Daughter of Second World War soldier from Fareham reunited with lost items thanks to a Southsea property owner and an amateur historian

THE daughter of a Second World War soldier has been reunited with her father's long-lost items from the war thanks to an appeal by The News and an amateur historian.

Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 12:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 12:47 pm
From left, Francis Miller, Carole Taylor and Simon Evetts with the memorabilia found at Francis' property in Southsea

After years of collecting dust, countless items of memorabilia, including an Escape from Colditz board game, gas mask, a soldier’s record book and copies of The News from 1939, found in a student house in Southsea have been returned to its rightful owner.

In December last year Francis Miller appealed to historians for help after discovering a variety of items belonging to H.Hancock of Birdwood Grove, Fareham and Private RG Hancock in the loft of a student property he owns in Heidelberg Road.

The 32-year-old said he has owned the house for about four years but this was the first time he had properly been in the loft.

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Francis Miller (32) was clearing out his attic at a property he rents out to students in Southsea, and came across a World War 2 gas mask and papers for a 1940s conscript. Picture: Sarah Standing (180875-3875)

He added: ‘I went through it all and found hundreds of newspapers from around the Second World War, there were magazines, a project and lots of books on Hitler.’

Shortly after an article in The News, Mr Miller was contacted by Simon Evetts, an amateur historian, who was able to track down the daughter of the Hancocks, Carole Taylor.

The trio met up so the items could be returned to Carole, 69, from Fareham.

Mr Evetts, 41, from Scratchface Lane Bedhampton, has an army heavy background and prides himself in reuniting people with long-lost items from the Second World War.

Francis Miller (32) was clearing out his attic at a property he rents out to students in Southsea, and came across a World War 2 gas mask and papers for a 1940s conscript. Picture: Sarah Standing (180875-3892)

He said: 'It was extremely rewarding to reunite these priceless memorabilia with their rightful owner.

'It was such an emotional experience and was amazing to see how happy she was.'

Carole added: ‘There were memories for me that I could remember from when I was a child.

‘It was just so surprising and such an emotional evening.’

She said it was great to get photos because she did not have many of herself from when she was young.

Simon combined information from his 'Force's War' account and his mother's ancestry account, and used the information to work through the original owners’ family tree.

He has voluntarily completed ten projects similar to this one in the last 10 months.

For more information regarding the work he does on world war history, his website is mymilitary.co.uk