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Revealed! How mystery was solved of POW's missing sweetheart letter

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 08, 2014

By John Butterworth

  • Arthur and Edith in 1921

  • Arthur and Edith relaxing with a young Doreen

  • Arthur in 1917

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AN appeal in The Bugle for World War One memories prompted Doreen Harris to tell the poignant story this week about how her dad found a missing sweetheart letter he sent to her mum, but which had never arrived.

Although the immediate family has known about the story the Sutton Coldfield reader decided to make public how her dad solved the mystery more than 16 years later.

Her father, Arthur George Fessey, had been a German Prisoner of War since early March 1918 but was freed on Armistice Day. He had a long and dreadful trek from Germany through Belgium to the Channel Ports pushed in a wheelbarrow.

"Reaching Belgium he was given three Red Cross postcards to send home; one to his mother, one to his sister and one to my mother, his then girlfriend, saying how much he loved her and missed her," said Doreen, who is 90 in September.

But the girlfriend, Edith May Pearce, wrote back saying she knew he had had three Red Cross postcards and he had sent his mother and his sister one, but who had had the other one?

Doreen added: "She thought he didn't love her any more and told him she was courting someone else now."

When Arthur finally returned home at Easter he went to see Edith and persuaded her he loved her, so they got back together and eventually married.

But what had happened to the missing postcard?

Doreen explained: "My Grandad's house was an end one with the front door at the side, opening into a square lobby, with the stairs opposite and a living room door each side. The lobby had linoleum with a parquet floor design and a rug on top.

"Many years later in 1934 the lino wore out, and when it was replaced there was the Red Cross postcard underneath it, together with another postcard with 'Greetings from Rhyl' from Mom's friend.

"But, how did it get there? Grandad finally worked it out. A little way before the house was a pub where Grandad had his lunch time pint. He sometimes met there Pat the Postie, who had popped in for a pint, a warm, a smoke and a chat. During their 12-2 lunch time, little boys hung around the pub trying to earn a copper for sweets by doing odd jobs.

"Obviously, against the rules, Pat had handed the mail to one of these boys whose accompanying little brother couldn't reach the letterbox so had pushed it under the door. Postie would have made the arrangement with the trusted boy before coming in to the pub. He wouldn't have seen the little brother. Mystery solved!"

See Doreen's letter - Page 9

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