AN AUSTRALIAN director has travelled thousands of miles to pay tribute to his war hero uncle as he attempts to track down his fallen relative’s lost love.

Frank Arnold visited Scotland and Belgium last year to mark the 100th anniversary of his uncle Charles Arnold’s death.

At the same time, Frank has spent the last two years trying to trace his uncle’s lost love, who he believes lived in Dunbar.

His uncle served as a signaller with The Second Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers during the First World War.

Frank, 80, whose family is originally from Ayrshire, said: “Charles had a great friend serving with him. His name was Douglas Strachan.

“Douglas referred to Charles as ‘his dearest friend’.

“And there was also Charles’ other dearest friend, his sweetheart Jessie, and they had plans for a life together when the war ceased to be.”

Unfortunately, the happy couple would never get to start their life together, with Charles killed just weeks before the end of the Great War in 1918.

The family know little about Jessie, other than what was penned in several poems.

Included in a poem entitled ‘Memories of Belton’ is: “Ah, Jessie, my love how I’m longing to be, Back there near you at Dunbar by the sea, Where’er I may wander, my hearts still with you, Though between us there now rolls the deep ocean blue.

“Fondly my memory frequently strays, To the scenes of those joyous and bright golden days, When often through Biel’s shady woods we would rove, With naught to disturb our sweet thoughts of love.”

However, despite attempts to try to find the family of Jessie, Frank – who lives north of Sydney – has been unable to find out what happened.

He said: “As a family we had wondered if she ever found happiness and lived a full life. . . just to complete the story. I remember my father; Harry, recounting how being a six-year-old at the time, accompanying his parents to see his eldest brother Charles board the bus departing from his leave to return to the battlefield.

“Dad told me: ‘I knew I would never see him again.’

“Charles (Sr) was a disciplinarian, and insisted his son Charles leave ‘a day early’, rather than run the risk of returning late from leave.

“The fact that Charles did that, was returned to the field of battle early and lost his life, played heavily on our grandfather, who never forgave himself. Dad confided his father felt responsible for ‘sending his son to the warfront to die’.

“The Great War ended on November 11, 1918. Charles was killed on October 14, 1918, just four weeks before Armistice Day, and four months after his 21st birthday.”

Last year, Frank visited the Museum of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in Glasgow before heading to Dadizeele in Belgium to his uncle’s grave.

Frank, who worked in film and television, including on programmes such as Home and Away and Dynasty, said: “I have no information as to how Jessie and Charles met.

“I guess it’s the fact that I bear Charles name as my second name that it’s such a beautiful yet sad story, and that several family members as well as myself would love to know whether Jessie was able to find happiness after losing Charles. Actually, I was hoping to tell Uncle Charles at his grave that she found happiness.”

Anyone who can help Frank is his quest for details about Jessie should contact the Courier.