We’ve all experienced some slow postage times in the past, but this family takes the cake. One World War II veteran sent a postcard back in 1943. However, it only arrived in 2021, nearly 77 years later! You can imagine the shock this Navy veteran’s family felt when the card turned up…
WWII Veteran’s First Letter
In 1943, amid World War II, young, 18-year-old Bill Caldwell wanted to make sure his postcard (seen above) got home to his Uncle Fred. “Post [this] early in the day,” he recalls saying when handing the postcard to Royal Mail. At this point, Caldwell has just started his service in England’s Royal Navy during WWII. “Well I am in blue at last. I did not think it would be like this – you don’t get much time for yourself, do you?” he tenderly wrote on the back of the postcard. “But I like it alright. I will write a letter to you all when I get half a chance so will you hold on a bit? I have 19 weeks here yet. Give my love to everyone.”
Although young Caldwell had no idea of it at the time, he would enjoy a successful military career. After sending the postcard, he would go on a minesweeping mission for the D-Day operation. Later, Caldwell helped transport prisoners of war after the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. By the end of the war, he earned four metals and became Able Seaman. However, in all that time, his first postcard never made it home. Others did, but never that first one. Over time, Bill Caldwell forgot about the postcard. But little did he know it would reappear one day…
Writing On The Postcard
After his successful time in the Navy during WWII, Caldwell settled down in England, where he became a successful plumber. He lived out the rest of his life in Somerset in southwest England with his family. Sadly, both the sender and the recipient had passed away since the card was written, never seeing it. Today, Caldwell’s six children are all over the country, including Surrey, Norfolk, Somerset, and Bristol. However, distant relatives still live at the address of his uncle. So imagine their surprise when the postcard turned up in the post after nearly 77 years. That’s right! Immediately, the distant family got in contact with Caldwell’s daughter, Joanna Creamer. Within a day, she had the postcard.
“It was the most surreal thing on a Friday night to suddenly read a postcard that Dad had written 77 years ago when he was training to be a sailor in the Navy,” Creamer said. Soon, Creamer had sent images and scans to everyone in the family. “It’s a crazy story and it’s hard to believe,” another of Caldwell’s daughters, Elizabeth Caldwell, said. “To get this little message from my dad felt like a really special thing for us all.”
Of course, as soon as the story hit the internet, it went completely viral! Many wondered how a postcard could stay lost in the post for almost eight decades. Soon enough, British Royal Mail commented on the story.
Leaving The Navy
According to a Royal Mail spokesperson, it’s unlikely that it is the postal service’s fault. More likely, they say, it might’ve been “put back into the postal system by someone recently, rather than being lost or stuck somewhere in the network.”
Still, even if it’s late, the Caldwell family feels happy to have received the postcard at all. In 2016, Caldwell’s 17-year-old granddaughter died in a car crash that profoundly affected the family. Of course, this letter brought up many memories of those near and far. “It’s been a very emotional and special time for us and has brought lots of things up,” Elizabeth said.