New war medals sent to fulfil hero’s wish

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A WAR hero will get his wish to be buried with his medals after replacements were issued for ones stolen by callous thieves.

As we reported in the Spalding Guardian on Thursday, former RAF officer Peter Hillman had said it was his “fervent” wish for the Burma Star and other medals he earned in the Second World War to go to the grave with him.

But it appeared the 89-year-old’s dream had been dashed by burglars who broke into the Holbeach home he had shared with wife Gwen and stole them and other sentimental objects.

However, the couple’s nephew John Gisbey wrote to the Ministry of Defence detailing the tragic story, and new medals have now been sent out to Mr Hillman.

Mr Gisbey said: “They are obviously not the original ones because they have never been recovered, but they are Peter’s medals and he is happy to have them so he can be buried with them.”

Mr Hillman has lived at Nutten Stoven nursing home in Holbeach for a while, but Gwen was unable to face returning home after the burglary and now lives with her husband there.

But her health has suffered as a result of the incident and she was taken into hospital last Thursday.

Mr Gisbey said: “The trauma of what has happened has had a serious effect on Gwen’s health.

“It has been a terrible time for both of them.”

But veterans’ charity fundraiser Harold Payne hopes he can bring a bit of light back into the couple’s lives.

After hearing Mr and Mrs Hillman’s story, Mr Payne, owner of the Anglia Motel, Fleet, offered to make a donation from his Anglia Heroes and Veterans Fund to buy something to make their lives more comfortable.

Mr Gisbey said: “They both really get a lot of enjoyment out of sitting in the conservatory at Nutten Stoven, so they would really like a bird feeding station so they could sit and watch the birds.

“We are very grateful to Mr Payne.”