EDMONTON — An Alberta family says letters penned by their grandfather in the Second World War reveal a side of him they never got the chance to know.
On Wednesday morning, Jason Rasmussen and his sisters, Trish Rasmussen and Kristen Evans, were reunited with the letters their grandfather, Gen. Mungo Clark, wrote and mailed home during his time overseas in the 1940s.
“The things he must have seen and had to do to stay alive, to survive. I can’t wait to read all of these with our family and our kids,” Jason said.
“This is like a small treasure for us,” Trish added.
The letters were seized by Rimbey RCMP after officers found them inside a stolen vehicle on Feb. 5. When officers realized the sentimental value the letters had, the search began for their rightful owners.
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The letters mean a great deal to the central Alberta trio – their grandfather passed away in 1995. Reading them now, Clark’s grandchildren are seeing a softer side of him; a side that showed great love and admiration for his family.
“I was too young to really have a good conversation with him before he died and so reading this as a conversation is indescribable,” Kristen said.
“Very caring, very loving. We never saw that when I knew him. Never saw that,” Jason said.
The grandfather they knew was cold. He showed all the signs of what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
“My grandpa, in his later years, was not the same man as before the war so I think it would be really nice for my mom to see a sentimental side to him because she certainly didn’t see that in his later years,” Trish added.
Jason recalled times when a slamming a door too hard would cause his grandfather to jump out of his skin.
“Being on the frontlines, the things that he must have seen or had to do? That would change anybody,” Jason said.
“Unfortunately, back then it was alcohol, that’s how they dealt with it and that’s how my grandfather dealt with it and it’s really sad. It’s really sad.”
What makes the discovery of the letters even more significant is that the family didn’t even know they existed. Before learning of them last week, the only keepsakes they had of their grandfather was a small box of documents from the war, which includes his discharge papers.
“This is serendipity, right? We found something good that we weren’t even looking for,” Trish said.
RCMP are still investigating to determine where the letters were stolen from.