Bank investigates missing medals

ONE of the country's top banks yesterday launched an urgent investigation into the disappearance of valuable wartime medals that are missing from their safe in Aldeburgh.

By Richard Smith

ONE of the country's top banks yesterdaylaunched an urgent investigation into the disappearance of valuable wartime medals that are missing from their safe in Aldeburgh.

Barclays was spurred into action after it was criticised at a meeting of Aldeburgh town council on Monday night.

The two George medals are still missing after an inquiry that has involved the town council and the police for several months.

Barclays, who have been entrusted with valuable items on behalf of the town council, have also been involved in meetings about the missing medals.

A bank spokeswoman said yesterday: “We have searched the safe today and we could not find anything.

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“We have carried out a thorough investigation and there will be a meeting between our area director and representatives from the town council to go through everything.”

The medals were discovered missing before Easter when John Digby was mayor. Cllr Digby told town councillors: ''I went to Barclays in Aldeburgh and said I wanted to go through our safe box.

“They brought it out and all they had in it was the chalice cup, presented when we became a council rather than a borough.

“Then I spoke to the museum and they said were the medals not there and I said this was all there was in the box. The chalice is now in our safe.”

He said the brown envelope containing the medals was signed in at the bank but it was not signed out.

Lindsay Lee, town clerk, said she had had three meetings with the bank and she had asked for information on all the items that went in and out of the safe box over the years.

The brown envelope was signed in, in 1994, but it had never been signed out. ''I put it to the bank that it should still be there in the safety deposit box, but they are quite adamant that there is nothing in there,” said Ms Lee.

Copies of the medals are on show in Aldeburgh Museum at the Moot Hall. Dorothy Clarke, a housewife, became the first woman to receive the George Medal in 1941.

She received the honour for her bravery when driving an ambulance through a minefield to help injured and dying soldiers at nearby Thorpeness.

The other medal was awarded to first-aid attendant Bessie Knight-Hepburn, from Aldeburgh.

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