Theft of medal honouring bravery is stolen from Portsmouth museum


Cross-county thief facing six and a half years in jail

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THIEVES have stolen an irreplaceable George Medal.

An Olympic souvenir badge from the 1936 Games was also taken from the D-Day Museum, in Clarence Esplanade, Southsea.

The medal had been awarded to William Henry Daysh – who was the first man in Portsmouth to be given the honour.

The museum’s development officer Andrew Whitmarsh said: ‘It (the medal) was in a locked display case, but someone managed to force their way in and steal it.

‘And actually we are very upset about this.

‘It’s not just something of individual interest, but it’s something of great interest to the country and to the city.

‘So this was the first Portsmouth person awarded this really, special medal, it’s been with us for a number of years and over those years, literally several hundred thousand people have seen it and enjoyed it.’

The medal was created by King George VI in September 1940 as a way of rewarding and recognising acts of courage by many civilians during the Blitz.

Mr Daysh displayed an act of courage in September 1940, after he went inside a burning building to try and rescue a colleague from their place on work at the Air Raid Precautions.

Both men were rescued from the building, which was set on fire by bombing, by the fire service.

The medals were last seen during the inventory check on Saturday, October 1, they were noticed as missing on Monday.

Councillor Lee Hunt, cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: ‘This is a truly despicable act. These items were lent to us in good faith from their owners and we were proud to be able to display them to visitors.

‘It is ironic that the George Medal, issued for acts of great bravery, was stolen by someone who clearly couldn’t be further from that description.

‘The medal tells an important part of the story of Portsmouth, and Portsmouth people during the Second World War.

‘These artefacts are valuable not just in cost, but in their historic value.

‘They both tell fascinating stories, and tens of thousands of visitors have enjoyed seeing them while they have been on display at the D-Day Museum over the past few years.’

Anyone with information is asked to contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101, or the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111, quoting crime reference number 44110420080.