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Last Updated: Friday, 31 December, 2004, 18:08 GMT
Vital letter 60 years 'too late'
Ken McKernan
Ken McKernan thought his mother had forgotten him
An old soldier has received a heartbreaking letter 60 years after it could have changed his life.

Ken McKernan, 79, from Liverpool, should have received his mother's letter while he was serving with the Royal Fusiliers in World War II.

Mr McKernan, who was brought up by relatives after his mother emigrated to the US when he was a boy, thought she had forgotten about him.

"If only I had known I would have definitely gone to join her," he said.

The letters from his mother, written in 1944, ended up in a cigar box in a Dutch museum before they were returned to him after an international search to track down the author via relatives in the USA.

They expressed a mother's love he never knew.

"When I did not receive any mail from my mother I presumed she'd forgotten about me," he said.

"My life could have been a totally different story."
It is heartbreaking to read my mother's words from all those years ago
Ken McKernan

He added: "The first thing I saw when I opened the bundle were the words, 'My Darling Son'. I wept when I read the content."

His mother, who died eight years ago, moved from the family home in Liverpool to America when he was a youngster.

He remained in the UK with relatives as he did not want to be uprooted from his friends.

"It is heartbreaking to read my mother's words from all those years ago," he said.

"It has given me some peace to know that she was thinking about me at that time."

Ken McKernan
The letters were found in a Dutch museum
Mr McKernan was 19 when he landed on Juno beach in Normandy during the D-Day landings.

He also fought in Holland during the war but has no idea how the letters found their way to the museum.

The correspondence included two long-lost letters sent by his mother from her home in New York which are signed "Goodnight and God be with you, all my love, your loving mother".

The bundle also included a number of letters and photographs sent by a sweetheart.

"I was astonished when I was told about the letters, I couldn't quite believe it until I'd seen them for myself.

"I have no idea how they ended up in Holland and why I never received them.

"They are obviously very treasured possessions and I am so happy they have finally reached me - even if it is 60 years late."


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