Sarah Adams lost her 21 year old son, Private James Prosser, when he was killed by an IED in Helmand last September. Unable to face Christmas at home she went with her family to Barbados, partly because previously in 2004 James had won a holiday in Barbados in a competition and he had given it to his mum.
While in the Caribbean she and her other children wrote letters of love to James, saying how much they missed him – they then decided to put the letters into an empty Sambuca bottle (James’s favourite drink) and threw it into the sea.
Mrs Adams said she wrote how much she missed him and also wrote an open letter to whoever found the bottle.
She said: “I wanted to make everyone aware that we’re responsible for the world we live in, not to forget the soldiers who have given up their lives and to be aware that we are a country at war.”
She also wrote a note to her dead father, asking him to look after James.
Seven months and 1,300 miles later the bottle was found.
The bottle was found by team from Progressive Pipe Management on July 15, who were working on Horn Island, Mississippi cleaning up oil leaking from a BP pipeline off the coast of Louisiana following the explosion in April.
Each member of the team took a letter and read it. They wanted to get in touch with Mrs Adams but couldn’t make out the address although they knew it was in South Wales. So they contacted The South Wales Argus.
Crew supervisor Doug Kirchoff, 38, said: “It’s taken everybody by heart. It’s amazing how we’re thousands of miles away but how we’re drawn so close by something we’re all affected by. It’s pretty touching, it’s like we actually know the family just by reading the letters.”
When they got Sarah’s address they wrote her a letter.
Words cannot express our heartfelt sympathy for your family over the loss of James.
Your letters describe a remarkable young man who was very loved by his family and friends. We extend our gratitude to James for the service he did in Afghanistan and we recognise the courage, the strength and the bravery it requires to serve in the armed forces. You and he are in our thoughts as we all continue to pray for the safe return of our soldiers worldwide.”
As we are certain he did before his death, James has continued to touch the lives of many people in a positive way. Finding that bottle is something we will never forget.
Sarah Adams was deeply touched by their reply, which reached her just before her birthday, always a difficult time after a loved one’s death, looking for the birthday card that will never come.
Sometimes I feel disheartened and miserable about life but there are people there and people who we’ve met who are so caring and thoughtful.
Amen to that……