They never met him, but they had important memorabilia, such as a trench war diary, service medals, wartime paperwork – and that was all just stolen from a north Surrey home.
At 18 years old, Alfred Hillman joined the British Regular Army in 1908, and served every minute of the First World War from 1914 to 1918 as one of the Lancashire Fusiliers, an elite line infantry regiment.
Even though they never met, his granddaughter and grandson were able to cull information about him from some of the things he saved.
They were all kept in a green hat box.
A few medals were in a case indicating his time of service.
Inside that case is a small piece of shrapnel that was taken out of his knee.
He also had paperwork indicating his service.
One of the true gems was a trench warfare diary, where he wrote down what happened in battle on a frequent basis.
On Wednesday, some time between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., someone broke into a north Surrey home near 106 Avenue and 125 B Street, and stole a round hat box containing all that memorabilia.
Other things were taken too, including a camera, and “mostly junk” as his grandson describes it.
Whoever broke in was hungry, as they also helped themselves to food in the fridge.
The family is pleading with whoever took the green hatbox filled with those wartime memories, to return it, no questions asked.
The memorabilia is worthless for someone looking for cash, but priceless for his family.
The hatbox is olive green felt, about eight inches across and six inches high. It contains several wartime papers, medals and a journal.
Anyone else who knows the whereabouts of the hatbox is asked to call the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502, or to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).