Medal Stolen From D-DAY Museum

An irreplaceable George Medal, and an Olympic souvenir badge, have both been stolen over the weekend from Portsmouth's D-Day Museum.

The George Medal, and a souvenir badge from the 1936 Berlin Olympics, were both on loan from separate lenders.

Cllr 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 last few years."

"If anyone has any information about this crime, please contact Hampshire Constabulary."

The George Medal is awarded for "acts of great bravery", and is usually given to civilians. This 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.

The medal, on loan to the museum, was issued to William Henry Daysh, the first person in Portsmouth to be awarded the medal. He was a member of his workplace's ARP (Air Raid Precautions) team. On 12 August 1940, one of their buildings was set on fire by bombing, leaving a carpenter unconscious inside. Although Daysh himself had been wounded, he went inside the burning building to try and rescue the man, came out again to seek help, and then went back in again. He was trapped by falling debris, and both men were rescued by a fire party. He was sent a letter of congratulations by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Sir Denis Daley. The medal has local and national historical significance. More recently, a number of George Medals have been awarded to British military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The medals were last seen during the inventory check on Saturday 1 October, they were noticed as missing on Monday 3 October.

The medals were kept in a locked display case not far from the museum shop. The museum are currently reviewing their security arrangements.

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.

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