- The family of a schoolgirl who knitted comforts for troops during World War Two have finally received a heartfelt letter of thanks written 76 years ago.
- The lost letter was discovered by World of Books Group who launched a nationwide campaign to reunite it with its rightful owner.
- It was written in 1944 by a soldier serving in Italy to thank High Wycombe schoolgirl Pat Moore for knitting comforts for anonymous troops serving abroad.
- Pat never received the heartfelt thanks for her kindness and passed away aged just 36 in 1964 without knowing how much it meant to those on the receiving end.
- Following the campaign, the letter has now been sent to Pat’s daughter Lynn Cook.
- Lynn was just a child when her mother passed away and has spent years researching her life history – but until now knew nothing of her mother’s contribution to the war
The letter was written by a British soldier serving in Italy in the winter of 1944. At the time, Allied forces battled through the tough Italian Campaign in freezing conditions – a campaign that would claim the lives of around 70,000 allied soldiers by its conclusion. It was in these difficult conditions that Lance Corporal John Wheldon-Williams penned a heartfelt letter to High Wycombe schoolgirl, Pat Moore, thanking her for knitting supplies for anonymous troops. He himself had received a simple pair of mittens; a seemingly small gesture, but one that brought him comfort in difficult times.
But Pat would never receive the letter. By the time it would have arrived at the correspondence address, she had moved on. 20 years later Pat passed away at just 36, never knowing just how much her act of kindness had meant to those on the receiving end.
Upon discovering the letter, World of Books Group launched a nationwide campaign to return it to its rightful owner and were soon contacted by Lynn Cook from Surrey.
The campaign had been spotted by amateur historian Dave Thacker. Amazingly, despite the limited information publicised, Dave was able to use his skills to work out a connection between Lynn and Pat, and got in touch to let her know about World of Books’ find.
Lynn, Pat’s only surviving child, was just a young girl when her mother passed away. Although she has spent years researching her mother’s life story, she knew nothing of her kindness during the war until Dave got in touch.
Lynn 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.”
A story to lift us all in this difficult Festive Season.