Time capsule left by a WW2 veteran discovered after quarter of a century buried in garden of bungalow in Boston Spa

A time capsule left by a WW2 veteran was discovered after a quarter of a century buried in the garden of a bungalow in Boston Spa with a poignant note hoping it "will be of interest" to anyone who found it.

Geoffrey Ambler-Shaw, an only child who never married, died in February 2019 at the age of 94.

Seemingly with no one to leave some of his most precious objects to - including photos and a sheaf of notes, press cuttings and other documents, relating to his wartime service, including the bloody fighting around Monte Cassino in 1944, and later as a policeman in Palestine, he sealed them up in the tub with wax and left them hidden in his back garden in 1994.

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They were found during renovation work on the house, which took place some months before retired police officer Phil Slater moved in.

Geoffrey’s call-up papers, medical notes and telegrams home to his parents in Huddersfield were all contained in the time capsule
Geoffrey’s call-up papers, medical notes and telegrams home to his parents in Huddersfield were all contained in the time capsule

Mr Slater, who retired from West Yorkshire Police in 2006, had help from ex policeman and military enthusiast Andrew Scott cataloguing the items, before passing them onto the Royal British Legion which is now looking to put the artefacts in a military museum.

After the war Mr Ambler-Shaw became an insurance broker - but had a more glamorous side to his life appearing in several amateur films including The Red Baron (1991) and Gunfighter (1982).

Neighbours described him as a "very private man" who was immaculately dressed and "always tipped his hat to the ladies".

The typewritten note in the container read: "I hope that the personal memorabilia of a past era contained in this time capsule will be of interest. I wish you & yours every good wish for peace, health and prosperity."

Geoffrey Ambler-Shaw in Jerusalem

Mr Slater said they'd worked out that Mr Ambler-Shaw moved into the bungalow, built in 1968, with his parents and they died within the first year, leaving him on his own for around 50 years.

He said: "The saddest part about it all was that he had nobody to leave it to. There was nothing of any financial value, but tremendous, sentimental value."

Mr Ambler-Shaw was involved in the invasions of both Sicily and Italy, and fought at Monte Cassino.

In 1944 his regiment entered Florence via the famous Ponte Vecchio, and carried on fighting until he caught dysentery and was hospitalised before returning to the front.

Geoffrey Ambler-Shaw in the amateur film The Red Baron (1991)

He later joined the Palestinian police and was posted to Haifa at the end of 1944, returning to England in 1948.

The time capsule also contained images of Geoffrey’s father, Herbert, who served in World War One.

In a cutting from the Harrogate News in 1979, he recalls the winter of 1944, when fires could not be lit due to enemy observation, and he describes the frozen bodies of Indian troops being dug out of the forward positions.

Mr Slater said: “It is a truly remarkable discovery and we hope that it will help to cast some light on the fierce fighting and harsh conditions faced by the so-called D-Day Dodgers.”

Neighbours describe him as "a very private man who was always immaculately dressed"

Debbie Harding, Area Manager for the RBL in Yorkshire, said: “We are very grateful to Phil for passing on this treasure trove of memorabilia. Geoffrey clearly wanted people to learn more about his time in service, so we will find a good home for this time capsule at a military museum, to preserve these memories for future generations.”

Geoffrey as a "rookie" in Haifa, Israel