Medals awarded to one of Britain’s greatest military heroes are still missing after being stolen from the Redoubt Fortress and Military Museum in Eastbourne.
The group of 12 given to Sir John Hackett
were among artefacts taken on July 3, and the local council and the
Queen's Royal Irish Hussars Museum Collection, based at the
Redoubt, have jointly offered a £2000 reward to recover them and
convict those responsible.
In 1941 Sir John (1910-97) had earned the MC
in the Syrian campaign, and was wounded. Service in the Western
Desert brought him the DSO (and another wound).
He raised the 4th Parachute Brigade, which
he commanded in Italy and North Africa and then led in the
ill-fated Market Garden operation.
At Arnhem he was severely injured by a shell
splinter after fighting alongside his men in hand-to-hand combat. A
South African surgeon saved his life and he escaped, hidden for a
while by a Dutch family who risked their lives.
Post-war service included commanding the
20th Armoured Brigade and the post of General Officer
Commanding-in-chief of Northern Ireland. In 1945 he was given a bar
to his DSO and further awards included an MBE and CBE, KCB and
Jonathan Seaman, museum officer at
Eastbourne Borough Council, said: "The loss of General Hackett's
medal group really does feel like the desecration of a great war
"This was a person who went above and beyond
the call of duty on numerous occasions during the Second World War,
including being seriously wounded and captured at Arnhem as part of
Operation Market Garden, only to escape while still swathed in
bandages to rejoin the war effort later."
A Russian bugle from the scene of the Charge
of the Light Brigade was also taken.
The Eastbourne theft is the latest in a long
line of museum break-ins during the past six