An Alberta senior citizen got a special Christmas surprise last week, when a letter his mother had mailed to him during the Second World War showed up at his door.

Namao, Alta. resident Jack Speers had been stationed at a military base in St. Thomas, Ont. when his mother sent the letter. During his time training to be an aircraft mechanic, he received many letters from his mother – and then 69 years later, he got one more.

“It must have gone to Ontario but where it went from there I haven't got a clue and nobody else seems to know either,” he told CTV News on Thursday. “She mailed it the day that she wrote it, the day before Christmas, 1943.”

The letter begins: “Dear Jack... Sorry you finally got caught up with the flu.”

Speers’ mother writes about the family's plans for Christmas and gifts she had purchased, including a $12 fountain pen for his father, a rather pricey gift for that era. That would be $159.39 in today’s dollars, according to the Bank of Canada’s inflation figures.

“She tried to get a 22-calibre rifle for my brother but there were none to be had,” he said, noting he’s not surprised because guns were in short supply during the war.

It ends: “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Signed Mom.”

Speers’ mother died 20 years ago, so he considers himself lucky to have such a tangible reminder of her this Christmas. The document remains in good shape, and arrived at his door on Nov. 30 in the hands of a Morinville RCMP officer.

The letter’s location all these years remains a mystery, but it was eventually found in possession of a youth in Speers’ community and turned over to police by his caregiver.

“How it came… into the possession of this youth, I can't say for sure,” said Cpl. Bryce Tarzwell, who did not deliver the letter, but followed up with Speers on Monday. “But it was not lost in the mail for 70 years.”

With files from CTV Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson