A HIDDEN stash of love letters from the Second World War has inspired a novel by Bridport author Christopher Legg.

Mr Legg's family have lived in Bridport for generations and when his grandmother passed away, a hidden bundle of letters was discovered.

The story has now been reimagined in his second novel, In Time of Duty.

Mr Legg said: "I got a lot of the inspiration for In Time of Duty from the treasure trove of love letters that Fred, my Grandad, had sent to Joyce, my Grandma, during the Second World War. I found these letters fascinating; he’d only been married for three weeks before he left Bridport and went off to basic training in Herne Bay, Kent. It was the furthest he’d ever been from home. He had joined the Royal Army Service Corps as a truck driver. He loved the camaraderie, and the “marvellous food”; he enjoyed going to the cinema but would turn down going to the dancing as he didn’t want his new bride to think he was having too good a time.

"When he was posted to North Africa, things took a dramatic turn for the worst; he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war. When we were kids, Grandad only ever talked about the lack of food and the terrible hunger they experienced, and he would always watch to make sure we cleared our dinner plates.

"The letters are so emotive, showing his hopes and plans, his thoughts and feelings and his deep love for Joyce. And of course for my research they were perfect, showing what he faced on a daily basis. They start full of hope, which day by day evaporates as the situation becomes dire. He is terribly homesick and even asks Joyce to send him a Bridport News! He doesn’t get home until 1946. Reading his letters filled me with many ideas for the novel. In Time of Duty is an engaging story set in wartime Britain and beyond, with real characters that I hope the reader cares about."

Mr Legg is holding a launch party at the newly renovated Bridport Literary & Scientific Institute on Thursday, April 5 at 7 pm, where he will be giving a short reading and signing copies of his book. All those interested in attending should email contact@christopher-legg.com.

In Time of Duty is available now at The Bridport Bookshop.