IT’S a glimpse into one of the most important days in history that was almost lost forever.
But a personal message to soldiers from the British armed forces commander-in-chief on the eve of D-Day was rescued from oblivion when a Hampshire woman found it in a car boot sale.
The message, on a small piece of card, was from then-General Bernard ‘Monty’ Montgomery, aiming to inspire troops who were hours away from storming the beaches of Normandy and beginning Allied efforts to liberate France.
Years later it was discovered by New Forest resident Vera Blundell in a box of odds and ends at a car boot sale.
Vera, 94, of Woodlands Road, Ashurst, said: “How I found it is one of these silly stories because I got it in a box at a car boot sale. I was looking at some picture frames and the owner said take the whole box for £2 and it was in there.
“After I found it I went back to the seller and they told me they got it in the exact same way at a car boot sale near Portsmouth. It must have been going around from person to person without anyone really noticing its significance.” In the message Gen Montgomery said “the time has come to deal the enemy a terrific blow in Western Europe,” wishing luck to “every soldier in the Allied team”.
According to an inscription on the back of the card, the message appears to have come from Southwick, near Fareham, where the headquarters of the main allied commanders were based.
Supreme Commander and future US president General Dwight Eisenhower and General Montgomery used local manor Southwick House to plot the D-Day attacks from 1943 onwards.
And Vera, whose husband Harold served in the RAF during the war, is keen to return the card to an army museum in Southwick to make sure it keeps its proper place in history.
She added: “I spoke to someone at the museum when I visited a couple of years ago and said I would give it to them but I misplaced it and only recently found it again.
“Now I have it back I would like Southwick to have it.”