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A Sailor’s Wish: V-Mail message from Mathews man resurfaces 79 years later

Somewhere in the winter of 1944-45, in a convoy patrolling the North Atlantic aboard the destroyer escort USS Brough, yeoman first class Grover Lee Armistead Jr. jotted down a New Year’s greeting to friends and family back in Mathews on a V-Mail sheet, a cheerful drawing to let his loved ones know he was doing well and to share the hope that 1945 would be a better year.

This drawing of a young sailor standing atop the world, an interesting bit of World War II ephemera, might have been lost forever if David Lowe of Mathews hadn’t saved it from the trash bin.

About a year ago, Lowe was helping to clean out the home of Jerry Fruehbrodt after the former owner of Sibley’s General Store in Mathews had passed away.

Lowe came across the small framed item and was told just to pitch it in the trash. “Why are you going to throw this out,” he asked, and the self-proclaimed history lover decided to hang onto it instead.

Lowe didn’t know where the item came from or how it ended up in Fr...

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