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All the pieces finally fit for the letter home from a POW camp that crashed in Kerry

IT WAS the wartime message from a British prisoner of war to his family that never would have reached home only for the kindness of a stranger who found it tattered on a rural Irish road.

William Mort (23) perished in a Japanese POW camp on September 17, 1943 but the previous Christmas Day had penned a postcard to his family that was onboard a plane that crashed on Mount Brandon on July 27, 1943.

John F Courtney and his daughter Sile found the postcard torn into pieces on the side of the road near their home in Cloghane, Co Kerry.

Mr Courtney painstakingly pieced it back together, put it in an envelope and mailed it to the young man's family in Lancashire.

Yesterday, William Mort's nephew Joseph travelled to Cloghane so that he could thank Sile Mulcahy in person.

Sile recalls the day she and her late father found the letter clearly.

"We picked up as many of the pieces as we could find and my father put them out on the table at home and put them back together but one piece was missing," Mrs Mulcahy recalled.

The message from the young man read: "I am in a Nippon (Japanese) POW camp in Java. I am constantly thinking of you. It will be wonderful when we meet again. The Nippons treat us well so don't worry about me.

"Remember me to my friends and don't worry. Let Edna read it."

The postcard was one of about 3,000 letters from POWs that was onboard the BOAC Sunderland that crashed on Mount Brandon.

Joseph Mort said coming to Cloghane to meet Sile was like a pilgrimage for him.

"To get this postcard provided some comfort and solace for my grandparents," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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