LAST month, The Sunday Age asked readers if they recognised the people in a wartime photograph from 70 years ago. On a crowded railway platform, two soldiers hoist a woman on their shoulders so she can kiss a soldier as he heads off to World War II.
We assumed the woman was the man's sweetheart, but Charlotte Chidell emailed to say: ''The soldier in the photograph of The Sunday Age looks very like my late father-in-law, John Patrick Purcell.''
In an interview, she said that photo ''reminded me of my husband and looked like my father-in-law. But online it looked a bit different. So it's still a bit of a mystery.''
Ms Chidell said that Mr Purcell was born September 23, 1922. He enlisted in the army at the outbreak of the war, serving with the Army Ordnance Corps, including 2½ years in New Guinea.
''The woman may be an aunt, as it is not his mother and his sister was younger,'' wrote Ms Chidell.
We asked Charlotte to provide some more details, but we haven't heard back.
The photograph was discovered 10 years ago at the State Library website by Michael Heyward, publisher at Text. It was cited as part of The Argus newspaper collection, and dated August 14, 1940. But it may not have been published, and searches by The Sunday Age of the National Library website, where microfilm copies of the newspaper have been converted to a digital format, failed to find the photograph.
Heyward said he kept the photo as a potential book jacket. Indeed, it was eventually adopted by novelist Toni Jordan, and serves as the cover illustration on her new book, Nine Days, which is set in Melbourne during the war - the assumption being the photograph was taken at a Melbourne railway station. But readers have pointed out the policeman in the photo is wearing a New South Wales uniform.
This suggests the photograph may belong to The Sydney Morning Herald and not The Argus. But a search of the SMH editions from and around August 14, 1940, also drew a blank.
So our call for assistance remains.
■ Address any and all clues to: email@example.com