County Durham couple's touching wartime love story revealed in letters stash (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Couple's touching love story to be shown on Antiques Roadshow
A COLLECTION of poignant love letters between a County Durham couple separated during the war years is due to touch the hearts of thousands of television viewers.
The letters were discovered in a tea chest at the bottom of a cupboard by the family of Frederick and Elizabeth Noble after their death in December 2011.
The 250 letters, cards, notes and telegrams exchanged by the husband and wife tell a touching love story between the newly-wedded couple during the war.
Elizabeth worked as a nurse near her home of Wingate, County Durham, caring for injured soldiers and her husband was posted abroad in Afghanistan, India, Burma, Ceylon and France.
Now those letters are due to appear on tonight’s (Sunday, September 15) broadcast of the Antiques Roadshow, filmed at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire, where presenter Fiona Bruce will read out extracts.
The love letters reveal the unbreakable bond between the couple which lasted throughout their 71-year marriage.
They died within three days of each other, on December 4 and December 7, just one month short of their wedding anniversary.
The letters contain pages and pages of emotional dialogue between the two.
One extract from Frederick reads: “I’m very sorry my beloved. I can’t get home. That’s all I live for, home and you. You are the most wonderful, marvellous, precious, beloved, lovable, adoring, adorable, charming, divine and loving sweetheart wife that has ever lived.”
The couple’s grandson, Dr Andrew Rowland, said the first the family knew of the extent of their correspondence was when they began to sort through the couple’s possessions after their death.
Dr Rowland, who lives in Manchester, says the letters form an interesting social history, with descriptions of life both on the front line and at home during the Second World War. But he said they also had immense personal value.
“I think these letters probably reflect the relationships they had,” he said.
“In one of my grandfather’s letters he said next time he came back they would get married. That’s exactly what happened. He had 48 hours leave and they got married on New Year’s Day in 1941.
“They got together in a very difficult period, in the 1930s and 40s, and very clearly felt so much about each other, but they wouldn’t be able to be together in the early days of their marriage so I think that’s partly why they are so emotional.”
He said his family now hoped to preserve the contents for posterity.
“I hope to get the contents of these letters copied before the ink fades, as they were written in fountain pen," he said.
“Aside from anything else, you won’t really see this kind of thing any more. “There’s a lot of things written on Facebook and Twitter, but I doubt very much anybody in the future will be able to produce a tea-chest of 250 handwritten letters during times of conflict. This is something that won’t occur again.”
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