War photo back home thanks to Mail story

Sisters Teresa Sinden (right) and Rosie Sinden (left) being reunited with the photograph as it's handed over by Rachel West
Sisters Teresa Sinden (right) and Rosie Sinden (left) being reunited with the photograph as it's handed over by Rachel West

A FAMILY has been reunited with the last photograph ever taken of a relative killed at war after it was discovered in a loft.

Rachel West, 37, was cleaning out the loft in her Wynyard Road home back in June this year when she found a photograph of a woman and a soldier.

She contacted the Mail and appealed to anyone who may know anything about the photograph to come forward.

Mum-of-two Teresa Sinden, who lived in Wynyard Road before leaving the town and recently moved back to Seaton Carew, was visiting a relation recently who had kept a copy of the Mail.

Teresa was gobsmacked to see that the photograph was of her grandma, Mary Ann Kendlan, and her uncle Michael Kendlan.

The 56-year-old believes the photograph was taken in 1942, just a year before Michael was killed in France while serving as a rear-gunner in World War II, aged just 19.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the photograph,” said Teresa, who is a social worker in the town.

“Michael was always talked about in the family but we don’t have any photographs as lovely as this one with them both together.

“It was the first time Michael had ever left Hartlepool and he never returned, I think this will have been the last photograph that was taken of him.

“My grandma kept all of the letters that he sent, but this is just so poignant. She looks so sad that he is leaving.”

Mary Ann Kendlan ran a boarding house in the town in Rokeby Street before moving into a maisonette in Graham Walk.

In her later years she moved into Wynyard Road with Teresa, which is how the photograph must have ended up in the loft. Mary Ann died in 1968.

Teresa expressed huge thanks on behalf of all of her family to Rachel for keeping the photograph and cleaning it up.

She said: “I couldn’t believe how she had cleaned it up, most people would have probably just thrown it away.”

Rachel, who is a mum of Josephine West, 12, said: “When I put the appeal in the Mail I was just hoping someone would come forward then one day I came home and there was a note through my door.

“I was so pleased it meant so much to Teresa.”