Reflections by award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett, author of many books about the sea
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010
POSTCARD FROM THE PAST
Manawatu collector of militaria, Trevor Richards, scooped a marvelous moment while leafing through a book he had bought for $2.
The Manawatu Standard reports that a postcard penned in 1945 fell out of the pages of the book, which was the story of Charles Upham, the famous Kiwi who was awarded the Victoria Cross not once, but twice. Having bought the book, called Mark of the Lion, at a second-hand sale in Waikanae, Mr Richards did not expect the postcard to be anything more than a bookmark -- until he read the message, and realized that it had been written by Upham's wife-to-be, Molly McTamney.
Captain Charles Upham was awarded his first VC for exceptional bravery in Crete, in 1941, and the second for his actions during the attack on Ruweisat Ridge in the Desert War, in 1942.
He and Miss McTamney had been engaged for seven years when the postcard was written in Paris, and sent to a Wellington woman. They married shortly afterward, in Hampshire, in southern England.