THE family of a British soldier killed in World War Two have finally received a letter he wrote days before his death.
Private Harry Cole, 30, sent it to mum Rosa in 1940 during the retreat to Dunkirk, France — telling her: “Please don’t worry about me, I shall get through it OK.”
He was also optimistic that German troops would soon be “on the run” and “back in Germany in double quick time.” He was shot dead three days later.
His letter was among a batch of 50 found by a German officer who kept them in his attic until 1968, when he gave them to the British embassy.
Harry’s letter stayed in an archive for decades until a council research assistant from his village of Hasketon, Suffolk, recognised the name.
Two of Harry’s six brothers are still alive. One, 87-year-old Clemmie, still lives at the family’s old home. He said: “I was quite moved to read his words.”
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He added: “When he was away fighting, my mother said she suddenly saw his face appear at her bedroom window one night. She told my father to look, but it had gone.
“She always thought that it was his spirit visiting the house on the day he was killed.”
Extracts from Pte Cole’s letter and six others sent by troops and lost at the same time are in an online exhibition, called With Love From Dunkirk, put on by Suffolk Archives and Suffolk Artlink in a project funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
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