Theft of military items sours Remembrance

Car Pennant
Car Pennant

A VETERAN soldier’s special journey of remembrance was soured by mindless thieves who stole a precious item of military regalia while he took his wife to hospital.

Cliff Newsom commissioned a hand embroidered car pennant, a chrome mast and a chauffeur’s hat to be made for a remembrance service in Kyrenia, Cyprus, where he served in the British army half a century ago.

While taking his 76-year-old disabled wife from their Burgh-le-Marsh home to Boston Pilgrim Hospital last Tuesday, heartless thieves stole the items from his car, leaving him empty handed for the poignant return to his former military station just three days later.

He said: “I’m not going to allow it to get me upset because the vast majority of people are honest and upstanding, it’s just a shame that some people have to spoil it for the rest.”

Although he was without the special ceremonial items, Cliff and his former comrade John Mayne were still able to enjoy their first return to Cyprus since their stationing there between 1955 and 1958.

After receiving a special invite from the local Royal British Legion branch, Cliff was asked to lay a wreath on the memorial and John to read the ode.

Along with thousands of other soldiers across the world they also paid fitting tributes to comrades who died in the line of duty and remembered the special bond that soldiers develop during their service.

Cliff explained: “With individuals who have served in the tri-services, there’s a camaraderie that you never experience during civilian life - you fight together, sleep together and die together. When we went to war, we were conscripted so we had no option, but the people who go today are volunteers - that really is something.”

Although Cliff was able to overlook the disrespectful criminal act that deprived him of his ceremonial items for the emotional return journey, his daughter-in-law was not so forgiving.

Tracy Turner said: “Some dirty, rotten, lowlife scum obviously took advantage.

“Whilst material things can be replaced the upset it has caused both my parents is not something so easily fixed” she added.