World War II veteran’s medals stolen from Darwin home
Captain C.J. Elcoate served in the British Army in Italy and North Africa during World War II (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)
‘Virtually irreplaceable’: Police investigating ‘tragic’ spate of war memorabilia thefts
Bob Elcoate just wants his dad’s war medals returned.
Six World War II medals awarded to British Captain C.J. Elcoate, including the Military Cross for gallantry, were allegedly stolen in broad daylight from Mr Elcoate’s Nightcliff home in Darwin’s northern suburbs on November 26.
“I feel very bad about it and I want to try to do everything I can to recover the medals somehow,” he said.
“I feel very guilty for losing them — what my father did to gain the medals — and then I just lose them.
“You don’t realise the sentimental value until you lose them.”
War medals belonging to Bob Elcoate’s father C.J. were stolen from his property while he was out fishing (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)
Mr Elcoate, 67, had just come back from a day of fishing when he realised the medals were gone — as well as a laptop, binoculars, barometer, watch, foreign currency and, oddly, six pairs of socks.
“They were pretty new, they were clean, I washed them,” a quizzical Mr Elcoate explained.
“Whoever did it must have thought that they needed some socks. Maybe they thought they were in a supermarket and could take whatever they needed?”
Six medals mounted on a pin, campaign medals and a Military Cross awarded for gallantry were among the items stolen (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)
The alleged thief also drank from a water bottle in the fridge and left it behind, potentially providing police with a trace of DNA.
Mr Elcoate’s late father served in the British Army in Italy and North Africa during World War II when he received the highly distinguished decoration of the Military Cross, which included a letter signed by King George VI.
“He led a company of men under fire. Lost a few lives but ultimately saved a lot,” Mr Elcoate said.
“Every soldier in the war was risking their life but he took a big risk and got away with it.”
A signed letter from Buckingham Palace thanking Captain C.J. Elcoate for his service (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)
Mr Elcoate is offering a reward for information on the whereabouts of the medals.
“I doubt whether the people or persons who took everything in the house have got any conscience at all,” he said.
“But somebody who knows where the medals are, they might have a conscience and perhaps they could anonymously phone CrimeStoppers.”
Police would like anyone with information to contact them urgently on 131 444 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.