Mystery photos found hidden in frame

Ruth Iles with the photographs she found behind an old photo frame. Picture by FRANK REID.
Ruth Iles with the photographs she found behind an old photo frame. Picture by FRANK REID.

A CHARITY shop volunteer got a surprise when she found a 70-year-old photograph of an RAF officer concealed in a photo frame she bought.

Ruth Iles, 60, bought the leatherette frame from the British Heart Foundation shop, in Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, where she volunteers.

She had bought the apparently empty frame as a Mother’s Day present for her mum, Mary Fullbrook, who lives in the town’s Rossmere area.

She took it home and was preparing to place her own picture in the frame.

But she couldn’t believe her eyes when she found these two pictures of an RAF airman concealed behind a piece of backing paper.

The name on the back of one of the photographs is “Mr Ellyatt”.

Earlier this month, the Mail featured an article in which Canadian Pamela Turney was appealing for the families of Hartlepool-born John Ellyatt to get in touch.

She wanted to inform them of a forthcoming memorial ceremony in Laval, France, where her great-uncle, Sergeant Fred Beales, and 13 other crewmen, including flying officer Ellyatt, who were shot down over the town on June 9. 1944 are buried.

There is a possibility that the flying officer Ellyatt and the person in the photographs Ruth obtained is one and the same.

Ruth had come to the Mail to ask for help in tracing the rightful owners of the photographs.

On hearing the news that we had covered John Ellyatt’s story only three weeks ago, she said: “That’s sent a shiver down my spine.”

Ruth, who is a retired Hartlepool Borough Council education department worker, added: “I bought the frame as it had an RAF insignia on it and my mother’s late brother, Nathaniel Bewick, had been in the air force.

“I volunteer at the shop and when the frame came in, I thought ‘that would be ideal’.

“I opened the back of the frame and there were the two photographs in the back with just a piece of paper covering it.

“I did check to see who had donated the box it came in, but had no luck.

“It’s just such a shame. It obviously means something to somebody.

“I didn’t want to just throw it away.”

l Anyone with information on the photographs is asked to call Ruth on (01429) 282273.