An elderly Scunthorpe man said he “couldn’t believe it” when he opened a book he bought from a charity shop to discover a note written during World War II – by none other than one of his childhood neighbours.
Bernard Duff, 93, of Gunness Lane, bought the book Britain at War from a charity shop and was flicking through it the day after when he made the amazing discovery.
The note, which was written in 1942 and tucked just inside the book cover, reads: “The time at which this is being written is 5:10pm. The war is not troubling us much. We have had very few bombs here.
We are having a bit of trouble with rations, but are able to overcome the difficulty pretty well. I am sitting by the fire and haven’t been to school, owing for a touch of flu.”
A second person’s handwriting is scrawled at the bottom of the paper, and appears to be by the original writer’s daughter. It states that Barbara Godden (Donald) wrote the note in around 1942 aged 14, and goes on to state: “It was mum who suffered! Giving up food secretly to provide for family”.
Bernard told Scunthorpe Live he was shocked to discover the note in the first place, and even more so when he realised it was written by one of his childhood neighbours who he had known from the age of six.
He said: “I bought the book from a charity shop, it’s to do with the blitz and it’s called Britain at War. The day after I bought it, I was flicking through and the book had come out of its socket, and the note was just inside the cover.
“It was evidently done on another piece of paper from another book. I turned it over and I read it and saw the name Barbara Godden, and I thought, ‘hello, hello’. I knew her from six years old onwards, she was three houses away from me on Hornsby Crescent.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I was showing it to my carer and I said, ‘She lived three doors away from me’.”
Bernard said the last time he saw Barbara was around 20 years ago, and that he’d like to reunite her with the note – but suspects she has sadly passed away.
“I’d like to find her, but I have an idea that she might not be with us. She’d be 96 now,” he said.
“I’d like to find her family and give the note to them because it’s a piece of history.
“I did think, it’s typical of Barbara, because she was always very interested in poetry and had one or two published in the Scunthorpe Telegraph. She was a lovely person. Very, very nice.”
Are you related to Barbara Godden, who was later known as Barbara Donald? Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Original artice: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/all-about/scunthorpe