Desperately seeking Yours Truly
Flight Lieutenant Gavin Tipple and National Express Cardiff Coach Station Manager Donna McDonald
Historical – life of an RAF man in the 1940s
Charming – a bygone world of dance halls and wholesome pursuits
Tantalising – mystery captions, including an unidentified Royal bedchamber
Mysterious – who is ‘Yours Truly’?
National Express is appealing to trace a mystery World War Two RAF man identified only as ‘Yours Truly’ after historical photographs depicting his life stationed abroad were lost by a customer in Cardiff.
Cardiff Coach Station Manager Donna McDonald is spearheading calls to return the pictures to their rightful owner after they were dropped at Cardiff Coach Station.
Aware of their clear personal and historical significance staff at the coach station kept the pictures stored under lock and key in a safe, hopeful the customer would soon return to claim them – but no one came.
Now, following the closure of the coach station and as National Express temporarily relocates its operations to Sophia Gardens, the coach station, led by Donna, is renewing calls to find the owner.
The coach company hopes uncovering the identity of the veteran, who neatly signed the pictures of himself with the words ‘Yours Truly’ or ‘Y.T’, is the key to reuniting the photographs with their rightful owner.
The mystery began six months ago when the set of 33 old photographs, which were slipped into a plastic bank money bag, were handed into Cardiff Coach Station having been dropped by a customer.
The sepia-coloured snaps, which were perhaps sent to a sweetheart, offer a tantalising glimpse into the life of Yours Truly stationed abroad in Egypt, Pakistan and India as well as in the UK.
Some of the photographs have been captioned at the time they were taken in fountain pen written with a very neat hand. Some pictures appear to have been captioned later in biro in a hand that looks like it could be from a more elderly person, leading to speculation the pictures may well have been dropped by Yours Truly himself.
Now, the pictures - believed to have been taken with a B Roll camera in the mid to late 1940s - have been uncovered once more as National Express temporarily relocates its operations to a different part of the city – and staff are determined to give the story a happy ending by finding the owner.
Pictures of Yours Truly reading, writing, playing musical instruments and sailing paint a picture of a creative and sporty man. There are warm-spirited pictures of the immaculately turned-out RAF man, taken with friends and acquaintances, plus one with German prisoners of war, who are described as ‘very nice fellows’. RAF sources believe he could have served as a ground engineer.
Mysteriously, some photographs depict crowds surveying a damaged civilian plane, which RAF sources reveal was damaged beyond repair in 1947. Another shot, seemingly of a military parade taken from a window of Buckingham Palace bears the caption ‘Ann Ryan’s’ bed/sittingroom,’ Tantalisingly, sources at the Palace have been as yet unable to shed any light on the date of the photograph as to who ‘Ann’ may have been.
What makes the pictures particularly unusual is they were taken at a time when it would have been fairly unusual to have a camera, and in a period where high costs deterred many people from printing their photographs.
Cardiff Coach Station Manager Donna is leading calls to reunite the pictures with their owner. Donna, herself an army veteran served for seven years in the Royal Logistics Corp.
She said: “We’re in our new home in Sophia Gardens so it’s an ideal time to renew our drive to reunite these pictures - which must mean a great deal to someone - with their owner. It’s tantalising thinking of who might have dropped them and why – is it Yours Truly himself, a friend, relative or even researcher? If it is Yours Truly, he has clearly kept them well all these years and they must hold so many memories. As a veteran myself I know how important these must be and we are so keen to find the rightful owner and get them sent safely home. We are really hoping the person who dropped these gets in touch with us.”
Flight Lieutenant Gavin Tipple has spent 33 years in service and is the Officer Commanding the RAF division of the Armed Forces Careers Office in Cardiff. He is getting behind the search.
He said: “These pictures are incredibly historical and show a bygone age. There is a real nostalgia to them and also historical significance as they offer a rare on-the-ground view of crisis’ past. Whoever owns them must clearly want them back and I do hope they are reunited with their rightful owner”.
For now however, the mysterious pictures raise more questions than answers.
Are you Yours Truly or do you know Yours Truly?
Contact: email@example.com; call 0121 460 8419 or speak to National Express staff at Sophia Gardens.