Historic cable marking WW2 Victory in Europe Day found at B.C. thrift shop

A suitcase, letters, and a cable that appears to have been sent on VE Day displayed at the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver. Global News

It arrived at Vancouver’s Union Gospel Mission thrift store in January: a well-traveled, vintage suitcase bearing travel decals that would be at home in an Indiana Jones movie.

“The very first thought that occurred to us was oh, this must have been donated from a movie set, it looks that cool — it looks that old, unique, special,” UGM spokesperson Jeremy Hunka told Global News.

UGM spokesperson Jeremy Hunka displays an old suitcase donated to the charity\’s thrift shop in January. Global News

“And then we realized, oh, hold on a second, I think this is real.”

Story continues below advertisement

The suitcase itself was unique, but it was the contents that Hunka said were the real treasures.

The contents include an aged pair of binoculars, correspondence between soldiers, a brief love letter, and one item that may eventually find a place in the Canadian War Museum.

Click to play video: 'Port Moody, B.C. family trying to solve military mystery'
Port Moody, B.C. family trying to solve military mystery

“This really shocked us, it appeared to be a cable on VE day from 1945 announcing that there had been victory in Europe,” Hunka said.

“To get this kind of thing donated to our thrift store, completely surprising.”

Saturday, May 8 is the 76th anniversary of VE day, the historic day when the Allied forces accepted Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender in the second world war.

Story continues below advertisement

Dated on that historic day, the cable was sent from Marg Stout in New Westminster to Flying Officer Edwin Wainwright through the Indian Radio & Cable Company.

Global News. Global News


“When we got it, everybody just kind of stopped, and said hold on,” Hunka said. “This is history, donated to a thrift store.”

“They’re definitely personal treasures and mean a great deal to somebody if not historical treasures.”

READ MORE: ‘Love conquers all’: Vancouver man finds 80-year-old love letters in wall, returns to family

UGM staff did some online research, and believe they may have located Marg Stout’s obituary, but have not been able to locate any other family members.

Story continues below advertisement

An address label on the suitcase lists a Mr. & Mrs. Wainwright at 233 6th Avenue in New Westminster.

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon woman, 96, reunited with long-lost love letters discovered in home renovation'
Saskatoon woman, 96, reunited with long-lost love letters discovered in home renovation

The charity is now hoping to connect with someone in the family to find out if the items were donated in error, or whether there is a living family member who would want them.

Failing that, Hunka said the organization is also in talks with the Canadian War Museum’s acquisition department.

READ MORE: Discarded First World War medals found at ReStore returned to Peterborough woman

“We get donations into our thrift store all the time. Sometimes we get unique things, but nothing like this,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re just trying to put out the message that if somebody knows this couple or these people or would like to know more about this because they think it might be theirs, let us know — it might mean a great deal to somebody.”

Sponsored content