WWII medals theft forces Hastings woman into care

Walter Balderstone
Walter Balderstone

The theft of her late husband’s Second World War medals has forced a Hastings woman to go into a care home through fear.

Richard Balderstone’s mother was in respite care when her home on The Spinney was burgled at the end of September.

The thieves stole some televisions, jewellery and a passport but Walter Balderstone’s four medals for his WWII service were also taken.

This has particularly hurt the pair as they are worthless to anybody else but meant the world to them.

“I don’t mind them taking material things like TVs, you think fair enough,” he said.

“But to take something that’s worth nothing but means so much, you think, ‘what’s the world coming to?’

“They’re worthless to anybody except the sentimental value to us.

“My mum was thinking of going into a home before but this was the final straw that persuaded her to go into a home in a couple of week’s time for good.

“She’s very distressed and has a lot going at the moment and this is the last thing she needed.”

Walter earned an Africa Star and an Italy Star for his part in those campaigns, as well as the victory medals for fighting in the war generally.

He passed away in May 2014 and Mr Balderstone travels from Milton Keynes to visit his mother most weekends.

But while he was away and his mother was out of the house, the thieves took advantage of the empty home and entered through the rear.

All the family have left are the original medals’ ribbons which Walter had replaced.

Mr Balderstone said his father retired in Hastings in 1982 and this has just soured his relationship with the town.

Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious is asked to email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or phone 101, quoting serial 1150 of 30/09.

Alternatively they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers without having to leave their name on 0800 555 111.

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