A kindly man from Northampton who spent weeks trying to reunite two old soldiers says he is distraught after he missed a random visit from one of them while popping to the shops.
Martin Harrison, from Hastings Road, Kingsthorpe, had received a letter from 79-year-old Ted Crosbie, from East London, who was trying to trace a former comrade from the 1950s.
His letter said he had lost contact with the friend, Ken Snedker, whose last known address was what is now Mr Harrison’s house - and appealed for help in tracing him.
However, after trying every avenue he could think of for weeks on end- including local library searches, ringing up every Snedker in the phone book and putting appeals on social media - Mr Snedker apparently turned up at his door while he was at the shops.
Mr Harrison said: “I couldn’t believe it. One of my neighbours said he’d spoken to this man who had used to live in my house, who said he happened to be in the area and wanted to see his boyhood home again.
“I’m certain it was Ken Snedker because the dates when he said he lived there match up. I was distraught that, after all my unsuccessful efforts, I could miss him by, at the very most, half-an-hour - and he turned up on my own doorstep.
“Apparently, a relative of his was graduating from the University of Northampton on Tuesday and that’s why he was here. It seems like he lives elsewhere in the country now.”
Mr Crosbie was sent to Northampton to do his basic training with the Northamptonshire Regiment in 1952, when he was an 18-year-old conscript.
He was later placed in a platoon with Mr Snedker, who was the same age, and the two became good friends while seving in Germany together.
However, they later lost touch when Mr Crosbie was hospitalised with Crohn’s disease and Mr Snedker and the platoon were sent to Korea.
Mr Crosbie said: “It was just something in his nature that appealed to me and we just took to each other and became good mates.
“Another friend from the Northamptonshire Regiment died recently after we’d not spoken for a few years and it made me think I should try to find Ken. “I’d love to see him again.”
If anyone knows of Ken Snedker’s whereabouts, they can call the Chron on Northampton 467033.