WWII Love Letters Found And Returned To Family Nearly 80 Years Later

Nearly 80 years after they were first written, a collection of love letters were returned to the descendants of World War II Veteran Claude Marsten Smythe. In a twist of events, and through a guest of the Kelly Clarkson show, the daughter of a WWII Vet was reunited with a piece of her parents. The daughter, Carol Bohlin – who now resides in Tinmouth, Vermont, was completely caught off guard and surprised by the finding, and return of the letters she had never known about.

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The letters’ origins:
Claude Marsten Smythe and his wife Marie Borgal Smythe of Staten Island, New York, had sent letters back and forth to one another while Claude served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. This, as we know, was the only form of communication the pair, like many others of the time, had at the time. In the letters, Claude was seen to worry about his wife Marie and inquire about family and friends while serving in the war. Looking about on the letters their daughter, and others who saw them, mentioned that these letters seemed to be a lifeline for Claude as he served in the Navy.

Though after Claude returned from the war, and brought his portion of letters that his wife had sent him back home with him, Claude and his wife Marie stored them in the attic hidden in the wall.

The letters’ discovery:
The Smythe family moved from the home in 1974 after Claude passed away. And in 1995 the home was purchased by Dottie Kearney and her husband. The new owners of the home began renovations of the home when they discovered a letter behind a wall that seemed to have slipped from the attic.

This was when Dottie Kearney found the letters and vowed to, one day, find their owner. At the time she couldn’t find any personal information on the letters or anywhere to find an address or contact information for their owners so she kept them for years vowing to find the owners at some point.

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The return:
After Dottie and her husband sold the home and moved amongst packing and unpacking she found the letters again. Reigniting her search for their owners. But it wasn’t until 28 years after she originally found the letters that she saw New-York based heirloom hunter Chelsey Brown on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and knew she would be able to find their owners.

Dottie reached out to Chelsey Brown and luckily got a response. They were able to track down Carol Bohlin’s son on MyHerritage.com and through him, they were able to get into contact with Carol and return the letters to the owner’s descendent.

Since the return:
Carol has enjoyed receiving the letters which discuss her family, terms, phrases, and people she hadn’t heard in years. To her, it feels like her family is back in the room with her when she reads the letters.

The letters themselves were kept in extraordinary condition and clearly cared for. As a prized possession by both Claude and Marie during a time when the small 3×5 letters meant so much to so many.

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1 month ago

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