The Lost Letter
// December 27th, 2012 // Lost Objects
The Letter is Sent
On September 22, 1918, days before the end of World War I, George Kemp penned a letter to his 9 year-old nephew Donald Templeton from deep within the trenches in embattled France. After mailing the letter, George returned to his unruly surroundings to continue his fight to survive the perils of World War I. In the final days of the war George lost that fight and was killed in action. His letter it seems was lost too. While postal authorities concede that thousands of letters are lost each year, what’s unusual about this case is that the letter did eventually reach its destination – 63 years later.
On July 6, 1981, the letter arrived in Buffalo, New York. The original recipient, George Kemp’s nephew Mr. Templeton, had longed since moved away to a new home in Florida. The new residents graciously tracked him down and forwarded the letter to the now 72 year-old ‘boy’.
Postal authorities believe the letter may have spent decades possibly lodged in some piece of furniture only to be discovered when the furniture was moved or scrapped. At that time the letter would have received a special stamp explaining the long delay and sent along its way. What they could not explain was why this particular lost article did not bear any such stamp. Nor can they explain the mysterious postmarks – on in 1918, one 9 years later in 1927, and the final cancellation mark in 1981 when the letter was finally delivered to its original recipient.
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