Kelowna RCMP return stolen WWII medals to owner

WWII medals returned

Madison Erhardt

It's a happy ending for Kelowna resident Michael Wintemute, thanks to investigative work by the Kelowna RCMP and community members across the country.

Wintemute has been reunited with his father's WWII medals after they were stolen from his home several months ago.

On January 7, Kelowna RCMP officers located a WWI Canadian discharge certificate and set of WWII Canadian war medals on a Kelowna man who was not the rightful owner.

The certificate of Corporal John Milliman Wintemute, who served in both England and France, said he was discharged on May 17, 1919.

Cpl. Amadeo Vecchio, a local Mountie who also serves in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Lieutenant Colonel, says he was determined to return the medals and certificate to the rightful owner.

"We had quite, quite a lot of phone calls and emails to me personally in regards to this so this wasn't just police investigation. We had help from the public and we got calls all the way to New Brunswick... A lot of caring people who know about medals, former service members or just people that are into genealogy and family tracing."

Once Wintemute was identified as the owner, Vecchio made the phone call.

"I called Michael at about 11:30 that night and I said hi, my name is Amadeo Vecchio I am a police officer, this is a good call and I have some really good news for you," he explained.

"I had to call him because it is one of those feel-good stories. I said 'I believe I have found the medals belonging to your father and your grandfather.'"

Wintemute says he is very happy to have the medals back, and "I don't think I could have been told by a more caring officer."

Wintemute says he is now left to ponder who will be next in line for the family heirloom.

"I do not have a direct heir to pass these on to. My youngest boy passed away and so I will have to think more about it. Losing them like this gives me more thought than it did before."

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