VJ Day: Daughter of WW2 prisoner of war shares final letter

  • Published
The letterImage source, PA Media/Gornell family
Image caption,
L/Cpl Ambrose wrote the letter in 1942 before he was captured

The daughter of a World War Two soldier has shared online her father's final letter to her mother.

L/Cpl James Ambrose, 29, died a PoW in Rangoon Jail, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, after being captured by Japanese forces on 8 November 1943.

Before being captured he wrote to his daughter Valerie Gornell, from Cumbria, saying she was "worth fighting for."

Her mother only showed her the letter 60 years later. Mrs Gornell, now 79, has shared it on a memorial site.

Image source, PA Media/Gornell family
Image caption,
The letter was sent in a birthday card

L/Cpl Ambrose served in the Liverpool King's Regiment and had been operating behind enemy lines as part of a Commonwealth force known as the Chindits.

In the letter, sent with a birthday card to his 19-month-old girl, he wrote: "To my daughter, one of the two things worth fighting for.

"How nice it will be when we get to know each other properly.

"But cheer up my dear, the day is not far off when your mummy will say: 'Daddy is coming home today'.

"Till then my dear, may God watch over you and your mother."

Mrs Gornell said she wanted to share the letter before the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the day Japan surrendered to Allied forces on 15 August 1945.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
L/Cpl Ambrose was 29 when he died in a prisoner of war camp

It has been posted on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's online Wall of Remembrance.

Mrs Gornell said her mother Lucy Ambrose showed her the letter just before she died at the age of 85.

"It wasn't until after the war was over that my mother was informed of his death", she said.

"She was so distraught and never remarried. I learnt from an early age never to mention the war.

"And then suddenly, almost 60 years later, mum handed me a box in which she'd kept a birthday card my father had sent from India."

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