Calhoun woman receives World War II letter 67 years later

2011 - An unseen letter from the distant past came as a surprise for Big Bend resident Lucille Kerby Basnett.

It was from her husband, World War II Army veteran Robert Basnett, written in 1944 and discovered by the West Virginia Division of Vital Statistics, who located Lucille and delivered the letter to her.

"They found the letter in a box," Lucille said.

"It was a shock to open and read it," Lucille said, a couple of handwritten pages on aging, browned paper, inquiring about family and friends, saying he wanted to fix up the barn when he got home, and asking her not to worry.

The letter concluded with, "I close with all my love."

Following the writing of the letter, Robert Basnett was a prisoner of war in a German POW camp after the Battle of The Buldge, from December 31, 1944 until April 15, 1945.

"He came home after the war, but always had problems for the rest of his life," Lucille said, indicating emotional night terrors, or what was earlier called "shell shock," now officially called Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Basnett died in 2001 at the age of 79.

"I plan to take the letter to his grave at Bryner Chapel Cemetery, read it and put it with him," Lucille said.

The Basnetts had three sons, Robert, Jr., James Lee and Terry Basnett, three daughters, Judith, Brenda and Debra.