A tin of mince pies made during World War II has been found under a hotel's floorboards. The Christmas staple was preserved in air-tight conditions underneath the floor and they are still in good condition - but regrettably are not edible. They were discovered addressed to Phil Davis alongside a letter signed "Best, Love from Mum."
The mince pies, discovered at the Loch Hotel in Douglas on the Isle of Man, have now gone on display at the Manx Museum on the island. Matthew Richardson, curator of social history for Manx National Heritage, believes the pies were hidden so they wouldn't be stolen.
"If you're in a shared room with five or six other men you don't know, the only way you could be sure of protecting what was yours was to find a place to hide it," he said. "This tin of mince pies illustrates the point that wars might be international events, but they impact at a very human level. 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."
"We can't say for sure why Able Seaman Davis never ate his mince pies," Richardson said. "Perhaps he was posted away at short notice and didn't have time to retrieve them."
The mince pies and letter were discovered when the hotel was being developed into apartments in 1998, but were lost in a storeroom shortly after.
Now they have been rediscovered and placed on display at the museum. The letter has news of happenings at the sailor's home in Birmingham, including details of family and friends playing a card game "for money".
It also reads: "We shall be glad to see you when you do get leave."