New twist in search for medals

POLICE officers investigating the disappearance of George Medals, awarded for wartime feats of bravery, now believe that the historic honours could have been missing for several years.

By Richard Smith

POLICE officers investigating the disappearance of George Medals, awarded for wartime feats of bravery, now believe that the historic honours could have been missing for several years.

Suffolk police are continuing to make inquiries into the missing medals which were the responsibility of Aldeburgh Town Council.

Officers are working through a list of people to interview to try to find out where the medals have been kept in recent years.


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Graham Underwood, the police sector commander for the Leiston area, told Aldeburgh council that the medals had not been seen for several years.

Suffolk police had previously stated that it did not believe that the medals had been stolen.

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One line of inquiry being pursued is that the medals were mislaid when they were copied, with the copies being placed on show in Aldeburgh Museum at the Moot Hall.

However, the disappearance of the medals has incensed a relative of Dorothy Clarke. A housewife from Aldeburgh, she 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.

Her great-niece Jane Edwards only learnt about the missing medal when she read an article in the East Anglian Daily Times.

Mrs Edwards has now complained to the town council about the loss and urged it to find the medal as soon as possible.

Mrs Edwards, of Prentice Street, Lavenham, wrote: ''I was so upset to hear about the loss of my great aunt Mrs Dorothy Clarke's George Medal which was bequeathed to the Moot Hall museum, so that it could be seen by all visiting Aldeburgh and be part of your history.

''My sister and I visited the Moot Hall last year and were assured by the lady on duty that the originals were safe and sound.

''I would like to say how angry I feel at the somewhat casual attitude of the council at their loss and hope they will soon be found.''

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

The town council is cooperating with police officers in looking for the medals and has expressed disappointment that they have been lost.

But it declines to comment further publicly while the investigation is ongoing.

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