Can you reunite Kathy with this haul?

Oxford Mail: Scout leader Helen Turner discovered a stash of newspaper cuttings and clippings about Abingdon Scout Leader Kathy Chalmers Buy this photo » Scout leader Helen Turner discovered a stash of newspaper cuttings and clippings about Abingdon Scout Leader Kathy Chalmers

A SCOUT leader has discovered a cache of newspaper articles in her hut about an Abingdon Scout leader’s war zone mission but does not know how they got there.

The cuttings found in Devon are all about Kathy Chalmers who, in 1993, went on an aid mission to war-stricken Bosnia for charity Feed the Children.

But Helen Turner has no idea how they ended up at her Scout hut at Honiton and the national Scout Association has so far not been able to provide an answer.

Mrs Turner, 55, said: “We were having a big clear-out and we found this plastic bag full of clippings in a little room above the kitchen.

“I was just flabbergasted. There is a letter from a doctor saying someone else should go on the trip.

“It is her personal stuff. I just can’t understand why it was in Honiton Scout Hall, but looked through it because it was so interesting. I just read and read.”

Abingdon Cub Scout leader Kathy Chalmers visited Bosnia in 1993 at the height of the Bosnian-Serbian war which saw 100,000 soldiers and civilians killed.

The conflict, which stretched from April 1992 to December 1995, was sparked by the break up of the former Yugoslavia.

Ethnic Serbs in Bosnia, supported by the Serbian government of Slobodan Miloševic, fought against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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The war saw thousands of Muslim Bosnians and Croats massacred in the name of ethnic cleansing.

Mrs Chalmers, then of Hermitage Road, led an aid appeal in 1992, promoted by the Oxford Mail, which saw her collect food parcels.

She delivered them on a six-day mission and the following spring flew out again with Oxford Mail photographer John Lawrence.

The pair described horrific scenes including people with gunshot wounds to the head lying in the streets.

They visited 300 refugees, victims of ethnic cleansing, staying out in the open on the outskirts of a town.

On her return in April, 1993, she told the Oxford Mail: “I doubted if we would ever get out. We were in the army base in Vitez and were told by the army they were expecting a mortar attack.”

Mrs Turner, leader of 1st Honiton Scouts, wants to return the archives to Mrs Chalmers or her family.

She said: “All the photographs have been carefully cut out. I would love it to go back to her family rather sitting in my loft.”

Do you know Kathy Chalmers or her family? If so call Pete Hughes on 01865 425431 or email pete.hughes@oxfordmail.co.uk

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