A nation-wide appeal has been launched to find medals stolen from a Mollymook deceased estate.
When cleaning our her parent’s home, Wendy Austin realised her father’s and grandfather’s service medals were missing.
Her grandfather, Irwin Hoskisson Blackman had three service medals after serving during World War 1, and her father, Barry Blackman had six medals for his service in World War 2.
Having only missed one Anzac Day since he returned from war, Mrs Austin said her father, who died in July 2017, always kept his medals close.
“The last Anzac Day was the first one he ever missed and I know he had them then because he had his gear laid out ready for the march, but decided he couldn’t go only on the morning of,” Mrs Austin said.
“He went up to visit Mum in the nursing home, and he fell over walking out the door and broke his hip and that is how it all started. Mum never recovered and died soon after in the October.
“Cleaning up the house is something we put off so it wouldn’t have been until late October that we started cleaning the home.”
Sometime between Barry’s death and October 2017, the medals were stolen from his Mollymook home.
“We did Dad’s room first and we didn’t find them and thought maybe they were in the lounge room, or somewhere safe,” Mrs Austin said.
“We worked through the house, then went to the garage because we thought maybe he put them out there where he spent a lot of time.
“We have completely cleaned the home. Everything has been gone through, every single thing.”
Mrs Austin said she wanted the medals returned because they meant “a lot” to her.
“I have never missed and Anzac march, I used to take Dad every year. Even when he lived in Sydney; he hasn’t missed one since he came back from the war,” she said.
“It means a lot to me and I want them back. I have gone online to apply for a replica set but it is a two to six month wait.
“To whoever has them, I would say ‘return them! Drop them into the police station’.”
Ulladulla Police Sergeant Sean Phillips is investigating the theft and said he had contacted an organisation which tracks down lost, stolen and unclaimed medals.
“I have spoken to an organisation run here in Australia that tracks down military and ex serviceman medals, not only stolen but lost and never applied for,” he said.
“The person that runs that is going to add the medals’ serial numbers into a data base that reaches out to medals collectors throughout the world, so If anyone comes across them, they will be returned.
“I am hoping they will be returned to the rightful owners because it is a filthy act. It is un-Australian.”
Mr Phillips said criminal action would be taken if police found the person/s responsible for taking the medals if they are not returned as requested.
“The sentimental value of the service ribbons and medals is becoming more important within the Australian culture and, as a result, they are held with a lot of respect and love by families,” he said.
“If we find it by our own means, there will be criminal action taken. It is a filthy, despicable act that may result in a prison sentence if convicted. It is the lowest of the low.”
Anyone with information about the stolen medals is urged to contact Ulladulla Police on 4454 8599, or post them to the station at 73 Princes Hwy, Ulladulla NSW 2539.
The stolen regimental numbers of the stolen medals are the following;
Irwin Hoskisson Blackman’s regimental number is 4122
Barry Blackman’s regimental number NX194276