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Family in Belgium reunited with Second World War book found in Norfolk house

PUBLISHED: 10:55 24 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:11 25 October 2020

Mona Utting and her daughter, Liz Cook with the missing communion book Photo: Liz Cook

Mona Utting and her daughter, Liz Cook with the missing communion book Photo: Liz Cook

Liz Cook

An 80-year-old book found by a Norfolk soldier in the Second World War has been returned to its rightful owners in Belgium.

Emerance Wadin, from Belgium, on the day she was given her 'micelle' (communion book) in 1935. Photo: Thomas BeudinEmerance Wadin, from Belgium, on the day she was given her 'micelle' (communion book) in 1935. Photo: Thomas Beudin

Mona Utting, from Norwich, had always hoped to find the owner of a communion book she had been given by a soldier in 1945, when she was just 14-years-old.

Private Reginald “Reggie” Larwood, who was a prisoner of war in Poland, lived on the same road, Corbet Avenue, in Sprowston, said he had found the book during the war and wanted Ms Utting to have it.

The holy book, also known as a “micelle’”, was written in French and inside revealed the name “Emerance Wadin”, who Ms Utting believed to be the owner.

More than 70 years later, as the 89-year-old was clearing out her house, she once again stumbled across it and her daughter, Liz Cook, took it upon herself to investigate.

The 'micelle' (communion book) of Emerance Wadin which was returned to her family more than 70 years later. Photo: Liz CookThe 'micelle' (communion book) of Emerance Wadin which was returned to her family more than 70 years later. Photo: Liz Cook

Ms Utting, now living in Newton St Faith, said: “It is a beautiful book in a leather case and at odd times throughout my life I would come across it.

“From time to time I would look at the picture, there was a photo of the girl her name and the town where she lived and I always wanted to return it to her, but life got in the way.”

After tirelessly searching through Facebook, ancestry and war records, Ms Cook discovered that Emerance Wadin, who lived in Belgium, passed away in 2012.

But using her marital name, Ms Cook found her grandson.

Mona Utting and her daughter, Liz Cook. Photo: Liz CookMona Utting and her daughter, Liz Cook. Photo: Liz Cook

She said: “I finally found someone called Thomas Beudin and I sent a message using Google translate.

“He came back and said ‘how do you know her, she was my grandmother’, so I said I have something for you and a story to tell.”

Mr Beudin, 42, from Rumes, in Belgium, said his grandmother died when she was 88.

Ms Cook, 63, sent the book back to the family and in response, Ms Beudin wrote: “What you have sent me, has touched me a lot. I think back to my grandmother with a lot of emotion.

The 'micelle' (communion book) of Emerance Wadin which was returned to her family more than 70 years later. Photo: Liz CookThe 'micelle' (communion book) of Emerance Wadin which was returned to her family more than 70 years later. Photo: Liz Cook

“During the war, my grandparents sheltered and hid an English soldier, but we do not know his name.

“The book was for her communion when she was 12 in 1935. We have a photo of her at this celebration.

“We wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking your time for your research and that my grandmother’s micelle could come back to us.

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“What emotions for such a small book. Thank you for this beautiful gift that you gave us.”


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