The belongings of a young British Army private slain during World War I were cracked open recently. The astonishingly well-preserved time capsule was sealed for 98 years before a nephew of the deceased solider decided to crack open the briefcase.
Inside the century old case belonging to Pvt. Edward Ambrose was a photo of the soldier, a picture of his girlfriend, a letter from his parents, a cigarette case with roll-ups inside, and even a piece of the shrapnel that took his life.
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The family members who opened the case were touched by the story told by the items within.
“It is a very moving, especially the letters,” said John Ambrose. “The father-to-son letter that my grandfather wrote to my uncle [reproduced on the right] is particularly special.”
An excerpt from that letter reads “We will all pray to God for you and for your safe return home again. Take care of this letter and read it sometimes and then you won’t forget what I have asked of you.”
The case was inherited by the sister of Pvt. Ambrose and passed on to his nephews upon her passing. The nephews had the inclination to open the case after hearing a request asking for World War I items to be displayed in an exhibit marking the 100 year anniversary of World War I.
Historian Dan Hill from the Herts at War project was impressed by the belongings as well.
“This is a really moving story,” Herts said. “He went out to France in February 1916 but spent most of the time in and out of hospital. He returned to the trenches just at the wrong time. His was a very short war. He got to the last stop before coming home but never made it.”