Toronto man shares grandparents' love letters from WWII found in old suitcase

Jason McDowall is transcribing more than 500 love letters his grandparents wrote each other during the Second World War. He discovered them while cleaning out their house after the death of his grandfather.

Jason McDowall's blog Little Blue Suitcase captures the story behind a 77-year marriage

This grandson discovered love letters from WWII in an old suitcase. Here’s how people responded

1 year ago
Duration 2:31
Jason McDowall discovered a little blue suitcase while he was helping clean out his grandparent's home after his grandfather died. Inside were over 500 love letters exchanged between his grandparents during the Second World War. Talia Ricci has the story — and the reaction.

A Toronto man has taken on a big project during the pandemic. While helping clean out his grandparents' home after his grandfather died, Jason McDowall discovered a little blue suitcase.

Inside  was more than 500 love letters exchanged between his grandparents during the Second World War. 

"They had exchanged these letters being separated by distance because of the war and I thought this is a really interesting story to give people almost a sense of hope being separated in the time of the pandemic," McDowall said.

He started to transcribe the letters on a blog called Little Blue Suitcase for his family to enjoy, but then people started sharing the link and McDowall was receiving comments from people around the world who were reading it. 

McDowall says so far he's transcribed around 110 of the letters. He is reading them for the first time as he transcribes them.

"So I'm taking the journey and discovering things along with all those reading the blog," he said. One day he hopes to turn the letters into a book.

 One of the things he's taken away from reading these letters is learning not to take things for granted.

"As I read these letters and a war is raging across the world and they don't even know what's going to happen and so they take in the little pleasures."


Talia Ricci is a CBC reporter based in Toronto. She has travelled around the globe with her camera documenting people and places as well as volunteering. Talia enjoys covering offbeat human interest stories and exposing social justice issues. When she's not reporting, you can find her reading or strolling the city with a film camera.