This Red Cross postcard falling through their letterbox was the moment when my grandparents knew for certain that my father was alive. He had been taken prisoner at the fall of Tobruk on the 21st June 1942. Unfortunately the postcard is not dated but I have two letters from the War Office. One dated the 17th July stating that my father was missing-in-action and then one on the 7th September stating he was a prisoner of war. So it was at least two months before they knew he was definitely alive.
This is what it says:
My dear Mummy,
I am alright (I have not been wounded). I am a prisoner of the Italians and I am being treated well.
Shortly I shall be transferred to a prisoner’s camp and I will let you have my new address.
Only then will I be able to receive letters from you and to reply
With love from Bobby
What a relief it must have been for them to receive this. It’s not surprising that they could never bring themselves to throw this postcard away. Nor could my mother when she was clearing out the house after my grandparents died. These kinds of documents come down through the generations for a reason.
I can’t help but find it incredibly touching and I love the Italian version of ‘with love’ – SALUTI AFFETTUOSI.
Their son was alive!