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Beauty queen reunited with treasure

PUBLISHED: 15:16 11 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:53 03 March 2010

A PICTURE brought at a car boot sale in Felixstowe turned out to contain a fascinating secret of both joy and sorrow.

The second hand photo frame revealed a heart-rending tragedy of an American pilot who was killed in East Anglia.

A PICTURE brought at a car boot sale in Felixstowe turned out to contain a fascinating secret of both joy and sorrow.

The second hand photo frame revealed a heart-rending tragedy of an American pilot who was killed in East Anglia.

The pilot turned out to be the husband of a former Miss Anglia, Nanette Slack. The former 60s beauty queen was a household name, winning over 200 titles.

Thanks to Felixstowe man Tony McGee, Mrs Olsen (nee Slack) was reunited with the treasured photograph of her late husband after Mr McGee successfully traced back the origins of the picture.

The story evolved when Mr McGee was handed the photograph by a friend, Michael Betts, who had found the picture tucked away at the back of the frame.

The mystery photograph got the better of Mr McGee who decided to see if he could trace the pilot and thereby return the photograph to the rightful owner.

In January this year he posted a message together with the picture of the man in his pilot's uniform, on a local website run by Americans at RAF Bentwaters.

Not long after this, he received a message from someone in America who identified the man in the picture.

It was William Harold Olsen a Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force, who married the former Ipswich beauty queen.

Lt Col Olsen, who was based at RAF Bentwaters, was killed in a mid-air crash between two A10 "tankbuster" planes from RAF Bentwaters on November 18, 1980.

Wanting to know more, Mr McGee continued with his investigations and looked through the archives of the Evening Star and discovered the pilot's widow was amazingly the former beauty queen of East Anglia.

Also found with the photograph was a separate piece of paper with a poem on it. Again after surfing the internet Mr McGee discovered a verse, the Aviator's Poem which is believed to have been read at Mr Olsen's funeral.

Mr McGee said: "When I started to trace the pilot I never imagined what fascinating facts and history the photograph would hold.

"So much has come to light from just one photograph it's amazing."

Having unravelled a piece of local history, Mr McGee, who served in the Royal Air force for 20 years, decided to write to Mrs Olsen and present her with the photograph of her late husband.

The former beauty queen and model got in touch with Mr McGee and he and Mr Betts, who discovered the photograph, met her in Norfolk.

These are the words which were found with the photograph.

In Memoriam

William Harold Olsen

Lt. Colonel United States Air Force

Died as a result of an incident

On November 18, 1980

He was thirty-eight years old

I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew

And' with silent, lifting mind I've trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space

Put out my hand, touched the face of God.


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