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Heartless theives steal war medals from 100-year-old RAF hero

A 100-year-old Polish RAF war hero has been robbed of his WWII medals after heartless thieves tricked their way into his home.

Jan Stangryciuk came to Britain in 1940 to volunteer as a gunner in the RAF.

In 1942 he was severely injured when his Wellington Bomber crashed.

He suffered burns to his face trying vainly to free the pilot from the blazing fuselage.


Mr Stangryciuk, a gunner, was the only survivor.

The three thieves tricked their way into the hero’s home in Ealing, west London – claiming they were from the water board.

Two of them distracted a confused Mr Stangryciuk and his wife while the third went through drawers and cupboards.

Irreplaceable jewellery and thousands of pounds in cash were stolen.

The money was to make a trip to Poland to see family for the first time in two years since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also among the hoard were Mr Stangryciuk’s war medals.

He was left shaken and upset by the ordeal.

Mrs Jadwiqa Stangryciuk said:

“Jan didn’t realise what was going on. We were both completely confused.

“The whole thing lasted maybe 10 minutes.

“It wasn’t until a couple of hours later that we realised what had actually happened.

“I was in such nerves that I didn’t know what to do.”

Family friend George Byczynski has set up the GoFundMe page to help the couple.

He said:

“We all owe a debt of gratitude to Jan and others like him who risked and gave so much during the war.

“It is enormously sad that in his 100th year he has been targeted like this.

“But while this ordeal has been awful, the response from the public has been tremendous.

“He and his wife had been saving up to make a visit to Poland and people from both the Polish and British communities have rallied round to hopefully make that possible.

“It shows that communities come together when they need to.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the police were to a property in Elizabeth Gardens, Ealing after reports of a burglary.

The spokesman added:

“Officers attended and spoke to the victims, who are an elderly couple.

“Inquiries suggest a man knocked on the door claiming to be from the water company before entering the property.

“Another two men followed him.

“It was only when the group had left that the occupants discovered cash, jewellery and war medals had been stolen.”



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