Wartime love letters returned to widow

Widow Miriam King was overjoyed last night after she was reunited with treasured love letters from her husband that were sent from prisoner of war camps more than 60 years ago.

Widow Miriam King was overjoyed last night after she was reunited with treasured love letters from her husband that were sent from prisoner of war camps more than 60 years ago.

Dozens of handwritten notes were exchanged between the couple over the course of George King's three year incarceration at the hands of the Italians and the Nazis during the Second World War.

But mystery still surrounded the temporary disappearance of the cherished letters last night after they were discovered in an old chest of drawers at a house 40 miles away.

Mrs King spoke of her delight yesterday after some smart detective work from the RAF Regiment helped reunite the most precious keepsakes of her late husband, which were found at a rented house near Diss earlier this month.

An appeal for help was launched earlier this week after a serviceman at RAF Honington, near Thetford, found the handwritten correspondence that belonged to the 94-year-old, who lives in Gorleston.

The letters, which were discovered by warrant officer Tony Roe when he moved home three weeks ago, were written between 1942 and 1945 whilst Mr King was in PoW camps in Italy and Germany.

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Mrs King said that her legs “went to jelly” when she discovered that the collection of love letters, which were returned to the family yesterday, had been found in a dusty chest of drawers.

The grandmother-of-two, whose husband died 15 years ago, said she only noticed that the collection of about 50 letters had disappeared last week.

The couple never lived in the Diss area and it is not known as to how the possessions ended up in the furniture that had been left in WO Roe's new home.

Mrs King said it was a great surprise to see her letters on local TV news on Tuesday night.

“My legs went to jelly and I felt elated and I thought wouldn't my George be pleased with that,” she said.

Mrs King added that the letters were an enormous source of comfort during the time, which was the only correspondence with her husband during the war years.

Flt Lt Mick Liston, communications officer for RAF Honington, who delivered the letters to Mrs King at her Gorleston care home, said it was not known how long the letters had been in the chest of drawers.

“It is a mystery that we are trying to solve. Mrs King only noticed a week ago that the letters were missing and doesn't understand how they ended up where they did. She was very pleased to see them again and it opened up lots of memories about her husband,” he said.

Mrs King was tracked down following help from the Salvation Army and members of the public following a media appeal.

Mr and Mrs King were married in April 1942 and three weeks later he was posted to serve with the Royal Navy.

In June 1942, Mr King was aboard HMS Bedouin, when it was hit by an Italian Navy torpedo. He was one of more than 200 taken prisoner by the Italians in 1942 and was later transferred to a German PoW camp until the end of the war. He returned home to Britain on VE Day on May 7 1945.

“It's now four months since I became a prisoner of war, five months since we were married. I am always living in those precious days we spent together. Be assured, as soon as the war is over we will make up for any lost time. Your loving husband, George.”

On their first wedding anniversary in 1943, Mr King wrote: “I am holding a small celebration with one or two of the lads. I am going to make a cake with Yorkshire pudding powder from my Red Cross parcel. I am certain we would have had a wonderful time had we been together for this our first anniversary.”

March 7 1944 - “My darling, a few short lines to let you know I am well and am in a new camp, which I must say is very good….Do not worry darling… I am busy in the camp and find plenty to do… god bless you dear, all my love, your loving George.

July 21 1944 - “You may guess I think about you so very much these days and I think too of our happy day which is now in view. I hope you are not so browned off now dear. What a wonderful day it will be for so many of us after so many weary months.

“Yet through it all God has been faithful and so often when praying I have felt you very near. How I thank him that we both love and trust in him.”