Messages of love from the front

INTRIGUING FIND Daphne Symonds with her collection of letters. (d621b414)
INTRIGUING FIND Daphne Symonds with her collection of letters. (d621b414)

Long-lost links to a World War I romance have surfaced among a stamp collection in Mirfield.

And the couple who have found two love letters hope to reunite them with any family members still remaining. Strangely, although the envelopes are addressed to a lady in Ravensthorpe, the letters inside are in French.

“We can’t make out what they say, but they appear to be love letters,” said Daphne Symonds. “It would be wonderful to think a local family might be thrilled to bits to see these,”

Mrs Symonds’ brother, Gilbert Sims, passed on the stamp collection to her husband, Aldwyn, shortly before he died five years ago.

The letters were sent from Belgium in 1917 and 1918. One was addressed to Miss Aimee Gillings, 76, North Road, Ravensthorpe, Yorkshire, England, and the other to Mademoiselle Aimee Gillings at the same address.

They are both from Leopold Philips and bear the ‘postes militaire’ mark, suggesting they were sent from the Front. They have the details: LP592 Batteries and 213 AB.

Of the collection of around 200 stamped envelopes, these were the only ones to contain letters.

The postmarks on other letters date back to 1876 and are to British addresses from all over the world.

Mr Sims was given the collection by a friend.

“We don’t know who that friend was and never looked at the collection until quite recently,” said Mrs Symonds, 80.

“And we couldn’t believe it when we saw the two letters to Ravensthorpe.

“One of the letters is very long, but the writing is brilliant. They are quite sentimental and the whole thing is so intriguing.

“If there are any members of Aimee Gillings’ family still in the area we would love to pass on the letters. After all, it’s part of their history. And they might know much more about it than we do.”

Any relatives or friends of Aimee Gillings who would like to see the letters should contact Mr or Mrs Symonds on 01924 522683.