‘I hope these crooks have a conscience’ - precious medals and 80-year-old woman’s engagement ring grabbed in Hitchin

John Edwards with photographs of his Father and Grandfather

John Edwards with photographs of his Father and Grandfather - Credit: Archant

The elderly victim of a Hitchin burglary has bravely spoken out in an attempt to retrieve ‘irreplaceable medals’ won by his father and grandfather serving Queen and country.

The medals taken included the British War Medal, the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Victory Medal from the First World War.

Also included in the haul was a medal for service in the Boer War – as well as the German Iron Cross from the First World War.

John Edwards, 78, from Latchmore Close, said: “I feel gutted about have these priceless medals stolen. Absolutely gutted.

“We had a television taken – which can be replaced with money – but what can’t be replaced is the personal effects such as these medals and my wife’s engagement ring.

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“She’s 80 and is wheelchair bound.

“She’s extremely distressed by losing these items which are very special to us – as am I.

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“This theft shows a callousness beyond belief. The medals were won by my father in the First World War, and by my grandfather in the Boer War.

“They were modest heroes – their generation didn’t go around boasting of their achievements but they showed true bravery, as did all of the men who served in wars for the British Army.

“My grandfather may have been at Rorke’s Drift but he simply didn’t talk about it.

“He was a hero to me, and so was my father who served in France on the Somme in 1915. He came home wounded, convalesced and returned to serve in Northern Italy.

“As for the German Iron Cross, well, I asked my father when I was a lad how he came to have it in his possession.

“He patted my head and said to me simply: ‘Son, it was a souvenir of war’.

“I hope whoever did this, or someone who knows them, has some sort of conscience and can return these irreplaceable items. We are heartbroken.”

Det Con Kate Raine of the North Herts Local Crime Unit said: “The sentimental value of these items cannot be underestimated.

“This has left the victim extremely distressed.”

Anyone with information about the burglary can call DC Raine on police non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference G1/15/153. Alternatively ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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