Family is reunited with tragic First World War letter

The 99-year-old letter has been reunited with the original Leeds family. Pic: James Hardisty.
The 99-year-old letter has been reunited with the original Leeds family. Pic: James Hardisty.
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A HEART-WRENCHING letter written during the First World War has united two families from across the globe.

The 99-year-old letter was written by Seaman Sid Preston and addressed to Gertrude Sienesi – the wife of his shipmate Stephen Charles Sienesi, who died during the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

The emotional letter explains how the dying man’s last words were to his colleague, asking him to write to his wife in Leeds and tell her what had happened.

The couple had only been married seven months before his death.

It reads: “Your loving husband passed away at 4am on June 1, 1916, through wounds received whilst in battle.”

It continues: “He died the death of a hero while fighting for his king, home and country and he is greatly missed by all who knew him.”

The letter became lost some years later, but was recently re-discovered by another family in the bottom of an old record box. Peter Broadley, 72, who is originally from Leeds but now lives in Australia, took to the internet in a bid to reunite the original family with the letter.

After posting it online, it was spotted by a relative, and Mr Broadley flew over from Australia to visit Mrs Sienesi’s niece, Joyce Dickinson, in Leeds to hand over the letter.

Ms Dickinson, 90, said: “It was quite emotional. I’d never heard my aunt speak of this letter, and we don’t know how it became lost but it’s nice to have this piece of family history back. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland and we hope there will be a celebration to mark the event because it was one of the decisive battles of the First World War.”

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