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Appeal to replace photos of veteran’s naval career stolen in burglary

PUBLISHED: 14:18 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:09 20 December 2017

Christopher Woollands in 1961 in the Navy aboard HMS Rocket. Picture: Christopher Woollands

Christopher Woollands in 1961 in the Navy aboard HMS Rocket. Picture: Christopher Woollands

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A veterans group is trying to replace a photo album of naval memories stolen in a burglary.

Christopher Woollands, 80, who had his naval career photo album stolen in a recent burglary from his home in Reedham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYChristopher Woollands, 80, who had his naval career photo album stolen in a recent burglary from his home in Reedham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The pictures belonged to navy pensioner Christopher Woollands and showed various ships he served on during his career.

His home in Station Road, Reedham was broken into between 10am on Saturday, November 4 and 11am on Sunday, November 6.

A police appeal was launched, but so far the album, which included photos of the nuclear weapons test in 1957 on Christmas Island, in the Pacific Ocean, has not been returned.

MORE: Burglars target poppy seller stealing photos of his naval career

Now, the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (BNTVA) is asking veterans that were on those ships if they have any spare photos of the ships Mr Woollands served on, or if they could make copies for him, to try and replace those which were stolen.

A trustee for the atomic veteran’s charity’s Eric Barton said: “We’d like to give him back some of his fond memories.”

Mr Woollands, who is also a poppy seller, said he could not understand what someone would want with his personal photos of himself and ships he served on.

He added: “They were all photos that meant something to me.

“I don’t feel violated by the break in, I just feel like whoever did it is a toe rag.

“I can never replace that album and I’d ask whoever has taken it to bring it back. What good is it to them?

“If they leave it on the doorstep anonymously or get it to the police quietly I would be very grateful.”

The Chinese black lacquered photo album was purchased by Mr Woollands on a posting in the Far East and also acted as a music box when opened.

Mr Woollands, who is the treasurer to the Acle branch of the Royal British Legion, said around £330 was also stolen during the burglary.

A £30 float belonging to the NOMAD theatre company which is based in the village for which Mr Woollands helps make props and scenery, was also taken by the thieves.

Some of the ships he served on include HMS Perseus, HMS Saint, HMS Comus, HMS Cossack, HMS Undine, HMS Rocket, HMS Carysfort and HMS Indefatigable.

Det Con Gill Dawson at Great Yarmouth CID said to have such a sentimental item stolen is devastating for the victim.

Anyone with information can call Great Yarmouth CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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