25 September 2019
A collection of rare Burma medals were stolen from an attendee last year but the theft has only now come to light.
The theft occurred at the September 2018 OMRS convention in Nottingham, where John Wright exhibited a collection of medals from the Burma Campaign. This is what happened, in John’s own words: ‘I was discharged from Gloucester Royal Hospital, on Friday the 16th, being cured of sepsis and despite being asked not to attend the convention I decided to do so as there were many friends from overseas I had not seen for a number of years who were attending. Also I was displaying my collection of WWII gallantry medals awarded to Burmese citizens who served in the military in the Burma Campaign.'
'We arrived on Friday afternoon booked in and after sorting out the room car parking etc met up with friends from the USA/HK/NZ etc. Saturday morning we went to the Conference centre where the displays were being assembled (no one had any idea of the items and content of my collection until this morning) and at I think it was 10am the room was opened to OMRS members and their guests. The displays were viewed and discussed through out the day and my display was never left unattended. Whilst this was going on the judges were going round and deciding which displays would be awarded OMRS Medals. I was awarded a gold medal for the display and was delighted with it and the comments/interest from many members of the society and their guests who visited my display.’
‘At the end of the show we packed up taking all our display down and going back to the room. The medals were stored away with the medals that we were hoping to sell at the show on Sunday then got ready to attend the dinner which was terrific we had all the friends I was hoping to see on our table. After the dinner we sat in the bar area and had a good catch up but after a drink I felt dreadful, thick headed and tired, thinking it might be because I had just come out of hospital I decided to go to bed. Saying to the table I was on my way and telling Steve who works with me that I wasn't feeling very well and off I went to the room. I must have gone off to sleep straight away, I remember the light coming on in the room and thought Steve had returned and must have gone off to sleep immediately. I then had a strange dream I was grabbed from behind by very strong arms and then someone climbed on my back but then nothing till I woke the next morning. The following morning I told Steve that I had a weird and disturbing dream and I thought nothing more of it. We did the show, came back to the shop unloaded every thing and I took the bag with the Burma research and the medals to my home. They were locked away until Steve asked me to bring a Burma Gallantry Medal to the shop so he could take a photograph of the naming for his book. This was on Tuesday, 13th August 2019, then on Wednesday 14th when we opened the bag with the files in we found the medals had all gone. Panic set in and we searched the shop from top to bottom, I then went home and spent the next four days turning the house upside down and found nothing.'
'I started thinking about this dream I had had and it was not a dream it really had taken place. I had been given a spiked drink in the bar, hence the reason I felt ill. When I thought about it I did not remember anything from leaving the room where we had our drinks until I woke when the light came on in the room for that split second. I do not remember anything after the feeling of a person grabbing then climbing on my back. It has been suggested by a senior police officer that I and Steve were targeted by a professional criminal gang who had watched us leaving the show, followed us to see which room we were in then struck when they knew I was alone in the room and Steve was still in the large room where drinks and food was being served. I still feel physically sick and get so annoyed, anxious and I just can't get it out of my mind.’
The stolen medals include the following items, so be wary if you are offered any of the following:
1. Macgregor Medal awarded to 50201 Lance-Naik Sein U, 2nd Burma Rifles. In box of issue with original ribbon and 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal with MiD emblem on ribbon.
2. Order of Burma, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal awarded to Subadar-Major Hakim Ud Din, Burma Regimental Centre. The Order of Burma is gold and only 36 ever awarded.
3. Military Cross, Burma Gallantry Medal, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal and War Medal with MiD emblem on ribbon. Burma Gallantry Medal named on edge: ‘CAPT. KUMJE TAWNG WAH’
4. 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal. US Bronze Star engraved on back: ‘MARAN LU’
5. Burma Gallantry Medal, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal. BGM named: ‘61318 HAV. HPAU PAWNG NAW’, 2nd Burma Regt.
6. Burma Gallantry Medal, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal. With red box of issue for BGM. BGM named on edge: ‘Jemadar KARENG TANG’
7. 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal. US Citation for Military Assistance. The CMA is engraved on reverse: ‘L/Cpl. ZAU LAI’
8. Burma Gallantry Medal, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal. BGM named to ‘56601 NAIK DIL BAHADUR BHAJU’.
9. Burma Gallantry Medal, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal. BGM named to ‘61322 NAIK DUM GAM ZAU’.
There is a reward for the return of the medals and if you have any information, please contact Nottinghamshire Police.
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