Mince pies from WWII were discovered underneath a hotel floorboard
As time goes on and the years pass, it's easy for the tragedy of the Second World War to become a distant memory. The vast majority of people alive during that time have now passed away, and for the most part, it feels like we only have video games, films and the history books to remind us of the atrocities that occurred.
It's a good thing then, that there are relics of the Great War dotted all over the world, if you look closely enough. For example, these mince pies from the throes of the Second World War have recently been discovered, in the last place you'd imagine.
At the Loch Hotel, in Douglas on the Isle of Man, hotel renovators discovered the mince pies in a tin back in 1998, but they were forgotten once again before too long. Now, they've taken their rightful place in the Manx Museum, where they were left in storage for so long, but despite the time, they've managed to remain perfectly preserved.
“This tin of mince pies illustrates the point that wars might be international events, but they impact at a very human level,” explains Matthew Richardson, a curator of social history for Manx National Heritage, the institute in possession of the mince pies from an era gone by.
"Here was a young man, possibly away from home for the first time in his life, training to go to a war zone. We can only imagine what his mother was feeling as she posted this tin on to him."
The mince pies were a gift to the sailor Able Seaman Phil Davis from his mother over the Christmas holidays. At the time, he was training on the Isle of Man as war ravaged all four corners of the globe, and along with the sweet treats, there's also a note from mother to son.
"We shall be glad to see you when you do get leave," said the letter from Davis' mother, who also talked about family and friends playing card games "for money", and how she was preparing a spare room for guests. She then signed off with "best, love from mum."
Soldiers at that time were often holed up at hotels while undergoing training, and Richardson suspects that Davis hid the pies underneath the floorboard so they wouldn't get swiped by anybody else. "We can’t say for sure why Able Seaman Davis never ate his mince pies," added Richardson. "Perhaps he was posted away at short notice and didn’t have time to retrieve them."
It's a good thing he didn't: it's suspected that the only reason the pies kept so well was because they were preserved underneath the hotel floorboards. Still, they are now fully on display at the Manx Museum, and Richardson says that bringing out the tin at Christmas was "the right time for them to shine".
Amazing, isn't it? You never know when you're going to find a piece of history, and you never know where your next surprise will come from.