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Postcard Arrives 77 Years Late

The British postal service is generally pretty good, so what happened on this occasion?

In 1943, 18-year-old Bill Caldwell wrote a postcard to his uncle Fred in Liverpool describing his first week in the Royal Navy during World War II. The card finally arrived at Caldwell's family home 77 years later. Both Caldwell and his uncle have died, but a distant relative, Jack Elomaa, lives at the address and alerted Caldwell's six children to the postcard's arrival.

"It was the most surreal thing on a Friday night to suddenly read a postcard that Dad had written 77 years ago when he was training to be a sailor in the Navy," Caldwell's daughter, Joanna Creamer, told the BBC. Another daughter, Elizabeth, said "It's a crazy story and it's hard to believe. To get this little message from my dad felt like a really special thing for us all."

On the card, posted from the naval base in Plymouth on England's south coast, Caldwell expressed his excitement about the Navy, which he had wanted to join since he was 15. "Well I am in blue at last. I did not think it would be like this - you don't get much time for yourself, do you?" Caldwell wrote. The note continues: "But I like it alright. I will write a letter to you all when I get half a chance so will you hold on a bit? I have 19 weeks here yet. "Give my love to everyone."

In a statement to the BBC, a Royal Mail spokesperson said the postcard was "likely … put back into the postal system by someone recently, rather than being lost or stuck somewhere in the network."

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