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Runcorn war hero, 92, has home ransacked by heartless yobs
A 92-YEAR-OLD war hero was devastated to discover his Runcorn home ransacked when he returned from celebrating his daughter’s 70th birthday.
Retired Royal Naval seaman Jim Duckworth found his personal belongings strewn all over the floor as his blazer laden with war medals hung on his wardrobe door.
Heartless yobs wrenched a padlock off his gate and smashed his locked living room window to break in.
A trail of destruction filled every room of his Murdishaw home as cupboards, drawers and boxes were tipped out.
Great grandad Jim, who survived a German torpedo attack on HMS Charybdis, is compiling his memoirs and all his papers and pictures were tossed on the floor.
Heartbroken Jim, who served on countless warships, said: “With a tear in my eyes, my thoughts go back to 1937 when I joined the Royal Navy as a boy of 16, a strong and happy youth wanting to be a sailor.
“Along the way I have seen many ships sunk with sailors reaching for life.
“My own ship HMS Charybdis sunk in night action with German topedo boats in October 1943 with a loss of nearly 500 crew. Only about 12 of us survived. I see them every day of my life.
“Whoever broke into my house should have stopped and looked at my pictures and thought: ‘Did these men give their lives so that I may do this? Whoever you are your grandfather may have been there too.”
Jim, who has eight grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren, is still actively involved in the Royal Naval Association after serving as a former chairman. He is a life vice president of the Runcorn branch.
He was made an honorary citizen of Valetta for his courage, fortitude and perseverance saving Malta during Operation Pedestal in 1942.
His incensed daughter, Sheila said: “It sickens me. These burglars don’t care about people like my dad who fought for us to have our freedom.
“It looks as though they were rifling through all his possessions searching for cash. My dad doesn’t keep any money in the house. All they got was a broken camera and equipment for his i-pod.
“They threw all his things all over the floor. I am absolutley gutted.
“I cleaned everything up and put fresh bedding on.
“My dad is great for his age. He sends e-mails and uses the computer. It’s a terrible feeling to think that someone has invaded his privacy.”
She had accompanied her dad for a family celebration to visit her sister, Isobel who lives in Fuertaventura.
DI Gareth Lee who is leading the hunt for the burglars said: “We will use all the resources we have to investigate this burglary.
“The social, physicial and emotional consequences of these crimes is massive.
“Burglars are the most selfish of offenders. Their motive for offending is to fund their addiction or misuse of drugs or because they want something and can’t afford it.”
He said November was historically the busiest month for burglaries but Operation Empirical, a special taskforce, had significantly reduced break-ins across Halton to 18.
DI Lee added: “I would appeal to people who know the offenders to test their own conscience. That little bit of information they have could be the missing piece from our jigsaw. “ Anyone with information can call Cheshire Police on 101.
Courageous war hero Jim Duckworth
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