First World War soldier's touching postcards home to Sunderland sweetheart found by couple from Keswick, who want to track down living relatives

A lovestruck soldier’s poignant postcards to his Wearside sweetheart have been discovered – more than 100 years after they were written.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 12:10 pm

And now Sunderland Echo followers have been asked to play their part by helping to uncover more details of the story of the First World War doting couple Alf Rodenby and Hannah Walker.

Private Rodenby wrote the sweetest messages to the one he loved while he was serving away from home.

Messages such as ‘Good night sweetheart and God be with you. Till we meet again. I am singing it now for you and me’ were contained in his correspondece.

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A selection of the lovely postcards.

It has been uncovered by Vic Gibson and his wife Karin, who run the Vintage at Maysons shop in Keswick.

They bought the collection of memorabilia at an antiques fair a month ago and Vic said: “I was going to put them out for sale but they struck a chord with me.

"I suspect there might be a really touching story behind it all.”

Vic said he would love to find the third or fourth-generation descendants of the sweethearts and has enlisted the help of the Sunderland Echo in the search.

He added: “I have a collection of nine First World War embroidered postcards sent from the front line in France by a British soldier to his sweetheart in Sunderland.”

Another of Private Rodenby’s messages reads: “To my loving sweetheart in Blighty. From the one she loves." And: "Dear heart. Don't worry about me because I will be in the pink. Only hope for the best and God spare us to get home again."

Although little is known about the couple, Hannah’s address was in Ellricks Quay in the East End.

As well as postcards, there was embroidered messages with the words ‘All Kind Thoughts’, ‘To My Dear Sweetheart’ and ‘Far From You But Thinking Of You’.

Vic and Karin Gibson who discovered the postcards.

Can anyone help in the search to find out more about Hannah Walker and Private Alf Rodenby?

If anyone has more details, or may think they are related to Hannah or Alf, we would love them to get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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Such sweet letters from Private Alf Rodenby to his sweetheart Hannah Walker in Sunderland.
The finest detail adorned this message which was sent home to 'Blighty'.
The collection of postcards which has been shared with the Echo by Vic and Karin Gibson.