Forbidden Gay Love Story Told In Discovered World War Two Letters
More than 70 years after they were written, a series of recently uncovered letters tells the love story of two men, caught in the chaos of the second World War.
A man named Mark Hignett, from the West Midlands of England, acquired the series of letters with the idea of having them put on display in a local history museum.
Those letters captured the love story between World War II soldier Gilbert Bradley, and his beloved, an individual simply referred to as "G."
Eventually, Hignett spent more than £1,000 on eBay as he amassed a collection of 300 letters shared between the couple, dated from the year 1939 and 1944.
It wasn't until he had become more intimately familiar with their correspondence that Hignett realized the exchange between Gilbert and "G" was the story of a same-sex couple, and that "G," was actually a man named Gordon Bowsher.
Attitude shares, "The collection of exchanges between the two men now stands as a priceless insight into gay life during an era when homosexuality was illegal in Britain, and men in the British military could even face being shot for engaging in homosexual sexual activity."
February 12 1940 – Park Grange
My own darling boy,
There is nothing more than I desire in life but to have you with me constantly…
…I can see or I imagine I can see, what your mother and father’s reaction would be… the rest of the world have no conception of what our love is – they do not know that it is love…
Hignett discovered the letters after Gilbert's passing in 2008, at the age of 92. (Gordon had passed away 15 years prior.)
Hignett told Metro:
“The value of these letters lies in the fact most love letters from homosexuals at the time were burned, because if they were found, they would have been used as evidence.
“We think their mums knew they were gay, but there’s reference to not ever letting Gilbert’s dad find out,” he continues. “The letters are full of humour and they weren’t suppressed in any way.
“They talked about keeping their relationship secret, but they openly talked about friends who were gay.”
Another letter reads:
February 1st, 1941 – K . C. Gloucester Regiment, Priors Road, Cheltenham
My darling boy,
For years I had it drummed into me that no love could last for life…
I want you darling seriously to delve into your own mind, and to look for once in to the future.
Imagine the time when the war is over and we are living together… would it not be better to live on from now on the memory of our life together when it was at its most golden pitch.
Your own G.
In an interview with the BBC, Gay rights activist Peter Roscoe said:
“There is a gay history and it isn’t always negative and tearful,” he says. “So many stories are about arrests – Oscar Wilde, Reading Gaol and all those awful, awful stories.
“But despite all the awful circumstances, gay men and lesbians managed to rise above it all and have fascinating and good lives.”
Hignett is at work on a book of Gilbert’s life story, and plans to put the love letters on display at a museum.
Coincidentally, one of the letters concludes:
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our letters could be published in the future in a more enlightened time. Then all the world could see how in love we are.”