Private Gordon Heaton was killed in a "bloody battle" in World War II 67 years ago and his family was never notified of his death, or got a chance to see his last will and testament -- until now. The soldier's papers were accidentally left on a bus by a delivery boy and they were just discovered last November when a woman named Christine McDaid stumbled upon them when she was moving furniture around in her office so the room could be painted.
McDaid, who works at a bus depot in England, said: "I lifted a heavy cardboard box placed on top of an old metal cabinet and spotted the pristine paperwork perfectly preserved underneath. I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened it and realized the dusty document was the signed last Will and Testament of a 21-year-old soldier."
The letter read: "I am directed to enclose a certified true copy of a Will executed by the late No. 4042611 Private Gordon Albert Heaton of the Worcestershire Regiment in which you are named as the executor."
Christine put out a call to find Heaton's family, and ironically, at the same time, one of Heaton's great-nephews, David Hall, happened to be researching his family tree. Hall is currently caring for his sick grandfather, John Heaton, who is the surviving brother of Private Heaton. He hasn't told him of the discovery yet. He says he's waiting until his grandfather is feeling better.
Wow. So sad to think that the paperwork of a man who died while fighting for his country got lost in the shuffle and is just being discovered now. It diminished him to more of a statistic than a war hero. And it has to be really painful for his family to first learn of his death now (although, clearly, they assumed he had died at war). Hopefully, John Heaton will be on the mend soon and learn of his late brother's lost paperwork. It won't change anything, but it'll probably offer some closure.
How crazy is this?
Image via archangel12/Flickr