Family's joy as stolen medals to be returned


The family of a First World War hero is set to be reunited with his Military Cross and four other medals stolen in a burglary 20 years ago.

Sue Packman, the granddaughter of Captain Soloman Davis, said she had thought any chance of retrieving the medals, taken from the family home in Hampstead Garden Suburb in 1996, "had died a death". It was "amazing and very exciting" to be on the brink of getting them back, she said.

Captain Davis served in the fourth battalion of the London regiment during the 1914-18 war. The inscription for his Military Cross states that "though severely wounded during an enemy counter-attack, he remained in command of his company, and it was largely owing to his courage and fine example that the position was held and consolidated".

Last year, Stephen Davis, Captain Davis's grandson, discovered that the medals had found their way to an auction house where they had been sold in 2014.

Solicitor Liam Stein, of Coyle White Devine, was commissioned to find the buyer and tracked down 72-year-old retiree Christopher Hurst, who had paid £1,400 for the medals at Ipswich auction house Lockdales.

Mr Hurst, a former antique shop owner, said that he had read the JC article in November about the hunt for the medals, and that despite their special nature, he was glad to return them to "where they should be".

"I'm quite sure they will end up with the family. I am happy to hand it over - no hard feelings. I feel very strongly that medals should always be kept in the family, where possible."

The only obstacle now is proving that the family previously owned them, but Mr Stein said he was confident the Packmans "will be able to have the medals back soon".

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