Twist of fate brings families together

Helen Salter, Peter Jesson and Jane Hall during their first meeting.

Helen Salter, Peter Jesson and Jane Hall during their first meeting.

First published in News

A TWIST of fate brought two families with an intertwined history together this month after an article in a parish magazine caught the eye of a Vale villager.

Peter Jesson, of Bishampton, met with Jane Hall and Helen Salter for the first time ever on Thursday, July 3, after the three realised they had a shared connection in their not so distant past.

It began when Mr Jesson penned a book, No News from Guernsey, about his cousin, Lieutenant Desmond Mulholland of the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry, exploring his experiences as a prisoner of war.

Since publishing the book Mr Jesson has been contacted by a number of people with information about his cousin and the military operation he was part of in July 1940.

But the closest connection came when Mr Jesson answered the phone to Mrs Salter, from Little Comberton, whose own sister, Mrs Hall, was god daughter to Lt Mulholland.

He said: "It's incredible, the fact we have lived so close. It came about because Jane and Helen's father, Harold Salisbury, was a police officer in London before the Second World War."

The two men both lived at the YMCA hostel in London at the time and struck up a friendship.

"After Desmond was captured by the Germans on occupied Guernsey and sent to many POW camps, the two of them communicated many times," added Mr Jesson.

"Jane and Helen not only have many of the letters from Desmond, they also have letters from other members of my family and some photographs of Desmond when he visited their family home in Elmley Castle.

"The most poignant letter Jane has in her possession is one that Desmond wrote to her before her christening, not long before his tragic death. It was a whole page about his hopes for her future.

"Writing the book has introduced me to a lot of wonderful people."

And his delight was shared by Mrs Hall.

"Desmond was a tremendous friend of my fathers," she said. "Helen couldn't believe her eyes when she read the article. We live very near Peter.

"It's amazing really."

Anyone that would like to buy the book can email peter.jesson@hotmail.co.uk.

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