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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 06:39 GMT
WWII army bag is found in desert
Photograph found in bag - Alec Ross on far left
Mr Ross (l) was a despatch rider in the Long Range Desert Group

A bag belonging to a World War II soldier from Lancashire has been discovered in the Egyptian desert after lying there for more than 60 years.

Alec Ross, from Burnley, lost the bag containing personal letters and photos, while serving with the 8th Army.

Egyptian tour guide Kahled Makram found the bag in the Sahara desert and traced Mr Ross's family through a BBC website on World War II.

The bag is being sent to Burnley to Mr Ross's sister, Irene Porter.

Mr Ross, who settled in Whaddon, Buckinghamshire, after the war and died three years ago at the age of 87, was a despatch rider in the Long Range Desert Group.

He would have been a little embarrassed about having had two girlfriends on the go
Irene Porter

According to Mrs Porter, who was only eight years old when he was serving in Egypt, her brother was a member of a unit known as Popski's Private Army, one of a number operating behind enemy lines.

She has been able to read the letters - sent by her parents, herself and her brother's two girlfriends - from photographs put onto disc by Mr Makram.

Mrs Porter, 75, of Burnley, said: "I was stunned when I found out about this and it is just incredible the way the bag has come to light.

"I will be so pleased when I can actually hold the letters in my hand and feel something my mother actually wrote to Alec all those years ago.

Letter found in the bag
Photos and letters were found in the bag which was lost 65 years ago

"I just wish the bag had been found a few years earlier so that Alec could have been reunited with its contents.

"He would have been thrilled, if a little embarrassed about having had two girlfriends on the go."

Tourist Geoff Kolbe, who helped track Mrs Porter down, is now trying to arrange for Mr Makram to go to Lancashire to personally hand the bag over.

Mr Kolbe said he was on a tour of the Sahara desert in the south west corner of Egypt at Gilf Kebir "when the guide happened to mention that he had recently found the bag of a soldier who had been serving in World War II lying in the sand.

"He said he had put some details on an internet search engine and had found Mrs Porter's account of her brother serving in Egypt but didn't know how to get in contact with her.

"When I returned home I contacted the website and managed to get hold of Mrs Porter to tell her about the find."


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