A WAR hero and his wife have been left heartbroken by thieves who stole his only link to his military past. (104115-1)
Former Royal Marine Chaz Clegg, and his wife Joan, returned to their home in Purbrook to find it ransacked and their safe, containing military discharge documents, ripped from the wall.
They were the only documents Mr Clegg, 92, had to show for his 18 years in service, which included four years away from home in Crete and Egypt during the Second World War.
Mr Clegg and his wife, also 92, will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Boxing Day but it will be tinged with sadness as their marriage certificate was also taken.
Mr Clegg, of Shillinglee, said: 'I've never pretended to be a tough marine but I have been through one or two scrapes in my time and I've been wounded and all sorts of things.
'But when my wife opened the door and we came in to see all that, it shocked me. I could not even speak.
'I had done everything I could. Everything was locked away in the safe so they just took the whole thing off the wall. We can't go round hiding everything. We couldn't believe it had happened.'
The couple have lived in the bungalow for 50 years and have always felt safe in their home until now.
The thieves searched through the property, emptying drawers and cupboards and tipping furniture over in the hunt for valuables. They took two purses containing just under 200 and all the bank documents, wills, life insurance and premium bonds that were in the safe alongside the military service documents.
Mrs Clegg said: 'I've found it really awful. Everything was in such a mess. Our family have been a great support, although they don't live here. And the police have been marvellous. But it is a terrible experience to go through.'
The back door, used by the thieves to gain entry, is being replaced by the couple's insurance company.
Detective Constable James Rudge, from Waterlooville CID, said: 'The military records stolen were discharge papers, which are of great sentimental value to the owners.
'They would very much like them returned as quickly as possible.
'I would appeal to those responsible for this crime to think long and hard about what they have done, and return these items. They have no value to anyone other than this couple. The same goes for premium bonds taken during the burglary.'
Anyone with information about the incident, which took place on December 7 between 12.15pm and 1.30pm, should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.