York & North Yorkshire

WW1 soldier's missing medals back at York Army Museum

James Edwin White Image copyright York Army Museum
Image caption The medals were for service in the Boer War and World War One.

A set of war medals has finally been returned 38 years after it is believed they were stolen from a museum.

Company Sgt Maj James Edwin White won them during almost two decades of service, including in both world wars.

York Army Museum only realised they had gone missing when Mr White's granddaughter spotted them for sale online last year.

Police traced the medals to a collector who has now donated them to the museum, after buying them for nearly £2,000.

They had been originally donated by Mr White's family to the museum in 1980.

Pauline Latter, his granddaughter, said she had been "totally shocked and it was a horrible feeling" when she spotted the medals but she was now "ecstatic".

Her grandfather, from London, who had served in the East Yorkshire Regiment died in 1965.

Image copyright York Army Museum
Image caption The medals went missing from the museum, possibly during a theft in 1980

"He never talked about the First World War it was just too awful to speak about", she said.

However, after seeing his medals online, she said "I thought 'It's God's hand, I am going to find them'."

Wing Cdr Alan Bartlett, the museum curator, said Mrs Latter contacted him last November but the medals could not be found in the collection.

They were then reported missing to North Yorkshire Police.

Mr Bartlett said there had been a theft from the museum shortly after they were donated but the medals were not listed among the items stolen.

Police traced them through fairs and auctions to a medal collector in Essex, who had bought them in "good faith", said the museum.

He has now donated the medals as his grandfather and great uncle had served in the same regiment.

The medals are the Queen's and King's South Africa medals (Boer War), British War medal, Allied Victory medal and Distinguished Conduct medal (World War One) and a Civil Defence medal (World War Two).

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