It is the second time in four years Pamela and Ian Hollings’ home has been turned inside out by burglars, who also took the couple’s birth and marriage certificates and Ian’s will.
The war-time heirlooms belonged to Ian’s uncle Private William Craven Hollings, who served in the 32nd Australian Infantry Battalion and was killed in action aged 23 in France on July 19, 1916.
Pamela said their home alarm system failed to trigger when thieves threw a brick through their bedroom window on Friday, July 5, while the couple were out.
‘It is so traumatic to come home when you’ve been working and find your home ransacked,’ she said.
The Hollings’ single consolation is their only picture of William, which was also stolen, was photocopied by the Belmont Museum recently when the couple donated the medallion and medals for an Anzac exhibit.
Ian said all his neighbours had been broken into at some point but it was distressing that thieves were stealing sentimental family treasures.
‘My dad looked up to (William) big time and the only knowledge I have of him is what my father told me ” he was a great man,’ Ian said.
Pamela said while they knew there was almost no chance the heirlooms would be returned, she urged people to be vigilant about where they kept their precious belongings at home.
‘Find a secure place to put them ” not just a cupboard someone can open,’ Pamela said.
‘But when things have been in the same place for 20, 30 or 40 years, you just don’t think about it.’