A series of love letters which helped keep a prisoner of war’s hopes alive through his hellish captivity by the Japanese in the Second World War have been found 73 years later.
William Gower was among more than 60,000 WW2 allied prisoners of war subjected to forced labour to construct what became known as the Death Railway - more than 12,000 died in the process.
The Mansfield son of William -known as Billy in a series of love letters recently uncovered in a LOROS Hospice charity shop- has come forward to claim the correspondence.
The letters were written in 1944 by Dolly Lowe from Cuddington to Billy in Thailand and were found by a volunteer, folded into a curtain which was donated to the Hospice.
His son, Trevor Gower, said: “As soon as we found out about the letters we contacted my mum, Mary, who said she remembered a Dolly.
“But of course no one knows how the letters came to be in the curtains.
“It is such a shock because a lot of my fathers’ letters have gone missing recently so we will preserve them for him, and it keeps my father’s memory alive.
“He was moved around - he was a prisoner of war for three and a half years on the Burma Railway as well and to survive that is amazing.
“It is fascinating and for them to find this in such a huge bag of linen is unbelievable.
“We are so grateful to LOROS and everyone for reuniting us with them. We are going to treasure them.
“They look as if they have been well looked after, it would be wonderful to trace Dolly’s family to tell the other side of the story.”
Sarah Forryan, area manager for LOROS Hospice said: “We’re delighted to have found Billy’s son, Trevor, to pass these precious love letters on to.
“It’s good to know that his family will have an insight into such significant events in their father’s life.
“As a hospice we know the importance of supporting families and lasting keepsakes like these letters are an important memento of a loved one’s past.”
LOROS Hospice is a local charity which cares for more than 2,500 people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland every year.
The hospice is hoping to contact Dolly’s family.
If you believe you have a family connection to a Miss D Lowe from Cheshire, contact LOROS Marketing Department, Groby Road, Leicester, LE3 9QE. Tel: (0116) 231 8447.