A heartless thief snatched a box of precious and irreplaceable war medals and sentimental keepsakes from the vehicle of a RAF veteran who attended the funeral of a colleague. The gentleman was merely yards away when the crime took place. Thieves take a wooden box which contained campaign medals and memorabilia from the Second World War, from Syd Cooper’s car while he attended a funeral at Stockport Cemetery.
Former sergeant, Syd Cooper, 92, was an RAF engineer who flew numerous dangerous missions over Germany was a member of the Bomber Command 427 Squadron during the Second World War. He flew bombers from Halifax out of RAF Lemming located in north Yorkshire. When the funeral service ended, Cooper returned to his vehicle and noticed the handcrafted cigar box which contained his most precious war-time keepsakes had been stolen from the back seat.
The box had been covered by an overcoat, but when he went to the car to retrieve the overcoat for a fellow mourner, it was gone. The box contained three “copies” of service medals which Syd was awarded: a 1939-1940 Star; an Air Crew Europe Star; and a Defense Medal. Luckily, he was wearing the original medals. A fourth medal was given to Cooper as a gift from the family of an RAF colleague who passed away last year, was also in the box and stolen.
The medal was a thank you gift from the US for providing air coverage or the Normandy landing at Omaha Beach.
Syd planned to donate the medal to a museum.
The box also contained letters, photographs, and even the wings he wore on his service uniform.
Both Syd and his son, Andy, expressed their outrage to the Manchester Evening News that someone would steal from a car whose occupants were clearly attending the funeral, merely 20 yards away. The gentlemen weren’t concerned about monetary value of the items stolen, they were much more upset because of the sentimental value the items had to the family.