Mystery of pre-war love letters rescued from canal

love letters from a soldier to his sweetheart – covering their courtship and marriage, and his reassurances about the impending Second World War – have been recovered from a canal.

Police are at a loss to explain the discovery of a writing box containing the 20 deeply personal letters found floating in the water near to the entrance of the River Ness in Inverness.

The letters were written by a Robert Wright, based at Catterick Barracks with 2nd Yorkshire Regiment, to a Miss Sarah-Rose Paterson in Inverness, starting from Hogmanay 1933 up to just before the Second World War.

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One is an attempt to reassure his lover that he was not afraid at the prospect of war breaking out. The box also contained their wedding invitation and congratulatory telegrams, showing that the pair got married on 31 July, 1937, at Columba Hotel in Inverness. Miss Paterson was an MA and is believed to have been a teacher.

But after extensive efforts to trace relatives, Northern Constabulary has appealed for help in a bid to place the belongings into the hands of the rightful owners.

One of the letters, just before the outbreak of war, reads: “So you know, [I am] not the least (underline) bit scared. Just ache to get on with it and long for you so so much. Bye bye my darling.”

Willie Sharp, the force’s lost property officer, said: “These letters are so sentimental, so much so you can’t read some of them any further. They are so personal and lovely.”