Air Vice Marshal Douglas David Hurditch was flying over the Dutch coast when he was shot down by a German night fighter in 1942.
He managed to provide his crew with medical attention before he was captured by Germans and placed in a series of prisoner of war camps over the next three years.
After a stint in the infamous Stalag Luft III along with a string of other camps, he eventually made his escape, and lived out the next eight decades in Canberra until his passing in 2018.
But many of those stories now remain primarily within the memories of the decorated veteran's children after thieves broke into a shipping container in Campbell, taking his logbook and a medal received for his efforts in the war.
His son, Alan Hurditch, is pleading for the thieves to return the sentimental items the family has had for decades.
"It's wicked," Mr Hurditch said.
"It won't be worth a cracker to [them] and yet its sentimental value for us is huge."
The thieves are suspected to have broken into the container on Sunday morning, according to a witness, but police weren't alerted until Tuesday January 5 after Mr Hurditch's friend asked whether the container's door was meant to be open.
The witness said they heard a loud bang followed by a car speeding away. Mr Hurditch believes this was the sound of the shipping container's door being slammed.
After the war, Mr Hurditch's father continued his career in the air force and was the second pilot for a 1946 record-breaking journey from England to New Zealand via stops in Karachi and Darwin.
All journeys of historical significance his father recorded in the stolen logbook.
"Lots of people have told me that he was a real hero," Mr Hurditch said.
"He was a very smart and humble bloke and didn't blow his own trumpet, and everyone sort of admired him for that."
Also among the stolen sentimental items was a photograph of Mr Hurditch's maternal grandfather, Captain Harold Alan Hamersley, another decorated war veteran.
Captain Hamersley was given the title of aerial ace for his efforts shooting down 13 enemy craft in World War I.
"It's not worth anything to them but it's worth heaps to my brothers and sisters and my grandchildren and, well not great-grandchildren yet because they're too young," Mr Hurditch said.
"I would just like them to get it back to us somehow."
- Police encourage anyone who may have footage or information regarding the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via the Crime Stoppers website. Please quote reference number 6708955. Information can be provided anonymously.