When it comes to dealing with love, the heart wants what it wants. We often don’t get a say on the matter: we are victims of our emotions. However, sometimes those emotions can lead us into dark, damaging and downright dangerous experiences.
Other times, it leaves us filled with heartfelt pain and loss: an inability to move on from that love.
When a 99-year-old grandmother, then, received a love letter, she was obviously a little surprised. However, it came from her fiancée during the Second World War – sent some 77 years before it finally arrived.
Phyllis Ponting, from Wiltshire in England, had never expected to hear from Bill Walker ever again.
Serving in India during the war, he never responded to her letters sent back – including the one where she accepted his marriage proposal. All of that time has passed, and now the reply to her has finally been found cast adrift at the bottom of the ocean.
The ship carrying the letter back to the UK was sunk off the coast of Galway in 1944 by German boats. Sadly, nobody knows what happened to Mr. Walker or whether he was a survivor of the Indian conflict.
While Phyllis was lucky to find love again with Jim Holloway, with whom she had four children, she always said that she wondered what happened to her Bill, saying:
“I can’t believe the letter was at the bottom of the sea and now I can read it. I don’t think Bill can have survived the war, otherwise, he would have been straight round to my address in Roseland Avenue.
“We would have been married. He loved me a lot.”
A Long-Term Casualty Of War
Indeed, the letter was one of around 700 which was found within the wreck by archaeologists looking for stuff off the Irish coast. The letter was found aboard the wreckage of the SS Gairsoppa.
Thanks to a feature on The One Show, a popular BBC TV show, the letter was eventually tracked down to be meant for Phyllis and was eventually delivered via the London Postal Museum’ representatives.
She’s also been given a copy of the letter to keep as a memento to the love that she lost. While the loss is obviously tragic, we would imagine that it is comforting to know that, at the very least, Phyllis and Bill were as keen one another as they had always believed.