Postcards reveal a piece of the past

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A soldier’s Great War postcards, written to his wife and daughter in Halifax, have been restored to his family after 36 years.

Halifax-born schoolteacher Gilbert Tasker Mahony travelled extensively round the European theatre as part of the Army Physical and Bayonet Training Staff during the last two years of the war, when the army was being reinforced by conscripted men.

He wrote the cards to his wife Lil and four-year-old daughter Aileen who were living in Gibbett Street at the time.

When Gilbert died in 1979 the postcards, along with family photographs and other documents were left in the cellar of his home in Avondale Mount, Shipley, where they were found by the new owner, David Jackson.

He made several attempts to track down the family but two years ago arranged for them to be included on the Shipley WW1 website, where Gilbert’s granddaughter Ursula Steel spotted them.

She said: “I was googling Shipley and suddenly there was this site with my grandfather’s postcards on. I could hardly believe it. I remember him well so it was very emotional to see these cards he had written.

“When I contacted the site, David Jackson kindly offered to give them to me. It’s just so exciting to have these heirlooms back in the family’s possession.”

Mr Jackson added: “I’m delighted they are back where they belong. We’ve moved house three times since we found them but couldn’t bring ourselves to throw them out.”
Also in the box was a post-war workbook filled with notes and drawings by Gilbert’s younger daughter and Ursula’s mother, Sheila - now 92.

Ursula, who lives in Sale, said: ‘I can’t wait to show her all these things, especially the workbook, and see what she says.”