Love letters reunited with family of the woman who received them

The Shropshire Star featured a terrific story about First World War love letters reunited with the family of the woman who received them.

The Sue Ryder charity launched a campaign to find the family of the woman after the letters were found in one of their shops in Sunderland. The letters had belonged to Mary Fortune and had been sent to her by her husband, George, during his service with the Durham Light Infantry.

The letters were lost to the family when Mary’s daughter Marjory died in 2003. As Marjory didn’t have any descendants, the neighbours got rid of her possessions.

Tricky to find

When the shop found the letters, staff tried to search for relatives, but their hunt was made tricky. The address to which the letters had been sent no longer exists, and it later turned out that Mary remarried and became Mary Bambrough.

However, the genealogy website Ancestry led to people identifying a possible relative—David Bambrough, the great-grandson of Mary’s brother, himself a keen family historian. One of the people who had contacted him was a member of the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society, and that person as well as others had done their own checks and found Mary Bambrough through David’s family tree.

After being contacted, Mr Bambrough did his own research through Google and found the story.

Killed in action

The letters also included a note from King George V confirming that Mary’s husband had been killed in action in 1916. Mary also lost two brothers with a day of each other in 1915.

The engineer from Sunderland now hopes he can find out more about George Fortune’s side of the family. He has been in contact with them through Facebook. The family has invited him to meet them, an offer David hopes to take up, and share with them copies of the letters.

In a statement, the charity said it was delighted they had been able to reunite the letters with their rightful owner. The letters, they said, were an important part of history, emphasising the sacrifices made by soldiers during the First World War, and they were happy to play their part in such a story.

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