A remarkable letter written by a Kiwi father soldier from the trenches of the World War has I surfaced more than a century later, with family members in England hoping to return it to surviving relatives in New Zealand.
As the nation pauses for Remembrance Day today, 102 years after end of the 1914-18 "war to end all wars", the English family of William John Prouting is hoping to send a fragile and deeply personal family artefact home.
Prouting's 20-year-old son Philip John Prouting left their Auckland home in 1914 to travel to the other side of the world to fight.
And two years later, pushing the boundaries of recruitment age, 44-year-old father-of-six Prouting senior himself enlisted and set sail with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.
Writing home from the Western Front in France on November 8, 1916, William John Prouting reveals an incredible detail: he had just met his son Philip at the front.
"Two nights ago I met Phil and had an hour or two with him," the father writes in pencil from "somewhere in France".
"He is billeted not far from me … He is looking quite fit and well and is in good spirits.
"He had about eight weeks at the Somme and several narrow squeaks which of course is only natural.
"I am very proud of him because the Somme was a very big affair.
"If he pulls through this war safely he will have something to talk about."
But after nearly three years, Philip John Prouting's luck ran out. He was injured and finally sent back home, travelling via England where his father was born in 1871.
While embarking on the long journey home, his father, by then aged 45 and a Lance Sergeant, was killed at the bloody Battle of Passchendaele, Belgium on August 9, 1917.
He is remembered on the Messines Ridge (New Zealand) Memorial in Belgium alongside 827 officers and men of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who fell and have no known grave.
Now, Steve Lancaster, a great nephew of William John Prouting who lives in Birchington-on-Sea, England, has found the letter among his late brother's possessions and wants it returned to family in New Zealand.
Lancaster says he's aware that his great uncle William and great aunty Annie had six children – Margaret, Philip, who he believes died in 1975, Marion, Olive, Harold and Edith – but for him, the trail has gone cold.
"The letter … is fragile but still legible and I would really like it to be returned to any of William John Prouting's descendants – relatives I have never met – for safe keeping as the rightful owners," Lancaster said.