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Guilty thief returns sentimental World War One medals to Belfast family of hero killed in action

Three of the medals that were stolen (Photo: PSNI)

MEDALS of great sentimental value that belonged to a World War One veteran and were stolen during a burglary in north Belfast have been returned.

The distinctive medals were taken from John Pelan’s house on Parkmount Road between 9pm on Saturday, April 9 and 9.30am Sunday, April 10.

They were awarded to his grandfather Sapper McIntyre Shield Pelan who fought in the Battle of the Somme.

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Among the medals that were stolen were a 1914 and 1915 Star for service in France or Belgium.

A victory medal bearing an angel and the inscription “The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919” was also taken, along with a Military Medal bearing the head of King George and an inscription for bravery in the field.

The Military Medal is equivalent to the Military Cross for soldiers below commissioned rank.

The set of medals were returned undamaged on Monday evening after an emotive plea from the family.

Mr Pelan commended the thief’s decision to return them.

He said that it had restored his faith in human nature, the BBC reported.

“This September it will be 100 years since my great-uncle lost his life in the war,” he said. “These are the only relics of his past and his endeavours – this is all we have left of them.”

In addition to the medals, 30 silver dollars stamped with the American Eagle and United States of America were also stolen.


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