BTP calls for help over army veteran’s missing war diary

British Transport Police is appealing for the public’s help to trace the cherished war-time diary of a 95-year-old army veteran after it was left on a train between Bristol and Cornwall.

The diary, chronicling the daily experiences of Staff Sergeant Leslie James Bowles during World War II, was being transcribed by a relative of Mr Bowles who inadvertently left it in a bag on board a CrossCountry train service on the evening on Sunday 4 April 2011.

The relative travelled on the service between Bristol Parkway and Penzance railway stations and left the bag on board after departing the train at Redruth station at around 11pm.

BTP officers are treating the incident as a theft after checks revealed the missing bag was not on the train and has not been handed in to lost property or police.

Although of no monetary value, the hand-written diary, which Mr Bowles said contains unseen information about the support which the British Army gave to the Soviet forces in their fight against German forces in 1941-42, has immense sentimental value.

BTP officers are treating the incident as a theft.

Mr Bowles, who was born in Lanner, near Redruth, Cornwall, and now lives in Oakham, Rutland, said he was prepared to offer a £50 reward for information which leads to the safe return of the diary to him.

BTP investigating officer, PC Wayne Frost, said: “I am appealing to the good nature of anyone who may have picked the bag up containing the diary to return it to BTP who will return it to Mr Bowles.

“It’s of no monetary worth whatsoever but contains some deeply personal, intimate insights and accounts by Mr Bowles during his time in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

“Having spoken to Mr Bowles on several occasions, he is an inspirational man who, like many, served his country professionally and gallantly during his time as a soldier.

“I would hope that anyone who may have seen his diary, or who has any information regarding its whereabouts, to come forward with the information so that we can hopefully reunite this unique personal document with its owner.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, quoting incident reference B3/WWA of 27/06/2011, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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