Mystery soldier photos returned home

Named: Jack Ford
Named: Jack Ford
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The mystery of two photos which were dropped off at a reader’s house 26 years ago has finally been solved.

Last week, the Guardian published these photos which were left in an envelope at a house in Gillibrand Street more than two decades ago, but the woman didn’t know where they came from or who was pictured.

Winifred Bradshaw came across them when she was having a bit of a clear-out recently, and handed them in to the Guardian to see if we could get to the bottom of the puzzle.

Now, the men’s niece, Jean Bolton, has been in touch.

Jean used to live in Gillibrand Street when she was a toddler, and recognises her uncle Jack Ford, who is pictured on his own, and uncle James Ford, who is the one sitting down on the other picture.

She said: “I was really shocked to see them in the paper, and I don’t really understand how all this has happened.

“It’s very strange.”

It turns out that Winifred moved into Jean’s house after the Ford family moved to Euxton, and the photos were pushed through her door around 18 months later.

Sadly, both men died in the war - Jack in 1940, and James in 1945.

Jean’s mum, Mary Ford, was their sister, and she died in 1982, in her seventies.

“I do vaguely remember my uncles,” Jean said. “But I was only about two or three.”

She added that the man standing up with James was probably a friend, although she didn’t know his name.

On hearing that the photos had finally been claimed after more than two decades, Winifred said she was ‘delighted’, and the photos have been given to Jean.