Naval veteran finds WWI letter in box

The old letter written by a son to his mother in the First World War.
The old letter written by a son to his mother in the First World War. Allan Reinikka

WHEN Rockhampton navy veteran Robert Porter purchased a box from a local garage sale years ago, he certainly didn't expect to find a First World War relic in it.

The tattered paper with old-fashioned handwriting slanting across the page is a reminder of an era when letters were the basis of all communication.

The letter is believed to be written by a young soldier during World War I, between 1914 and 1918, making it at least 95 years old.

The letter consists of a poem with multiple verses in which the soldier in service attempts to describe the hardship experienced, but still reassure his mother of his safe homecoming.

"We shall not be long in coming home, to Mother dear; home to you," he wrote.

Mr Porter enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy at 17 and served for nine years from 1958 to 1967.

Now at 72 years of age, he still recalls his travels around Australia and the world on the navy ships - being away for months and months at a time.

Mr Porter said when he discovered the letter he felt a glow of pride and could relate to the young soldier.

"I know what it's like to have served your country and to miss loved ones," he said.

With Anzac Day just around the corner, he urged people in the community to stop, remember and respect those who are currently and have previously served for our country.

He intends to donate the letter to the Rockhampton and District Historical Society to add to their collection of artefacts housed in the former Borough Chambers in North Rockhampton.

Topics:  anzac day editors picks letter letterbox navy veteran world war i

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