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RNLI 'won't give up hope' on finding stolen medal

RNLI 'won't give up hope' on finding stolen medal

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 4:03pm 13th November 2018. (Updated at 7:33am 14th November 2018)

A Cornish lifeboat crew says they 'will not give up hope' that a stolen tragedy medal could still be found.

Trevelyan's gold medal was awarded posthumously to the coxswain of the Solomon Browne.

The Penlee lifeboat sank in 1981 after trying to rescue another boat just a week before Christmas.

Everyone on board died in the disaster and they were each awarded gallantry medals for their bravery.

Trevelyan Richards Gold Medal credit Penlee House Museum Collection front
The gold medal was awarded posthumously to the coxswain of the Solomon Browne

But back in August 2016 the medal was found to be missing from a secure unit in Dorset.

A police investigation was launched, offering a £1,000 reward for information.

But sadly the medal still has not been found.

Officers say the investigation has now closed pending any further information coming to light.

But the RNLI says it still hopes that one day the medal will be returned.

RNLI Gold Medal obverse
It was awarded for the bravery and sacrifice after the boat sank and everybody on board lost their lives

"The gold medal was awarded posthumously to William Trevelyan Richards, Coxswain of the Penlee Lifeboat Solomon Browne which sank after going to the aid of the coaster Union Star on the night of 19 December 1981.

"All eight volunteer crew members were lost in the disaster, and the whole crew were awarded gallantry medals by the RNLI in recognition of their selfless bravery and sacrifice.

"The gallantry medal, which is the highest award for bravery issued by the RNLI, was found to be missing from the secure heritage store at the charity’s head office in Poole in August 2016.

"Despite an extensive search and investigation by Dorset Police, including the offer of a £1,000 reward for information that would lead to its safe return, sadly the medal has still not been found.

Trevelyan Richards Gold Medal credit Penlee House Museum Collection front
The medal was reported missing from a secure unit in Dorset more than two years ago and a police investigation was launched

"Dorset Police has reported that at this stage all proportionate lines of enquiry have been exhausted and the investigation remains undetected, pending any further information coming to light.

"The RNLI is deeply saddened by the suspected theft of Trevelyan’s medal.

"It is of huge historical importance to the RNLI and represents the great courage, commitment and ultimate sacrifice made by the Penlee lifeboat crew. Its emotional significance for the families of the crew members who perished and the Penlee community, which stretches around the world, cannot be underestimated.

"It is devastating that despite great efforts it hasn’t been found and the RNLI is supporting Trevelyan’s family and those directly affected by its loss.

"However, although Dorset Police have done all they can at this stage, the RNLI will not give up hope that the medal is still out there and will one day be returned."


Trevelyan Richards Gold Medal Dec2016
Sadly the medal still hasn't been found and investigations are closing - but the RNLI still remains hopeful it will one day be returned

The £1,000 reward is still available.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55160116003.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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