A romantic story in the form of hundreds of love letters has emerged from the historical era of World War II.
The letters were sent between Gordon Bowsher and Gilbert Bradley. Gordon was a gunner training in Shropshire, England. Gordon was part of the infantry. Their love affair was only discovered in 2008 when the letters were found and sold to a museum.
The fascinating thing is because they were signed by ‘your own G’ they may well have been mistaken as being from a girlfriend rather than Gilbert or Gordon.
The letters are heartfelt, romantic, and obviously filled with longing, as gay rights were unheard of at the time. If a soldier was found to be homosexual during the war, the law said he could be shot. The letters show that their forbidden love obviously had depth. In one he writes:
I can see or I imagine I can see, what your mother and father’s reaction would be. [T]he rest of the world have no conception of what our love is – they do not know that it is love.
Another poignant and prophetic line in the letters is this:
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.
They certainly were in love and at a time when homosexuality was far from accepted. The sad ending is the two soldiers were not able to be reunited and apparently lived separate lives.
The one consolation in these letters is that we are reading them from a more enlightened period of time. We can perhaps gain some solace in the fact that enlightened times hopefully lie ahead.
Another sad story relating to the poor treatment of gays people in the war is that of Alan Turing. He was a British war hero who was responsible for cracking the Enigma code. This breakthrough alone helped Great Britain enormously to defeat Nazi Germany.
Yet, simply because he was gay, he was charged with a homosexual act in 1952. Once arrested he was then given a choice, either go to prison or be chemically castrated. Turing chose castration and later killed himself. While he has been posthumously pardoned recently, it is such a tragic story.
Watch this report on Alan Turing who was chemically castrated after the war for being homosexual:
Featured image via YouTube