Letter with man's dying words reaches family 99 years later

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After 99 years, a letter containing a dying sailor's last words during World War I has finally made its way to his family. The note was penned by Sid Preston and contained the emotional last words of Preston's shipmate, Stephen Charles Sienesi, who died during the Battle of Jutland in 1916. It was addressed to Stephen's wife, Gertrude Sienesi.

The letter explains how Stephen asked Preston to write to his wife telling her what had happened. Stephen and Gertrude were only married for seven months before his death. After Gertrude died in 1980, the letter became lost.

Peter Broadley, 72, found the letter at the bottom of an old record box. While he's originally from West Yorks, he now lives in Australia. Broadley posted the letter on the Internet in the hopes of reuniting it with the original family.

Amazingly, it was spotted by a relative online three years later. Broadley traveled from Australia to Leeds, West Yorks to return the letter to Gertrude's niece, Joyce Dickinson. The letter reads:

"Your loving husband passed away at 4am on June 1, 1916 through wounds received whilst in battle. He died the death of a hero while fighting for his King, home and country and he is greatly missed by all who knew him."


Dickinson, 90, was overwhelmed by the return of the personal letter. She said:

"It was quite emotional. I'd never heard my aunt speak of this letter, and we don't know how it became lost but it's nice to have this piece of family history back. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland and we hope there will be a celebration to mark the event because it was one of the decisive battles of the First World War."

Broadley is now hoping to find the family of Sid Presten, who penned the letter. He said:

"I am a bit of a history buff and I have been so interested in this whole story. I would love to find the family of Sid and hope that with the power of the internet we might one day be able to do that. Sid penned the letter and it would be great for his family to have a copy of something that contains his handwriting."


Watch this video to learn more about the legacy of WWI:

Legacy of World War I

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