FAMILY: Leslie Cave with dog Silver and his five children, Terry, Peter, Lesley, Ken and Christopher.
FAMILY: Leslie Cave with dog Silver and his five children, Terry, Peter, Lesley, Ken and Christopher. Contributed

Letters from the Front find way home 100 years later

AN OVERSEAS appeal to find the descendants of a fallen World War I soldier has ended successfully, with his relatives found in Tweed Heads.

An appeal by UK-based Audrey Tildesley, of Staffordshire in England, for any potential descendants of Leslie Cave was published in the Tweed Daily News on March 7.

Ms Tildesley was searching for the Cave family to pass on 11 letters from her great uncle, William Henry Cave (known as Harry), who was based in France during the First World War between 1916 and 1918.

Harry was the father of Leslie, who was sent to live in Australia after his father was killed in France in June 1918.

A letter from Leslie, dated Murwillumbah 1977, had given Ms Tildesley hope of tracing Mr Cave's family to return the letters to them.

Brett Cave, the grandson of Leslie, said he was overseas when he received a phone call from a friend who had read the article.

"It was amazing,” Mr Cave said.

"I was in Thailand when a guy I used to work with 23 years ago contacted me through Facebook and said 'I think somebody is trying to find you'.

"He sent me a link to the newspaper article and we recognised a picture of my grandparents' wedding day. It was quite exciting.”

Mr Cave soon contacted Ms Tildesley and the pair have shared family stories.

Leslie Cave on his wedding day with Veronica Ellen Barnes.
Leslie Cave on his wedding day with Veronica Ellen Barnes. contributed

Mr Cave said his grandfather, Leslie, had settled in Murwillumbah after being sent to Australia as a teenager. He married Veronica Barnes and the couple had five children, 18 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren who are all over Australia.

"Our family is huge,” said Mr Cave, who already had a large collection of his great-grandfather's war memorabilia.

"It's incredible, our whole family is so pleased that these letters still exist. we just can't wait to read them.”

Mr Cave said his grandfather did several jobs throughout his life including work on farms and as a milkman. He was known as a community champion who started a soccer team in the area, with Les Cave Oval in Murwillumbah named in his honour. Leslie died in his sleep in 2004 at the age of 92.

Ms Tildesley, who was given the letters by her parents after they were passed down from her grandparents, will be returning the fragile and fading letters as soon as possible.

The medals belonging to Harry Cave.
The medals belonging to Harry Cave. contributed


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