Vet's family plead for return of medals

By Peter de Graaf

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Paihia war veteran Mike Joyce at the Anzac Day service in Kawakawa, with his grandson Asher Carswell-Joyce and the medals stolen on Monday night. Photo / Supplied
Paihia war veteran Mike Joyce at the Anzac Day service in Kawakawa, with his grandson Asher Carswell-Joyce and the medals stolen on Monday night. Photo / Supplied

The family of a Far North war veteran is appealing for the return of his stolen medals.

Thieves broke into Mike Joyce's Paihia home while he was away on Monday night, making off with seven medals awarded for service in Borneo, Malaya and Vietnam, as well as the New Zealand Operational Service Medal.

Both the full-size medals and "mini-medals", designed to be worn on formal occasions, were taken along with the blazer they were pinned to. The blazer is black with a RNZIR monogram on the pocket.

Becky Joyce of Whangarei said her father had served in the army from 1965-78 and had only recently received the last of his medals.

"He wears them on Anzac Day and his grandchildren would have worn them in future, so now our kids won't get to wear them. We just want them returned."

She said her father was proud of his medals and his service in different conflicts, and the family was proud of him.

Paihia police Sergeant Peter Masters said a Freeview player, DVD player and food were also taken in the Puketona Rd break-in, but at least they could be replaced. Stealing a veteran's medals was "pretty low," he said.

Mr Masters said even if replacement medals were issued they were never the same.

"Those who have been in the military, or with family members who have medals, will know what I mean and will realise how proud their owners are of them."

The Puketona Rd burglary was one of at least two in the area on Monday night, with a home in Opua also targeted.

Call Paihia police on (09) 402 7130 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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