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Treasure returns to son

CARYN WIGMORE
Last updated 05:00 16/01/2014
Roy Brooks
FAITH RESTORED: Roy Brooks has recovered a treasured photograph of his late father thanks to good police work and a Nor-west News story.

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A stolen photo of a fallen soldier has been returned to his son.

Roy Brooks of Helensville saw the picture of his late father Jim, then 22, printed alongside a Nor-west News story on December 5.

The article was a public plea from Helensville police who had discovered the photo in a locket among other stolen property and wanted to find its owner.

Mr Brooks is moved to be reunited with the precious memorial which was taken with other family heirlooms during a burglary in 2012.

"That's the sort of thing that hurts - losing stuff that can't be replaced.

"I couldn't believe it when I opened the paper to see dad there," the 69-year-old says.

The lost picture sat alongside Mr Brooks' baby photo in his late mother Florence's locket.

"Mum replaced her photo with mine when dad went overseas to serve," Mr Brooks says.

"In those days you never knew if they were going to come back."

Jim Brooks enlisted in 1941 and served in Egypt and Italy before returning home in early 1946.

The World War II veteran drove a bren gun carrier to scoop up wounded soldiers for the Red Cross.

He never talked about his war service when he returned home.

"I think it's the case with many who have seen a lot of stuff going on that they don't want to relive," Mr Brooks says.

"Dad was very anti-war probably because of his experience over there.

"It's not very glorious - just a whole lot of people getting killed."

Doctors later discovered the veteran had been serving with a hole in his heart, and Jim had open heart surgery when his son was 10.

Mr Brooks and wife Alison keep treasured art that Jim created during his down time in the army.

Jim made an aluminium kiwi using metal from a fighter plane and fashioned a heart-shaped pendant from a coin.

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- Norwest News

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