Ken and Merilyn Gilmore got a birthday card from Ken’s father, Sam Gilmore, sent in 1945 from a Japanese prisoner of war camp to his brother-in-law.
Ken and Merilyn Gilmore got a birthday card from Ken’s father, Sam Gilmore, sent in 1945 from a Japanese prisoner of war camp to his brother-in-law.

POW card delivered 65 years later

A BIRTHDAY card more than 65 years old has finally found a home in Bray Park.

Tweed residents Ken and Merilyn Gilmore said they got goose bumps when the birthday card, sent from Mr Gilmore’s father from a Japanese prisoner of war camp in 1945, arrived in the mail earlier this year.

His father, Sam Gilmore, fashioned the card from the pages of a book he originally stole from the Japanese and turned into a diary during his three years at Changi Camp.

Mrs Gilmore said she was pleased to have the missing birthday card in time for Anzac Day tomorrow.

“We got a call one day from a lady in England last year who had discovered it there, she said it just fell out of a box at a car boot sale. I thought it was some kind of hoax, it was unbelievable,” Mrs Gilmore said.

“She did some research with Sam’s POW number and the Australian War Memorial to discover we were his living relatives.”

“We always knew he had the diary. We’ve got the original and the War Memorial have a photocopy. I will be sure to pass this on to them now as well.

“We won’t be letting this out of our sights now though.”

Mrs Gilmore said she had no idea the card existed until she received the call.

“It’s great to have it in time for Anzac Day. It is always an important day to us because we remember Sam and all that he did,” she said.

The card was originally sent from Sam to his brother-in-law, Fred Frost in Byron Bay in 1945, but did not receive it as he was also serving in the Australian Army in France at the time.

Mrs Gilmore said she was unsure how the card ended up in England.

“Fred was originally from England so maybe they tried to send it to him there after Byron Bay,” she said.

“We’re very thankful to the lady who found it. She could have thrown it away instead of going to the trouble she did to find us.”

Sam Gilmore served in the Australian Army as part of the 2-20 Battalion.



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