Appeal to return Second World War love letters to couple’s descendants

By Rosemary Collins, 18 December 2019 - 10:02am

A Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine reader is seeking the family of Robert and Margaret Raven to return their love letters

Robert Raven Margaret Blyth love letter South Africa Second World War
One of the air mail letters, dated 14 August 1945

The love letters of a Second World War airman and his future wife have been rediscovered over 70 years later.

Now at Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, we’re hoping to give the couple’s descendants an extra Christmas present by reuniting them with the precious documents.

The correspondence between Robert Raven and Margaret Blyth was bought as a lot by Bob Sheridan, a Rutland man interested in the history of the armed forces postal service and the postal marks on the letters.

But the letters revealed a moving story of lovers separated by wartime.

Bob and his friend Tracey Dene Powell researched Robert and Margaret in family history, immigration and RAF records, but have yet to find a living descendant to give the letters to.

“I know that if they were from my parents or grandparents, then I would treasure them forever,” Tracey told Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine.

The collection consists of 45 air mail letters, 1 letter card and 14 empty envelopes.

The letters were exchanged between Robert Raven, a British airman, and Margaret Blyth (later Raven) from South Africa, as well as their family members, from 1941 to 1953.

During the Second World War, Robert Raven served as a Flight Sergeant with the RAF's 642 Squadron, travelling to Italy, Egypt, Malta and Iran.

The exact nature of the Squadron’s work during the Second World War is secret and few records survive.

Throughout his travels, Robert corresponded with Margaret, and the letters reveal a couple very much in love.

From Italy, Robert writes: "Dancing does not really make any affect to me with strange girls, let alone Italian ones.

"Some of them are quite beautiful - but I just want you.

"Dancing with you is fun & rollicking & happy."

In another, he writes: "Darling do you remember those days, those nights, scented with love and excitement.

"You always have the effect of surrounding yourself with electricity - something irresistible & magnetic that drew me, claimed me."

Tracey Dene Powell said Robert "was clearly a very intelligent man, as well as a passionate one".

He also often displays a sense of humour, at one point writing to Margaret: "If we do have 22 kids as you seem to have set your heart on, at least we will be able to run two full cricket and football teams."

Robert and Margaret's story had a happy ending, as the letters show they married in South Africa on 24 February 1945.

The last letter in the collection, written by Robert Raven’s parents in 1953, is addressed to the couple in Cape Province, South Africa.

It reveals that they had three children: Andrew, John and Lesley.

If you are related to Robert or Margaret and would like to find out more about the letters, we’d love to hear from you!

Please contact us on wdytyaeditorial@immediate.co.uk.

 

 

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