The staff of the Staffordshire Regiment are celebrating the return of medals stolen 41 years ago. The medals were on loan from the Staffordshire Regiment museum and were taken by thieves in 1974 from the now closed Lichfield City Museum. The criminals smashed a display case and made off with 43 medals. Museum staff figured they would never see the medals again.
The medals, loaned to the museum, included several from an overseas campaign to which soldiers from the Staffordshire Regiment were deployed, including the Peninsular War between 1808-1814, the Indian Mutiny and the Boer War, right through to the Great War and the Afghanistan North West Frontier Campaign of 1919. Decorations included the Distinguished Service Order, Distinguished Conduct Medal, the Military Medal and the British Empire Medal.
The medals were spotted for sale by the regiment museum's research team at a militaria show. The return of the medals were secured shortly after. A Museum staff member said, "The Staffordshire Regiment Museum has been delighted to welcome back 25 medals which were stolen from its collection more than 41 years ago. In 1974, as part of the museum's campaign to promote the history of the Staffordshire Regiment, 43 medals were sent to the Lichfield City Museum.”
It was an unexpected surprise when the museum's research team spotted some of the medals available for purchase at a recent militaria show. After working closely with the vendor and some of the new owners, the return of 25 medals was then negotiated.
The search goes on for the remaining missing 18 medals with the hope that one day they may be found and returned to the museum, based at Whittington Barracks.