Hampstead war hero’s family spot Military Cross for sale on internet 20 years after callous burglary

John Davis wearing replicas of his and his father's medals at the AJEX parade in 2001

John Davis wearing replicas of his and his father's medals at the AJEX parade in 2001 - Credit: Archant

The family of a British war hero whose medals were allegedly stolen by a callous burglar have spoken of their amazement after spotting them by chance in an auction catalogue some 20 years later.

The medals won by Soloman Davis

The medals won by Soloman Davis - Credit: Archant

Captain Soloman Davis, a highly decorated infantryman from Hampstead, was awarded the Military Cross for “gallantry and devotion to duty” while leading an attack in the First World War in 1917.

Though severely wounded during an enemy counter attack, his senior commanding officers said it was largely owing to his “courage and fine example” that the position was held.

Cpt Davis, who lived in Heath Drive, passed his Military Cross and four other war medals to his son, John, on his death.

But about 20 years ago, a heartless burglar raided John’s family home in the Hampstead Garden Suburb, taking with them the medals.

Soloman Davis with wife Iris

Soloman Davis with wife Iris - Credit: Archant

John, who replicated his father’s military service in the Second World War as a spitfire pilot, also had his own war medals taken in the raid in Ruskin Close.

Sue Packman, John’s daughter, said: “My parents were totally devastated when they realised they’d been stolen. My grandfather would never speak about his time in the war, so the medals were an important memory. My father was so upset by their loss that he had replicas made.”

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For decades, the family thought they would never see the original medals again. But in a remarkable turn of events another grandchild of Cpt Davis, Stephen Davis, spotted them for sale on the internet last week while researching a school trip his daughter was taking to Normandy.

The family, who called Barnet police, now face an uphill battle in getting the medals returned.

They were sold last year valued at £1,000. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by the auction house, Lockdales, who told the Ham&High: “If the police contact us we are more than happy to help their enquiries.”

The police said the issue was a “civil matter” and suggested they may be unable to investigate.

A police spokesman said: “Officers are working with the auction house in question to identify who the items were sold on to and to see whether an offence has occurred prior to them being sold on.”