A tin of mince pies baked during World War II has been discovered in near-perfect condition under the floorboards of a hotel.

The festive pies, which were a wartime gift from a mother to her sailor son, were uncovered at the Lock Hotel in Douglas on the Isle of Man.

The goodies were found with a handwritten note addressed to Able Seaman Phil Davis saying "Love from Mum" during a renovation of the hotel in 1998, but were later left forgotten in storage at the Manx Museum.

The letter has news of happenings at the sailor's home in Birmingham, including details of family and friends playing a card game "for money", and making up a spare room for guests.

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It also reads: "We shall be glad to see you when you do get leave."

A letter accompanying the pies was sent to Able Seaman Davis at HMS Valkyrie from an address in Birmingham. Photo / MNH
A letter accompanying the pies was sent to Able Seaman Davis at HMS Valkyrie from an address in Birmingham. Photo / MNH

It is believed the pies were so immaculately preserved for almost 80 years because they were sealed in an airtight container.

Matthew Richardson, curator of social history for Manx National Heritage, said Christmas was "the right time for them to shine", the BBC reported.

The pies, which were found by a builder, may have been hidden under the hotel's floorboards to stop other soldiers from swiping them, according to the BBC.

"If you're in a shared room with five or six other men you don't know, the only way you could be sure of protecting what was yours was to find a place to hide it", curator of social history for Manx National Heritage Matthew Richardson told the BBC.

"We can't say for sure why Able Seaman Davis never ate his mince pies. Perhaps he was posted away at short notice and didn't have time to retrieve them."