Thieves Strike Twice
Published on 7 August 2019
WW2 veteran, 106, 'angry' as precious medals stolen in burglary again!
An elderley soldier who went into the garden to water his roses, walked back in to find his precious war medals had been stolen.
The theft at old soldier Leslie Stelfox's home in Milton Regis has shocked the local community.
Distressingly, it is the second time that he has been burgled in just five years!
In 2014, thieves took the same medals and a number of other belongings including a watch and cash.
Detectives were able to reunite Leslie with his medals two months later and three men – who all lived in Milton Regis – were subsequently jailed, but now they have been stolen again.
The thief also snatched medals awarded to Leslie's father in WW1.
Leslie saw action across Europe in WW2 and also served with the legendary Desert Rats against Rommel's troops in North Africa.
His gallantry included saving a comrade's life by shooting an advancing Nazi trooper and he said the burglars are “a disgrace” in a country so many fought and died for.
He said: “It is not what I fought for in the war – I simply don't understand why anybody would want to take something so personal.
"Things like this show it is not England anymore. It's not the same as when I was growing up."
He served under Field Marshal Bernard “Monty” Montgomery with the 7th Armoured Division at the 1942 battle of El Alamein.
Despite his great age, he is still remarkably active and had been pottering about in his garden, watering his plants, when the rat sneaked in.
He phoned the police when he discovered the break-in, which happened sometime between 1pm and 3pm on Saturday.
The widower, who served with the Cheshire Regiment, said "It was very quick. I was in the garden doing my watering.
"I didn't see anyone. When I came back in, I saw the mess."
The medals taken were: General Service for Palestine 1938, the 1945 Star, General Service 1936-1938, Italian Star 1939-1945, North Africa Star, 1939-1945 and General Service 1939-1945.
Some of the medals have his war service number on the back – 4124264.
Leslie's wallet, with about £45 inside, was also taken and cases holding his army records, passport and birth certificate were smashed, although the documents were not touched.
The brave old soldier, who has lived in his home for more than 30 years, said he did not yet know if more belongings had been taken.
"This is another kick in the teeth," he continued.
"The medals are no good to anybody else, but they proved I'd done my bit for the country."
He confessed: "I am angry. You can understand people taking money and what not, but they could have left the medals.
"I'd like to get them back. They're earmarked for my grandchildren."
Leslie's friend Richard Stew said: "It's just so awful his medals have been taken again in just a few years.
"They aren't really worth anything but it's the sentimental value of them – it's like losing your wedding ring."
PC Hannah Cooper said: "We are very keen to speak to anyone who might have information about who is responsible for this offence, which has deprived the victim of some items of sentimental value."
Anyone with information should call 01795419119, quoting 46/150616/19, or to remain anonymous Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Credit: Daily Star 7th Aug 2019