Hamilton family uncovers decades-old letter from soldier injured in World War II

A section of the letter, which is written in cursive and barely readable.
A snippet of the letter. Photo credit: Supplied/Sarita Cronin

A Kiwi family has uncovered a piece of history while renovating their house.

Sarita Cronin's husband uncovered a letter written in 1941, while he was removing a built-in piece of furniture from their Hamilton home.

The five-page letter is from a man called Les Derbyshire, who writes that he lost both his legs in the war and is recuperating in an English hospital.

"It's quite a special letter because he addresses it to 'Dear Ma, sis and bro,'" Cronin said, "and he talks about his injuries in the war and the fact that he was getting some really nice treatment from the doctors and the sisters.

"He [said he] looks like he was going to be fixed up with some new legs, and then he talks about having Christmas dinner will all the trimmings in true English style."

The family has also found another piece of the past during the renovation - a photograph taken in 1929.

Cronin said she wants to find the family the letter is addressed to and give it to them. Her 11-year-old son has done some detective work, but the family didn't get very far.

"When we went on the Auckland War Memorial Museum website we could plug in that number and we found out a little bit of information about him.

"The only thing that we have is a next-of-kin name and the fact that he lived in Hamilton."

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