A wartime Jeep which has belonged to family for 70 years, was stolen from a farm earlier this month.

The Willys MB style vehicle, belonging to Willy White of Fyfield Hall, was stolen from Hobbans Farm off Stony Lane, Bobbingworth, in the early hours of June 21.

It was originally a gift to Mr White’s father Robert from Colonel Brown, Commander of the 387th Bomb Group, of the United States Army Air Force base at RAF Chipping Ongar.

Colonel Brown’s gift represented the gratitude of the American servicemen stationed at the base, built on the Whites’ land, throughout the Second World War.

Mr White said: “We can replace the Jeep with another but we can never replace the memories it held for us.

“It was a much loved, cherished and cared for piece of family history.”

He went on to describe how three generations of the family had learned to drive in the Jeep and said it had been at the centre of the family’s motoring lives since he could remember.

As the vehicle was not in working order at the time of its theft, it would have had to be towed away from the, belonging to family friend Toby Webster.

Mr Webster who valued the vehicle at around £10,000 said he believed “local knowledge would have been essential” for the thieves to navigate the surrounding country lanes.

Mr White and Mr Webster had been planning to take a driving tour in their Jeeps around the D-Day battlefields of France but now their plans have been put on hold.

The owners are appealing for information from anyone who might have seen the vehicle with the registration FHO 808 and are offering a £1,000 reward for any information leading to the its recovery.

Police are currently investigating the theft.