Holdalls full of RAF memories are found in Market Drayton

Two suitcases have come to light that give unique insights into the life of RAF pilots – and now police are trying to trace the rightful owners.

Constable Mick Sturland with the two cases which contain items of RAF memorabilia. Pictures: Laura Dutfield
Constable Mick Sturland with the two cases which contain items of RAF memorabilia. Pictures: Laura Dutfield

The vintage holdalls were handed in to officers after being found at the back of Buntingsdale Hall, in Market Drayton.

They contain letters, flying permits and keepsakes belonging to two very different people.

Ms Jervis is believed to have been a pilot in the 1940s while Mr Mackintosh served in the 1970s.

However, the relationship between the pair is unclear.

Other items in the identical cases include maps, squadron badges, postcards and pictures from Malta and a piece of paper signed by former England and Stoke goalkeeper Gordon Banks.

There are also pendants and badges.

The cases were handed into Market Drayton Police Station after being found in a bunker situated at the bottom on the Buntingsdale Hall estate.

The historic home, which was built between 1719 and 1721, is only a few minutes walk from Clive Barracks, in Tern Hill.

Constable Mick Sturland is looking after the cases.

He is hoping to be able to return the holdalls and all the items inside to their rightful owner.

He said: "This really is a fascinating collection that has been really well kept.

"It's something you could look at for hours because there is so much detail and so much history here.

"Nobody has reported it missing but how they were found is quite bizarre.

"They were actually picked up in a pillbox at the back of Buntingsdale Hall.

"Everything inside is unique and personal. There is even a diary and a letter sent from America by Mr Mackintosh to his dad.

"We also have lots of flying documents, old maps and service books for both pilots."

Constable Sturland said he believed the two cases have either been stolen and dumped or thrown out by mistake.

However, if nobody comes forward he hopes to donate them to the RAF Museum in Cosford.

Constable Sturland said: "The collection has either been stolen or someone has had a house clearance and thrown them out by mistake.

"Normally if things don't get claimed they are thrown in the bin but I can't do that with these items.

"It's a bit of history and I'm sure family members of the two pilots would love to have a look and keep it all.

"It's a very unique collection and very personal to someone which is the reason why we are very keen to trace whoever it now belongs to. Constable Sturland added: "Some of the items might be valuable and I'm sure any Stoke fan would love to have Gordon Banks autograph."

Postcards and letters in the collection are addressed to homes in Hinstock, Newcastle-under-Lyme, and Stoke.

A spokesman for the RAF Museum in Cosford said: "The RAF Museum at Cosford would welcome hearing more information about the suitcases contents and can offer assistance if required."

Anyone with any information is asked to telephone Constable Sturland on 07792 774058.

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