The son of a former RAF corporal has thanked Northumbria Police and a Good Samaritan after he was reunited with a treasured family photograph.
Blyth pensioner Phillip Rose was devastated after losing the wartime picture of his late father Thomas, which showed a Lancaster bomber with its maintenance crew and members of the 617 and 627 ‘Dambusters’ squadron.
But thanks to an eagle-eyed passer-by and an appeal by police, the priceless memento is back in his possession.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I feel incredibly fortunate that this sentimental photograph has been returned.”
The old World War II photograph had been found at East Boldon Metro station in June by Paul Clark, who discovered it rolled up and soaking wet on the ramp leading up to the platform.
After handing it into officers, police ran an appeal looking to return the photograph to its rightful owner, and Phillip, 68, came forward.
He said: “I had it wrapped in a bag when I was getting onto the Metro at East Boldon and as the doors shut, I realised it must have dropped out. I was absolutely devastated – I thought it had been lost forever.
“It was given to me by my late father Thomas Rose, formerly of 617 Squadron. He was a corporal in the maintenance crew and it’s one of the few pictures of him in service that I own.
“The brave men and women should never be forgotten so it’s really important that photographs like this are preserved.”
He added: “I feel very fortunate that Paul found the photograph and was kind enough to hand it in to police.”
Mr Clark, 53, of Cleadon, initially posted his discovery on the Internet in a bid to find the owner before alerting his local Neighbourhood Policing Team.
“I knew it must have meant something to somebody, it was probably somebody’s family member pictured, so I had no hesitation of picking it up and trying to see if I could return it to the owner,” he said.
PC Paul Talbut, who led the police’s search for the rightful owner, said: “I am delighted that this photograph has been safely returned to Phillip.
“It’s not very often that you come across these kinds of historic and sentimental items, yet it could have so easily been lost and never found again.
“But Paul’s kindness and thoughtfulness allowed it to be returned to its rightful owner, and I know Phillip is incredibly thankful for that.”