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A windmill postcard with a message from war-torn Europe

This intriguing missive was found by volunteer Tom Hine. The picturesque windmill captured on the front of the postcard carries with it a message that jumped out at Tom for several reasons…

Poster Image

The references to wartime

The writer, Mr Dré Smit of Gouda, describes recent war developments to the recipient, Lottie. He writes that “The German army goes farther and farther into France” and that the English solders “fight bravely”.

Trying to join the dots

Sadly, the postcard isn’t dated so we’re unsure if Dré is referring to the First or Second World War.

It appears that this postcard is a continuation of Dré’s message, since the first line is an incomplete sentence about how someone’s parents are “very glad to hear that he was safe and not wounded”.

Also, how did he come to write to Lottie? He seems to wish to confirm that this is indeed her name, and that he may address her in this informal way. Perhaps the answer to this is in the earlier part of the message, which we have not yet found.

A budding romance?

Dré is keen to be on first-name terms with Lottie, although he instructs her to let him know “when you find me too indiscreet”. He then encourages her to also use his first name, since he finds the alternative “Mr Smit” to be “so ceremonious”.

He ends the postcard with the wish that he will soon hear from Lottie and that he remains hers. I like to think that their correspondence continued.

Messages like these truly bring the postcards to life, and they can be just as important as the image preserved on the front. We also found a picture of Dré’s house, which still proudly stands in Gouda as a beautiful example of Dutch architectural design: