A lost wedding photo uncovers a heartbreaking story

The lost wedding photo of Frederick William Shelton and bride Joyce Ashman.

The lost wedding photo of Frederick William Shelton and bride Joyce Ashman. - Credit: Simon Howard

A lost wedding photo has been unearthed to reveal the heartbreaking story of a young soldier who suffered a tragic fate as a prisoner of war.

Simon Howard had purchased the wedding photo at an auction, previously belonging to his neighbours who had passed away, but, to his surprise, the groom wasn't the same man who had lived down his road all those years.

After Simon meticulously dug through old newspaper reports and records, the groom in the photo was revealed to be Frederick William Shelton, born in Upwood, Huntingdonshire, in 1922.

The desolating fate of Frederick was revealed in a newspaper report from May 1953 and read: "While for one Lynn family this is a week of jubilation with Private Raymond Fish on his way home after release from a Korean prisoner of war camp for another family it was a week of sorrow."

A newspaper clipping from the Lynn Advertiser, publicising the death of Frederick William Shelton, born in Huntingdonshire.

A newspaper clipping from the Lynn Advertiser, publicising the death of Frederick William Shelton. - Credit: Lynn Advertiser

A letter addressed to Joyce Shelton from the War Office bore the shocking news that Mrs Shelton's husband Frederick had died of dysentery in Communist hands in August 1951.

The newspaper report added: "News had reached the authorities via word of mouth from one of the released prisoners. Like Raymond Fish, Frederick Shelton was one of the "Glorious Gloucester's" captured in the Imjin River action of April 1951.

"But unlike him, he was not destined to return home again."

Most Read

Frederick was 29 when he passed and desperately had only one month of service left when he was called to go to Korea in October 1950.

Joyce would marry again in 1958 to David Johnson and move to West Lynn, Norfolk. They never had any children, with Joyce passing away in 2017 and David in 2021.

A newspaper clipping from the Lynn Advertiser.

A newspaper clipping from the Lynn Advertiser, publicising Frederick William Shelton's and Joyce Ashman's marriage. - Credit: Lynn Advertiser

When photos from the couple's home appeared in an auction, Simon endeavoured to acquire them.

Simon said: "I had a few conversations with David in the past about his family history, and as they never had any children, I thought it would be sad if his old photos would be thrown away.

"I was disappointed not to have won the hundreds of smaller photos which contained more wedding pictures, but I was happy to have at least saved this picture and preserve the memory of my old neighbour and her brave husband."

Simon is a family history researcher and regularly posts stories which can be found on his Facebook page, 'Find My Family'.