Military Stories Archive > The Mystery of the Trunk in the Attic


20 Sep 2006

Research Etc.

Several months ago, we saw a special interest story on the local news about a young couple who had just purchased their first house and when installing insulation in the attic, found an old trunk overflowing with mementos from WWII. This trunk belonged to a man we’ll call Ivan. Ivan was born in 1916 and had an extremely uncommon name. We thought, “Hey, no problem! We’ll solve the case and help these folks return the trunk!” Well, it wasn’t that easy.

We found that Ivan had died in the early 1980’s and that he had never married or had children. His parents were also deceased and he had no siblings. The only person that he had listed as his next-of-kin had also died shortly after Ivan. The few people in the US who shared his name had never heard of him! What to do?! The next best thing we could try was to contact some old military buddies to see if they would like to have some of the old photos and mementos Ivan had saved from their unit. Afterall, we personally reviewed the contents of the trunk and it contained the most amazing photos, newspaper articles and actual accounts taken at the time the A-Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. These things just had to mean something to someone!

We made several attempts to find some of the guys from Ivan’s unit, but most were deceased. Finally, we did manage to contact a fellow from the unit, but believe it or not, he said he just wasn’t interested, not even in having the numerous photos of himself in his heyday with his old WWII buddies — I have plenty of pictures of myself — he said! Sadly, it was all we could do. Our clients are contemplating turning Ivan’s belongings over to a museum and have even entertained the idea of compiling a book with the information and photos found in the trunk.

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