Family reunited with long-lost WWII diary found in supermarket

A slice of Australian history found on the floor of a Sydney supermarket has been reunited with the author’s family this week.

The handwritten diary, recording a woman’s time in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during World War II through poems and photographs, was handed in to the Kuring-Gai Police Area Command on Wednesday 20 May 2020.

The diary had been found on the floor of a supermarket in Gordon before it was presented to police. The diary, written in 1943, was later identified as belonging to Margo Cooper, who had sadly passed away in March 2011.

Following extensive inquiries that spanned across Australia, Senior Constable Carisa Parker and Senior Constable Colin Mitchell managed to track down Mrs Cooper’s daughter, Rosie Gibson, who lives in Dubbo.

The diary was presented to Ms Gibson by Orana Mid-Western Police District’s Inspector Natalie Antaw on Thursday (2 July 2020).

S/Cst Parker shared in the moment by phone; describing the process as one she will treasure.

“I was so pleased when we found Rosie – when we called, she was just ecstatic because it was her mum,” S/Cst Parker said.

“The day I called Rosie to tell her, it was actually her mum’s birthday and that she would have turned 98.

“She said it was the best birthday present she could have had.”

Ms Gibson said she hoped to one day meet S/Cst Parker in person to personally thank her for going above and beyond in returning the diary.

“When I got the call from S/Cst Parker, it was like she’d won the lottery. I want to thank her so much for her wonderful efforts in finding me and bringing this diary back to our family,” Ms Gibson said.

“I can’t get over how beautifully my mother used to write, and the diary is in such good condition. It was just wonderful to get the news on what would have been Mum’s 98th birthday.”

Insp Antaw said she was happy to be part of returning the heirloom back to the family.

“To be able to bring the diary home to her daughters so they could cherish it and see the lovely words their mother had written, that’s a very special moment for me as a police officer,” Insp Antaw said.

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