Postcard collection of wartime sweethearts washes up on British beach

May 28, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A mysterious collection of postcards written from a young soldier to his sweetheart during World War One have washed up on a British beach.

Glynis Dray, 58, spotted the collection as she strolled along the high tide line at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

She first noticed a tattered card in the sand and began scouring the beach, eventually finding 21 postcards, a photograph of a soldier and one of a nurse.

After some research she believes the collection belonged to a woman named Mabel Langford and her wartime sweetheart Arthur Lyddon, who she eventually married in 1918.

Artist Glynis, of Great Malvern, Worcs., said: ”We found this postcard upside down and it was very sandy and it looked like it had been in the water, but it had very old fashioned writing.

”We looked over the edge of the promenade, which sits just at the high tide line, and immediately saw about six or seven more.

”It was muddy and slippery – they’d been in the water and they’d been pushed to the edge with the tide and they were around the edge of the waterline.

”At first you think they’ve blown away from an antique display or something, but when they all had the same address on them.

”I thought, ‘Oh they’re all addressed to the same person!’ and it was part of a collection.

”It was just us being like kids finding treasure on the beach.”

Glynis was walking along the promenade toward’s Weston’s old Birmbeck Pier with her partner Steve Perkins, 62, and his brother Richard Perkins, 60, when she came across the tattered antique postcard in the sand on May 16th.

Intrigued, the trio began to scour the high tide line and ended up with 21 muddy postcards dated between 1911 and 1918.

Glynis also unearthed a photograph of a wartime nurse and another of a soldier.

They took the collection home, painstakingly cleaned each item, and began researching who the mystery couple might be.

The trio discovered the collection belonged to a woman named Mabel Langford who was born in 1892 in Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton in Somerset.

Many of the postcards are from her sweetheart Arthur Lyddon, who was born in 1895 and eventually served in Egypt and France during World War One.

The couple met while Mabel was in service at a stately home called Weacombe House in Somerset when she was around 18 or 19.

Arthur was born in Bicknoller, Somerset – the neighbouring village to Weacombe.

The couple fell in love and communicated by letter and postcard when Arthur went to serve overseas in the Great War.

Several of the postcards found in the collection are from France and Egypt, where the young soldier was posted.

The prize of the collection is a postcard sent to Mabel from Arthur in Egypt on March, 1918, which bears a poem and begins: ”To my dear girl at home…”

It then reads: ”I often think of you dear and happy moments flown, such tender memories all of you I cherish as my own, and I’m thinking of you now dear, and send this just to tell, a little word of love to you from one who loves you well.”

Mum-of-two Glynis added: ”You can imagine someone sitting there showing them to someone else, sharing their memories – your imagination can run riot in a situation like that.”

Records show that the couple got married in Williton, near Taunton in Somerset, in 1918, shortly after Arthur returned from the war.

If Glynis’ research is correct they went on to have a daughter, Joyce Lyddon, in 1921, which may explain a strange photo found with the collection that shows a middle aged couple pictured in the 1970s or 80s.

Arthur died in 1981 aged 86 and Mabel passed away in 1984 aged 92.

Glynis believes the modern photo may be of Mabel and Arthur’s daughter, and that the collection may have passed to her when the couple passed away.

She added: ”We think it’s pretty certain that the family didn’t get rid of it but that it was lost.  If Joyce is still alive, she was born in 1921, she will be almost 90 now.

”They were obviously lovingly kept in an album somewhere and must mean a lot to someone.

”I would love it if they could be returned to the rightful owners.”

Glynis and Steve are currently trying to track down any surviving members of family to return the collection to.

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