WWII

Lost Second World War Letter Reaches Family After 76 Years

The letter was found inside a second-hand book and thanks a schoolgirl for knitting items for British soldiers fighting overseas.

The family of a schoolgirl who knitted items for troops during the Second World War has received a letter of thanks written 76 years ago.

It was written by Lance Corporal John Wheldon-Williams who was serving in Italy in the winter of 1944.

In the letter, he expressed his gratitude to High Wycombe schoolgirl Pat Moore for knitting 'comforts' for anonymous troops serving overseas.

LCpl Wheldon-Williams received a pair of mittens.

Allied forces were battling the Italian campaign in freezing weather – about 70,000 allied soldiers lost their lives by its conclusion.

Pat Moore never received the note – by the time it would have arrived at the correspondence address, she had moved elsewhere. She died in 1964 aged only 36.

The letter was found by second-hand book firm World of Books Group, which launched a campaign with the British Red Cross to reunite it with its rightful owner.

Discovered inside a second-hand book, the letter has now been sent to her daughter and only surviving child, Lynn Cook.

Just a young child when her mother died, Ms Cook had spent years researching her life history, but until recently was unaware of her mother’s contribution to the war effort.

High Wycombe schoolgirl Pat Moore knitted comforts for troops in the Second World War (Picture: World of Books Group).

Ms Cook said: "I’m delighted to be reunited with a piece of family history I knew nothing about.

"It’s incredibly moving to know how much my mum’s contribution to the war effort meant on a personal level.

"I have early memories of watching my mother knit at home – it’s something she always enjoyed. And I remember her telling me stories of her writing to pen pals during the war.

"I suspect she snuck a little note in with the package in the hope a soldier would eventually reply. She would have been overjoyed with this, and I’ll treasure it forever."

Ms Cook worked with amateur historian Dave Thacker to discover more about the letter and its author, LCpl Wheldon-Williams.

He survived the war and passed away in 1970, but the pair were able to make contact with his relatives.

Cover image: World of Books Group.