I was moved by an article, a tragic love story featured in the United Church’s Observer this month edition with the title, “Forever Yours.” A writer, Christine Estima found a stack of love letters in a box in a Toronto market. The letters were written by someone named Edward Northern during World War Two. As an avid collector of old love letters, Christine bought the letters with $14, and began to pursue the secret of the love letters. Edward was a flight lieutenant stationed overseas with the 420 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Based out of Tholthorpe in Yorkshire, England, his squadron was integral to the war effort, performing tactical bombing operations, many of them night raids, over Germany and occupied Europe. Edward’s letters, however, reveal a different side of him; they are penned lovingly to his sweetheart, Margaret Usher. Every letter is signed with a variation of “I love you dearly” or “Forever yours” or “With all my everlasting love.”
The last letter from Edward that Christine has in her procession is dated Feb. 28, 1944. The final words are “Keep those big brown eyes smiling. I love you.” Curious about what happened after that, Christine began to search for more stories behind the letters. Edward’s declassified military file explains the sudden end to his letter writing. He flew into enemy skies on the night of April 30, 1944, and disappeared along with the rest of his squadron. He was 26. Tragically, Edward was scheduled for leave after he completed his last mission. Instead, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and his name was included along with 20,450 others on the Runnymede Memorial in England for Second World War airmen whose bodies were never recovered. On July 3, 1943, he wrote, “Remember what we were at the Uptown on those last few days before I left? The organ played, ‘We’ll Meet Again.”…. Believe me, we will.”
To read the whole story, you can visit the website https://www.ucobserver.org/ Or you might want to consider subscribing to this excellent award-winning magazine.