Couple renovating their home find 80-year-old letters

Couple renovating their home find 80-year-old letters warmly welcoming a brother’s fiancee into the family – then demanding she return her engagement ring when the wedding is cancelled

  • Georgia Walker, 27, and her partner James Morris, 28, found the letters in floor 
  • They were written from a woman named Gatt to her brother’s ex-fiancee Betty 
  • Began with wedding plans before asking for the engagement ring back
  • ***Do YOU know Gatt or Betty Rowe Roda? Email [email protected] or [email protected]*** 

A couple renovating their home found 80-year-old letters welcoming a brother’s fiancee into the family before demanding she return her engagement ring when the wedding was cancelled. 

Georgia Walker, 27, and her partner James Morris, 28, were decorating their property in Malvern, Worcestershire, when they found the hand-written notes detailing a family fallout from 1943.   

They were penned from a woman named ‘Gatt’ who demands her brother’s ex-fiancée return her engagement gifts following a relationship breakdown.

The letters, addressed to a Betty Rowe ‘Roda’ were all sent from Derby during the Second World War.

Georgia Walker, 27, and her partner James Morris, 28, were decorating their property in Malvern, Worcestershire, when they found the hand-written notes detailing a family fallout from 1943

They were penned from a woman named ‘Gatt’ who demands her brother’s ex-fiancée return her engagement gifts following a relationship breakdown

One correspondence talks about Betty and Les’s upcoming wedding plans before they take a more disagreeable tone once the engagement appears to be called off.

A furious Gatt orders Betty to return her engagement ring – which cost less than £2 – as well as ‘treasured silks’ given by her mother-in-law to be as a present.

She writes: ‘Dear Betty, could you let me have Leslie’s bank book and ring as Les has asked me to sell the ring and put the money into the bank and I have the chance at present to sell it for £2.00, more than he gave for it.

‘Mother would also like the silks she gave you as an engagement present as she treasured those and she gave them to you thinking you were going to stick to Les and that you were entitled to them.’


The letters, addressed to a Betty Rowe ‘Roda’ were all sent from Derby during the Second World War

An earlier letter, discussing wedding preparations before the family feud, reads: ‘My dear Betty, thank you for your letter received last Friday.

‘I am pleased to hear that Jack has been home again, that he is safe and well…

‘The dresses as you know go to church again on Saturday, WHEW! Get them back, I will get them cleaned and send them off to you.

‘I think Dot’s will be the better fit, but you will be able to choose.

‘Well Betty if there is anything I can get for you don’t forget to let me know as I may strike lucky here.

‘I expect you are feeling quite excited already – I’m sure the time will soon fly.

A copy of the Malvern Gazette local newspaper from 1948 was also found among the letters while the couple were decorating their kitchen

‘Have been nosing around for Christmas present but they are the very devil…. Mum wrote on Saturday and said that dad was poorly again.

‘I do hope he will soon pick up again and feel his old self, but you must all insist that he rests Betty because he really does look poorly, it’s so unlike Dad.

‘Well for now I must close. Please give my love to Dickie, I hope she still hears from George regularly. Cheerio for now Bet, don’t work too hard. Much love, Gat xxx’

A copy of the Malvern Gazette local newspaper from 1948 was also found among the letters while the couple were decorating their kitchen.

Ms Walker, a pharmaceutical sales rep, said: ‘We bought the house back in 2017 and we were going room to room renovating it.

More documents were found while removing a wall in the house, and Miss Walker said she was surprised none of the house’s previous owners had found them before

‘The first letter and paper were found between the original floorboards, we could see whoever put them there had used them almost like insulation.

‘They were folded up so tightly they were almost perfectly preserved.

‘We went through them and took bits to put in a frame which we have got on the wall.

‘It may be that the family is still living nearby, so we might even be able to reunite them.’

More documents were found while removing a wall in the house, and Miss Walker said she was surprised none of the house’s previous owners had found them before.

She added: ‘There have been a few families here before us, so it is surprising we are the first to have found them.

‘It was quite interesting looking through that copy of the Gazette.

‘It only cost 3p in those days and had a story in titled ‘under the carpet’ which we thought was quite funny.’

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