One woman had a glimpse of the past by receiving a letter that was delivered to her 77 years ago. The story goes as follows.
A 99-year-old grandmother named Phyllis Ponting has received a letter from her former fiancé exactly 77 years after he went missing in the Second World War. The letter was found at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. It was rescued from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and it is presumed that the ship that was transporting it has sunk in 1941.
Ponting’s fiancé, Bill Walker, was serving with the Wiltshire Regiment in India and in the last letter he received from Pointing was her acceptance of the marriage proposal.
According to Independent, the letter the woman got a little too late contained the excitement of Walker after she accepted the proposal. However, after receiving no response, she thought he had already changed his mind.
Walker recalls on the letter how he ‘wept with joy’ when he found out she had accepted. We wrote:
I wish you could have been there when I opened it.
The letter that was found, was the last one that Walker wrote to Ponting before he went missing in the Second World War. Ponting still does not know whether Walker survived the War. However, she said:
I don’t think Bill can have survived the war, otherwise, he would have been straight round to my address in Roseland Avenue.
She married another man named Jim Holloway and they had four children together. After he passed away some years later, she went on to marry Reginald Ponting. She explains how different her life would have been if she had received the letter all those years ago.
We would have been married. He loved me a lot.
Pictured below: Bill Walker.
The pair met while Walker was stationed in Devizes. “If you could only know how happy it made me, darling,” he writes in the letter.
The letter was rescued by marine archaeologists who were looking for silver. The team found hundreds of personal letters, one of which was also Walker’s letter to Ponting.
The letters are now being showcased as part of a new exhibition called Voices from the Deep at the Postal Museum in London. The curator of the museum, Shaun Kingsley admitted it’s the largest collection of letters to have survived any shipwreck ever ‘since people started to write’. He said:
It shouldn’t have been preserved, but because there was no light, there was no oxygen, it was darkness, it was like putting a collection of organics in a tin can, sealing it up and putting it in a fridge freezer.
Ponting has been given a copy of his letter to keep for herself.