Precious love poem found after 60 years

DISCOVERING one of his war-time love letters from more than 60 years ago among his late wife's possessions gave Douglas Maule "quite a jolt".For 89-year-old Mr Maule never knew his wife Vera had kept the precious missive he sent from India to mark their wedding anniversary at a time the hostilities of the second world war kept them far apart.

DISCOVERING one of his war-time love letters from more than 60 years ago among his late wife's possessions gave Douglas Maule "quite a jolt".

For 89-year-old Mr Maule never knew his wife Vera had kept the precious missive he sent from India to mark their wedding anniversary at a time the hostilities of the second world war kept them far apart.

Now the letter - a poem to mark their special day - has been shared with people all over the town at a special service to celebrate marriage after local vicar Rod Corke felt it embodied the perfect sentiments of marriage.

For Mr Maule, of Picketts Road, Felixstowe, the sadness was that his wife of 66 years was not alive to hear it read.

He said: "We were sorting out some of my wife's things when I suddenly came across the letter - I didn't even know she still had it and I hadn't seen it since I wrote it in 1943.

"She never kept any of my other war-time letters, but this one was obviously very special to her and precious.

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"It gave me quite a jolt to see it again after all these years."

Mr and Mrs Maule were married in December 1937 and moved to Felixstowe from Ipswich to start married life. When war broke out he was trained in repairing and maintaining field and army instruments such as range finders, binoculars and similar equipment.

He was sent as a staff sergeant with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to India for four years, working there on secondment to the Indian Army in various parts of the country, later becoming a lieutenant.

One of the mysteries over the love letter was how the Army sent it home.

Mr Maule said: "I did write home fairly regularly, sometimes on airmail letters, but this one was on a greetings form which was about A5 size and you filled it in and they were collected and off they went.

"But the copy my wife received looks as if it has been reduced and photographed, or copied in some way. It is very strange."

Mrs Maule, 88, died earlier this month on June 7. The couple, who had a son Eric and daughter Susan, were well-known in Felixstowe and Mr Maule ran an ophthalmic opticians business in Hamilton Road until the practise was sold to Rayners when he retired in his early 60s.

Rector of Walton, Rev Rod Corke included the poem in his morning service sermon during the flower festival at St Mary's Church.

He said: "It was one of those God-given moments. I was in the process of writing my sermon when I went to see Douglas and he showed me the poem. "It was such a phenomenal poem and the quality of the writing was amazing - it said everything I wanted to say about marriage. He had summed it all up all those years ago, sitting in a hut on the Indian borders."

n Do you know how the forces processed letters home? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Our Anniversary, by Douglas Maule.

This is the happy day that means so much to you and me;

The milestone of our memories - our anniversary.

The day on which we two set out towards our promised land,

Pledged to take the winding road together, hand in hand.

Time has brought its changes, many storms have rolled above.

But all the clouds have never dimmed the sunshine of our love.

So may we continue till the last hill we ascend,

Good companions on life's journey -

Sweethearts to the end.

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