It is 10 years since we reported on how a fascinating insight into Leytonstone in the Second World War had been uncovered following the discovery of 100 forgotten letters in a dusty old shoebox.

Kathleen Ford, of Forest View in Leytonstone, and future husband Ray Hibberd were teenagers when they first met. However the circumstances were not exactly normal.

In 1940 he was an 18-year-old Royal Artillery Gunner at a military base in Kent. She was 19 and in the women's Auxiliary Territorial Service using searchlights to guide his anti-aircraft fire in the night sky.

Their love blossomed but was soon dealt a blow when they were deployed to different regions of the country as the Second World War intensified, with Ray later being transferred to Europe to help the fightback against the Nazis after D-Day.

But they managed to maintain their relationship through a series of letters, which have now been uncovered 70 years later by writer Sara Goodwins.

Ms Goodwins, 50, was shown the papers by a dealer of historical documents, and she was so intrigued she spent the next four years researching the two young lovers.

Her book, Dear Ray, tells the story of their lives between 1940 and 1946 - when the series of letters, which also includes correspondence to other family members, stops.

“It's been absolutely fascinating”, said Ms Goodwins. “One of the most astonishing things is the lack of grumbling. They had a huge amount of inconvenience but what shines through are the jokes and how they seem to be having fun.

"At one point her father describes how he walked seven miles to work because of bombing in Leytonstone – it never occurred to him simply to stay at home.”

Ms Ford, who, like Ray, was posted to various locations in the UK, also spent much of the war living with her parents and four brothers in their home behind what is now O'Neills pub in Leytonstone.

“The family was fairly affluent and it is surprising looking back just how many people were living in the house”, said Ms Goodwins.

The couple eventually married and had a baby daughter. But what happened after 1946 remains a mystery.

Ms Goodwins, from Surrey, said: “We've tried researching and placed adverts in newspapers where they lived, but haven't been able to find out anything. We know that Ray was in Germany and demobilised in 1946 so we hope it was a happy ending.”