2017 IN REVIEW: Thieves steal priceless WWII diary from Silver Sands home in February

While break and enters are always bad news for Mandurah Mail readers, one that occurred at Silver Sands in February was particularly callous. A local family was devastated after discovering priceless memories of a war veteran were among items stolen from a household safe. But sometimes stories do have a happy ending.

Lyle Solomon wrote in a small, fawn diary to record his thoughts and feelings throughout his time serving with the ANZACs in World War II. 

For his family, the diary became a treasured possession.

But his daughter Helen Craig feared these memories were gone forever after thieves broke into the Silver Sands family home and stole historical items from a safe.

Ms Craig was coming home after running some errands one afternoon in February, when she noticed someone had broken into the home through the kitchen window. 

Silver Sands resident Helen Craig was relieved at the return of her father’s stolen WWII diary.

Silver Sands resident Helen Craig was relieved at the return of her father’s stolen WWII diary.

Her heart sank when she realised her father’s hand-written war diary was inside, together with several other historical objects such as coins, medallions and a fob watch which belonged to her grandfather.

Most of the items could have been replaced, except for the precious words entered into the diary.

“My father passed away in December 11, 2012, he was 92 at the time. I was the custodian for the family looking after these momentos,” Ms Craig said.

A few days after the theft, Ms Craig was driving around searching for any sign of the lost items when she received a call from her husband.

“My husband called to say ‘two police officers have turned up with the diary and our safe’,” Ms Craig said.

The officers told her the items had been found together with another safe by a local resident in a bushland area near Seawind Drive, and had been handed to police.

“The diary means the world to our family and we were overwhelmed by the response of the public to help in our search,” she said.

“We are lucky this lovely honest couple found our belongings. 

“They refused to accept the reward money and were grateful they could help someone out.”

Ms Craig said her father’s diary was a priceless piece of the family’s history, especially since his passing in 2012.

Her father had taken the small diary with him during his deployment in the Middle East, despite it being prohibited to keep a diary.

However he managed to keep it safe and hidden until his return home.

Despite some minor water damage, the small fawn hand-written diary where Lyle Solomon wrote his thoughts throughout his deployment in WWII will preserve the family’s legacy for years to come.