Family reunited with long-lost war letters

Family reunited with long-lost war letters

The Hanson family, from left, grandson David, Naomi, aged 24, wife Angela, and Eleanor, aged 27

The bundle of letters written between 1913 and 1922

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , entertainment reporter

A FAMILY is to be reunited with letters written by their war medic grandfather after an appeal in The Bolton News.

Dr David Marcus Hanson’s relatives were surprised — but delighted — to discover Graeme Knott, from Farnworth, had inherited the bundle of about 28 letters from his father Robert and wants to return them to the surviving members of Dr Hanson’s family.

They were written between 1913 and 1922, many detailing his time serving on the frontline in World War One.

Dr Hanson’s granddaughter, Rosemary Richardson, who grew up in Halliwell and now lives in Bath, said: “It was a total surprise.

“I knew he had served in World War One, I’ve actually got his silver hip flask which says RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps).

“I did not know these letters existed. Certainly my mum did not have any letters.”

Dr Hanson was born in County Wicklow, Ireland, in August 1887 before moving to London and then Bolton, in 1913, as assistant to Dr Rice, who had a practice in Daubhill.

He later set up his own surgery at 509 to 511 Halliwell Road.

Mrs Richardson, a mother-of-four, who lived in Ivy Road until she was aged 19, said: “I think he died when I was eight or nine.

“I have often thought about what he did in the war.

“I have got a bronze bullet that’s been made into a letter opener and it says The Somme on it so I know he was there.

“He never talked about it, as far as I know. It must have been very difficult.”

Dr Hanson and his wife Isabel had one son, also called David, who had three children including Mrs Richardson.

Her brother David, aged 57, who lives in Leamington Spa, said: “There’s a church window dedicated to him from the people of Halliwell because he gave a lifetime of care.

“When I was a boy, people used to stop me in the street and say, you’re Dr Hanson’s grandson.

“He came to the town to develop his experience as medic. He never left, he felt a sense of duty.”

For the majority of his patients in Bolton, the 1920s were a time of grinding hardship and he relied upon neighbours to tell him when the sick, already in debt to him, were too proud to call him again.

He died on Good Friday morning, 1964, and his patients put a memorial window in St Paul’s Church.

Father-of-two Mr Hanson is planning a visit to Bolton to collect the letters.

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