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Teddy bear WWII soldier gave to wife battling cancer set to fetch hundreds

The 80-year-old ted named Bear was a token of love brought back to England by serviceman Horace Fenton during the 1940s conflict to comfort his wife Lillian

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The WWII bear coming up for auction (L) & Horace and Lillian Fenton on their wedding day in 1937 (R). (Hansons via SWNS)

By Bradley Stokes via SWNS

A war-time teddy bear given by a soldier to his wife as a symbol of hope as she battled cancer while he fought during WWII is going under the hammer.

The 80-year-old ted named Bear was a token of love brought back to England by serviceman Horace Fenton during the 1940s conflict to comfort his wife Lillian.

The couple were torn apart by war in 1942 when Horace was posted to France and Germany and at around the same time Lillian was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Family member Emma Evans said Bear took pride of place in the couple's bedroom as a symbol of hope that they would one day be reunited for good.

The WWII bear coming up for auction. (Hansons via SWNS) .

She said the nine inch vintage toy sat on a chest of drawers during the conflict and also served as a lucky mascot and a forget-me-not until Horace returned from battle.

Emma, from Stafford, was left Bear by her Great Uncle Horace and believes the time is right for the cuddly toy to be loved by someone new.

The veteran teddy is expected to fetch between £200-£300 ($261-$391) when it is sold by Hansons Auctioneers on April 20.

Emma said: “On November 19, 1942, while traveling from his home in Blyton, near Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, to Matlock Bath in Derbyshire, Horace was called up to enlist as a sapper in the Royal Engineers.

"He had to leave behind his beautiful wife of five years, Lillian, and head off to do his training.

“By December 22, 1942 he had completed his rifle practice, hand grenade and Bren gun training.

"We cannot imagine what was going through the minds of these young men.

Horace and Lillian Fenton on their wedding day in 1937. (Hansons via SWNS) .

"They were catapulted out of their everyday lives with loved ones and thrown into the fear and trepidation of a world unknown to anybody.

"But with a duty to serve and protect their country, Horace and his comrades had a job to do.

“As a skilled carpenter, his talents were put to good use building the Mulberry Harbours in Portsmouth which enabled rapid offloading of cargo on to the beaches during the war.

“Horace took part in the push through to Germany and was posted to Ryde and Bembridge in the Isle of Wight, Arromanches-les-Bains in Normandy, France, and Duisburg and Hamburg in Germany.

“Throughout this time his wife was battling ovarian cancer. This left her infertile.

"Deeply saddened by this news, as children would have been a wonderful addition to their lives, Horace brought Bear back on his next trip home.

“The love token adorned their large wooden chest of drawers in their bedroom.

"Lillian could see the teddy as she fell asleep each night, hoping her husband would return - and he did.

“He celebrated VE Day in Duisburg with his comrades and hundreds of locals - a joyous day after a long, drawn-out war.

"They eventually traveled east to Hamburg before returning back to their loved ones in the UK.

The WWII bear coming up for auction. (Hansons via SWNS)

“Unable to have children of their own, they doted on me, their only great niece. I have some beautiful memories of spending school holidays and weekends with them.

"Horace was a most gentle soul, such a kind human being. He loved his dogs, horses and vegetable patch and would often have me dabbling with all three.

“Years later, I can still picture Bear on their chest of drawers. The toy was left to me as a token of love in their will.

"It's now time for Bear to be loved by someone else.”

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “What a wonderful, evocative story.

"Bear is around 80 years old now, a poignant reminder of a wartime love story and a symbol of hope.

"His story makes him extra special and that will appeal to teddy bear collectors worldwide.”

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