the British Legion and various historic groups during his attempts to find records of the men, but he told the Telegraph he had some success through an online military community called War Forces Records, which connected him with a surviving veteran.

You can hear more about Mackay's project in the video below:

Angela Nelson ( @bostonangela ) is an exhausted mom of two young daughters and two old cats, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning digital editor with more than 15 years of experience delivering news and information to audiences worldwide.