Mystery behind wartime letters discovered inside old book addressed to Victoria woman solved after grandchildren found

Mystery behind wartime letters discovered inside old book addressed to Victoria woman solved after grandchildren found

WATCH:  In December we told you about a Vancouver man who – inside a second-hand book – discovered wartime letters addressed to a Victoria woman. Riddled with curiosity about the whole story, the man launched a search for family members. After the story aired, CHEK viewers helped find the woman’s grandchildren. We sent our reporter Luisa Alvarez to get the scoop and she discovered a surprise ending to the story. 

David Eden had a mystery on his hands after finding letters and postcards dating back to the Second World War inside a second-hand book. They were all addressed to a Victoria woman named Elizabeth Owen and signed by one person.

Eden thought the person could be a mystery lover since the Valentine-style postcards were coming from Ireland. Being a romantic himself, Eden let his imagination run wild.

“I would like to think that it was some sort of a romantic thing and that this wall of the Atlantic kept them apart,” Eden told CHEK News in December.

He wanted to find out the story and return the mementos to her living relatives. “It’s not my book to keep. It belongs to the family,” said Eden.

READ MORE: Second World War love letter addressed to Victoria woman found inside an old copy of ‘Gone with the Wind’ book

After that story aired Christmas Eve, it caught the attention of CHEK News viewer and Saanich PD Officer Graham Walker who ended up finding Elizabeth’s grandson 86 year-year-old Owen Erwin.

“First initial searches for who her family was were death certificates through B.C. Archives and then when we went back a couple generations, we found Mr.Erwin,” said Walker.

At first, when Owen received the call about the book, he was confused, but once he saw the initial story, he got excited “It’s always excited to get something from the past,” said Owen.

Owen lives in Vancouver as does his sister, Florence Erwin. Eden went to their home and showed them the book, letters, and postcards, finally solving his mystery.

“I love stories so for me to get that conclusion is pretty big,” said Eden.

Though it turned out there was no secret lover, the letters did tell a story of a different kind of love: a love between sisters.

“Her sister Wilhelmina also known as Aunt Mina,” said Elizabeth’s granddaughter Florence Erwin.

Elizabeth and her sisters immigrated to Canada in 1907 but her sister Mina ended up going back to Ireland.

The two were close and kept in touch writing to each other throughout the war.

“A little disappointed that it wasn’t a secret lover but you know at the same time, that’s kind of fun,” said Eden.

Elizabeth lived in Victoria until her death in 1948.

While not what he initially thought, Eden got his answers and Florence and her brother Owen, they were reunited with a piece of family history they didn’t even know was missing.

“We weren’t aware of it in any way shape or form,” said Florence.

She said the postcards and letters will be added to her collection of family memories.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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