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Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Hellooooooooooo folks !

I've been playing hookey.

Being a bit of a social butterfly
 as all the little activities that I do have finally started up again after the Summer holiday break.
It's nice to be back in stride again.

Now, today I have what I think is a very interesting story for you.

Way back in 1916 a young man joined the Australian Army to go off to fight in WWI. He set sail for the war with his battalion from Melbourne and as he sailed away from those Australian shores he quickly wrote a short note on a government issued letter card to a girl he knew (we don't know if she was a girlfriend or just a friend).

He  rolled this note up and placed it in a bottle and threw it overboard leaving it bobbing around in the ocean.

We don't know whether he returned or whether he was killed in that terrible war. We don't even know his name as we are unable to decipher it, but one day the girl he wrote that note in the bottle to, received, in the mail, a letter containing the note from the bottle!!!

This is it.

Note that he says there were no stamps available !!!
 (or letter boxes I'm afraid !!!)

The back contains a blessing for those young men.
If you scan it you will note that it can be sung to the tune of the British National Anthem which of course was our National Anthem at that time.

Yes, the bottle had washed up onto the shore and someone had picked it up and noticed the note there inside the bottle. As the letter included the girl's address the finder placed it into an envelope and posted it on with an explanation of how it was found.

 If you click on any of these photos you will be able to enlarge them and read the beautiful old cursive script.
( It was called Copperplate writing when I went to school. )

This is what the letter in the bottle said:

SS Nestor

Dear Dorothy,
                      This is the day after our departure and I am throwing this note overboard in a bottle - Perhaps fate will carry it to your hands.
I saw you and Miss ....... when the launch was following the Nestor. I was waving to you through a port hole but could not attract your attention.
I have been made a Troop-Deck Sergeant of our unit and beyond the duties attached to that job have nothing else to do- although perhaps it is a bit early to speak.
I was sorry to go away without seeing Kathy but it couldn't be helped.
Well I hope this finds you. Good luck to all in the family.
Yours very sincerely
That girl was Tony's great aunt who later married a returned soldier who had been gassed during that terrible war. He was not the soldier who wrote the letter in the bottle and we have no more information about this curious event.

Tony's aunt died about ten years ago when she was 107 and I did not hear this story till we found the letter amongst all of her valued possessions.

Isn't it an amazing story?

I'm linking in with Shay's Favourite Things Friday as finding out these stories about our family's past is one of my favourite things.



  1. It is an amazing story - and what an age she lived to!

  2. Wow! How amazing. Tony obviously has the long lived genes on his side of the family too.

  3. How lovely. The beautiful writing is what strikes me, it is certainly of a byegone age.

  4. That's OK. I think we have all been playing a little hokey lately. This is an amazing post. I so love reading all the details. 107 really. What a great long life.

    Oh, by the way, not officially WW, but very close to it. 12 down so far. With many many more to go.

  5. I am impressed that the person who found it, mailed it forward. Truly a very nice person.

  6. That's a romantic and wonderful story. I'd be itching to know who sent that letter originally!

  7. Such a beautiful story - make sure it is handed down for many more generations to come.
    Made me jump straight onto the War Memorial site to have a quick scan with what I could read - Nestor and "owell" - just as a maybe came up with Powell - see here

    Just for starters

  8. Very heart-warming and beautiful.

  9. Amazing story. What a great family story to pass down to the next generation.

  10. I have to agree with Shay, I would have to know who sent that letter. You could ask someone who works with old records to decifer it for you. Search her name on the National Achives of Australia website, loads of original handwritten military enlistments , even with photographs, & best of all she could come up as next of kin. Could be informative. Then again...sometimes the stone is better left unturned.

  11. What a wonderful story. Last year when clearing out my aunts house I found a letter that my granny wrote to her about a year after I was born. It was ordinary and chatty but I love having it as I never met my Granny, she died shortly afterwards.

  12. Yes. That is an amazing story. I could almost imagine a film being built upon it. Tony's aunt must have known who the message writer was and a part of her heart must have been reserved for him. Otherwise, why would she have treasured it all those years? Thank heavens it didn't just get thrown away with other remains of her life. And thank you for sharing it.

  13. Amazing, wouldn't it be more amazing if the final pieces of the puzzle could be found. Great FTF.

  14. What an amazing story! I so love real historic family memoirs. You have something very special.

  15. An amazing story, and wonderful that you have these.

  16. Great story and thank you for passing it on to us.

  17. I love real life stories like this from our past. How amazing and thanks for sharing it Helen.

  18. Absolutely fascinating. What a mystery.
    I guess you can see that the last word at the bottom is the short form of the word 'Sergeant'