DEVASTATED Michael Collins has made a heartfelt plea for the return of his father’s war medals after they were stolen from his home by a man who claimed to be buying silver and gold.
The two silver medals were passed down to Mr Collins, 58, of The Crossways, Gosport, by his father Fredrick William Collins.
Mr Collins served in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Antelope as chief stoker during the Second World War.
The bogus caller claimed to know the history of some of the medals in Mr Collins’ large collection, passed down to him by his father and grandfather, who had served in the army in the First World War.
Mr Collins sold two of his grandfather’s medals to the man, as he did not know his grandfather and needed the cash.
But Mr Collins made it clear to the suspect that two of his father’s medals, a long service medal, which had a picture of King George V on it, and a medal with a picture of a ship on it, were not for sale.
Before he left, he distracted Mr Collins by telling him that another set of his father’s medals had the wrong ribbons on. He then took the cherished medals with him as Mr Collins looked at the ribbons.
Mr Collins said: ‘My mum said these have got to go to the firstborn son. I’m gutted – I try not to think about it.
‘It’s one of those things I’ve got to get over. It’d be like winning the lottery to get them back; if I won the lottery I’d put it up as a reward.
‘I’ve only got one photo of him when I got married and he didn’t look the same as he was as he had Alzheimer’s.
‘I can remember years ago sitting down and he’d tell me about the medals and the different stories.’
He now desperately wants the medals back and has told traders in Gosport and Fareham about his story in the hope they will come across them.
He spent yesterday at an auction in Christchurch, hoping to find them.
‘My son was going to make a box for them to go on the wall and do it all for me,’ he said.
‘I wish I’d never even opened the door to him, I’d already sold some to him, so why did he have to pinch those?’
The thief was white, in his late 40s to early 50s, around 5ft 6in and of a stocky to overweight build. He had a ruddy complexion with dark blond hair.
He wore a red sports jacket and beige trousers and-round rimmed glasses.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.