Antiques Roadshow guest refuses to sell letter which stopped WWII

Antiques Roadshow guest surprised at value of chairs found in a skip

In a classic episode of Antiques Roadshow filmed at Belmont House, in Kent, expert Mark Smith was presented with a “beautiful” photograph of a guest’s late mother who joined the Navy when she was 18 years old.

She was known by her loved ones as Peggy and she became a wireless operator for The Royal Navy.

The guest brought a wireless log which belonged to Peggy during the Second World War which reported on her time in battle.

When asked why Peggy kept hold of a signal log in the diary, the guest said: “Because it was confidential and it was the information to tell the Prime Minister that the next day Germany was going to surrender.”

The log said a representative of the German command signed the unconditional surrender of “all German land, sea and air forces in Europe to the allied expeditionary force”.

Mark said: “One piece of paper? And it stops the Second World War! Isn’t that amazing?”

The guest admitted she wasn’t aware of the piece of paper until after her mother’s death when she was going through paperwork and pictures of her Wren photographs.

“My mum was a very honest person and I can’t believe she put this in her pocket and smothered it out,” the guest exclaimed.

While there would have been several copies of the piece of paper, Mark described it as “iconic” because it was the first signal which came out from the Allied headquarters that said Germany had surrendered.

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“That piece of paper stopped the war, it’s amazing,” Mark gushed. “I am really glad she did keep that piece of paper because it is one of those things from World War II that you hear about, but when are you actually going to see it?”

He admitted the item was “incredibly difficult to put a price on” however he thought it could fetch between £500 and £600 at auction.

Following the valuation, the guest stressed: “It’s never going anywhere!”

“It’s great, and thank you for showing us Peggy, she really is gorgeous,” Mark concluded.

“I take after her,” the guest quipped as they studied the black and white photograph of Peggy in uniform.

Antiques Roadshow episodes are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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