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Tenacious’ police officer reunites woman with her late husband’s WW2 war medals

 Published on: 14th November 2014   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

A widow from Hertfordshire was reunited with her late husband’s war medals in time for Remembrance Day this year after a persevering police officer recovered them following a burglary five years ago. Police Constable Bill Braisher was assigned to investigate a burglary which occurred in the Three Rivers area during May 2009. Amongst the items stolen during the burglary were five medals awarded to the victim’s late husband for his service in the Navy during World War II. At the time of the burglary, Bill took it upon himself to contact the Ministry of Defence to enquire about getting a replica Distinguished Service Medal made with her husband’s service number and name engraved on it, as it was on the original. The medal had to be specially minted by the Royal Mint and Bill presented it to her a short time after the burglary. Knowing the sentimental and historical value of the medals, Bill would periodically revisit the crime to look for new leads. In October Bill reviewed the crime again and he made investigations to see if the items had been offered for sale on any online auction sites. Trawling eBay, Bill noticed that medals matching the description of the ones stolen had been advertised for sale in 2013. Bill made enquires with eBay and was able to identify and speak to the man who had attempted to sell them. Bill said: “I spoke with the man, who was a keen collector of war memorabilia, and found out that he had bought them from a second hand shop in Pinner just after the burglary in 2009. Having had them in his possession for a couple of years he had decided to sell them on. At the time of carrying out the investigation I notified a number of specialist publications and gave them details of the medals, including his service number. Whilst the items were up for sale on eBay someone who had seen the article contacted the seller to say that they had been stolen. He was shocked to know that they were stolen property so he handed them in to his local police station in Harrow and I’d thank him for his actions. “Sadly the Metropolitan Police were unable to trace the rightful owner and they had been left in their property stores at the station for the past 18 months. “I will often review my crimes to see if there are any new leads and in this case I was even keener to keep reviewing it because I know how precious these medals were to her. “It was a very emotional moment handing the medals back to the victim. She thought she would never see the medals again and she was thrilled to have them returned. “It’s also particularly poignant that they were recovered now because of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and both Remembrance and Armistice Day commemorations. “Sadly we were never able to arrest the offender responsible for this crime and I would urge anyone who knows who was responsible to please contact me.” The lady said: “It is most despicable that someone could steal a sailor’s medals. It is only through Bill’s sheer tenacity that they have been returned and I thank Bill for what he has done.”  

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