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Journey of a wooden cross, from Bermuda to Leicester
Wooden cross
The cross was made from wooden ruins of a church in Bermuda

As part of the 'History of the World' project, BBC Leicester are looking for the remarkable stories behind objects.

Miranda Ponsonby has a fascinating tale to tell of the travels of a small wooden cross, which was made from the ruins of a burnt-out Bermuda church.

She inherited the cross from her mother who sailed to Bermuda in 1920 in the company of her two cousins who were "rather wild young naval officers".

While there, Miranda's mother fell in love with a wounded officer.

They only had a short time together before the young World War One soldier died of his injuries.

The cross travels

During World War Two Miranda's family lived opposite Harrods and she can clearly remember sheltering under Knightbridge underground station during air-raids.

Her mother would always bring along the wooden cross in preference to any jewellery, as if it was her most valuable possession.

Miranda Ponsonby with her mother's wooden cross
I remember it getting knocked off the table by at snake at one point and getting broken onto this floor
Miranda Ponsonby

Later Miranda believes her mother was involved in the French Resistance, always taking the little cross with her on secret missions.

The Resistance was formed from cells of French people who resented the German occupation and the cooperation of the Vichy government after the country surrendered in 1940.

British agents infiltrated France to rally support for the Resistance movement and aid the fight against Nazi rule.

Miranda only knew some of the truth about her mother's life in France when her possessions, including the cross, were returned to London after she met a violent death in Germany.

"From that minute onwards have kept that cross."

She carried the cross through her time in the army, her marriage, and the sex change that saw her transition from male Rhodri to female Miranda.

"I remember it getting knocked off the table by at snake at one point and getting broken onto this floor.

"And then when I was in the army, in the desert, I took it with me always."

Find about more about Miranda's, including her earlier life as Rhodri, in our feature: Miranda's story


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