When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
War medals stolen from charity fundraiser at Bournemouth Air Festival
12:00pm Wednesday 4th September 2013 in News
Simon Meerza with photos of his father Neil and his father’s miniature medals, similar to the full size ones that were stolen
A CHARITY fundraiser had his father’s precious war medals stolen at the end of four days at the Bournemouth Air Festival.
Simon Meerza, 66, left his possessions unattended for minutes on Sunday while he helped another charity supporter.
While his back was turned, someone rifled through bags at the Royal Naval Association stand and stole a bag containing the Burma Star, Atlantic Star, 1939-45 Star and Victory Medal.
Mr Meerza’s father Neil joined the Royal Navy in 1941, leaving a reserved occupation as an inspector of food on ships.
He spent much of the war on torpedo boats, ending up as flotilla coxswain in charge of seven vessels.
He died in 1996, aged 85, but Simon often wears his medals for his work with the Royal Naval Association.
Simon said: “He only used to wear them on Remembrance Sunday but I started wearing them because when I joined the Royal Naval Association, they said: ‘Do you have your dad’s medals? We expect you to wear them.’”
He said the medals could be replaced but the originals had sentimental value.
He believes the thief could only raise around £50 from their sale.
“Last night I had to go around and explain it to the family and it was a very sad occasion,” he added.
Simon, 66, from Anchor Road in Bear Cross, had been manning the RNA stall when he went to help a fellow fundraiser from the Royal Marine Charity pack up on Sunday at around 5.20pm.
While he was doing so, a colleague from the RNA spotted a man rifling through bags. When challenged, he said he was looking for something and left.
Simon later discovered he was missing a black Gap bag containing the medals and some flasks of rum – one of them bearing the RNA crest – as well as paperwork and his bus pass.
Simon had been due to wear the medals at several events, including a Battle of Britain service on September 15 and at a collection for the RNLI in Christchurch High Street on September 21.
“If you don’t have a medal on, you tend to get walked past, but if you’ve got a row of medals on, even if they’re your father’s, people will put money in the box,” he said.
Comments are closed on this article.