Can you help? Ex-serviceman devastated after medals stolen from East Grinstead home
Police are appealing for help after an ex-serviceman had his medals stolen from his East Grinstead home on Tuesday (June 8).
Mid Sussex Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Darren Taylor said Adam Hole had sent his medals away to have them mounted.
They were delivered back to him via courier at 12.20pm on Tuesday, said Inspector Taylor, but the parcel was stolen from his address in Lingfield Road.
Adam, 41, said he was ‘in pieces’ when he realised the medals had been taken and said he is desperate to get them back.
He said the medals are not worth any money but are sentimentally valuable to him.
“I’d only just got all of my medals together so I sent them off to a company to get them mounted,” said Adam.
He added that the ‘court mounting’ technique attaches all the medals to a piece of black felted card to keep them neatly together.
“My father served in the army as well and every year he wears his medals to the remembrance parade in East Grinstead and we’ve had that my whole life,” Adam said, adding that he wanted to make his father proud.
“I’m sure whoever took the medals wouldn’t have stolen them if they knew what the parcel was,” said Adam.
“If anyone had told their friends that they’d done that I think they would be disgusted with them,” he added.
Adam, who lives with his fiancé and is now a health and safety advisor for a construction firm, was a sapper in the Corps of Royal Engineers and served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afgahnistan.
“We did everything from bridge building to mine clearance and we helped build a school in Afghanistan,” he said.
Adam joined the army in 1996 and left in 2005, after eight and a half years of service.
The first medal he got was a blue and white NATO medal when he was in Bosnia, he said.
The second medal was for his time in Kosovo over the New Year of 1999-2000, and he earned a non-article 5 medal there as well.
“It was when we were pulling out of Kosovo,” said Adam, adding that ‘non-article 5’ means a non-wartime situation but one that still involves active service.
“We were driving all our military vehicles back through the mountains though Thessaloniki, Greece, and then back to the UK,” he said.
Adam also has a Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal, which he said is gold with a blue ribbon and is slightly smaller than the others.
But he said the medal he is most proud of is his Afghanistan general service medal.
“It’s called an Afghanistan class,” he said, adding that he was sent straight to Afghanistan after 9/11 happened.
The medal, Adam said, has a bar on it that says Afghanistan and that a serviceman would only get that class if they had been there in a wartime situation.
The medal also has Adam’s name on the back (Hole) with his rank (SPR) and his army number.
“I’d just sent off and got that one,” said Adam, who had left the army before the ceremony but had recently applied for his medals with help from the British Legion.
The Afghanistan medal is the one that means the most to him too.
“When we were in Afghanistan, it was quite bad,” he said, adding that people were getting shot for learning.
But six months later, Adam said they had dramatically improved the situation and he had helped build a couple of schools.
“You had a thousand children queuing up each day to go to a school that could fit 500, and that opens your mind,” said Adam.
“Things like that make you realise how lucky and privileged we are in this country, so that’s what I’m most proud of.”
Inspector Darren Taylor said: “Speaking to the gentleman, these medals mean everything to him.
“If anybody’s got half a heart and knows who stole them and we can get them returned to him it will be amazing,” he said.
The medals would now be mounted together with a black felt backing and a large attachment pin on the back.
People can call 101 or contact police online at www.sussex.police.uk, using reference CAD 1450.