PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. - A Peachtree City man who lost his wallet is glad to have it back, even if it took 77 years.
Roy Rotz lost his wallet in California in 1941. How it ended up in Europe during World War II aboard a Royal Air Force bomber is quite a story.
Roy Rotz was deep in the belly of a British bomber on an assembly line at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California when his wallet slipped from his pocket.
Now he is 100 years old and remembers that day like it was yesterday. He was an electrical inspector whose job was to climb through the plane’s narrow spaces.
“I looked in every one of the airplanes I worked on and couldn't find it. No luck,” Rotz said.
Edgar Warren Birds not only found the wallet but held onto it for decades and even passed it on to relatives when he died.
Birds had been in the Royal Air Force in Derbyshire England during the war, according to Roy’s family. How and when he found it, we don’t know. But Birds’ family says it was passed down two more generations after his death.
His granddaughter Diane MacKinnon of Scotland located Rotz’s family on the internet thinking he’d be long deceased by now.
“She was shocked...she didn’t know her grandfather because he passed away a few decades ago," Cindy Williams, Rotz’ daughter said. "So she was hoping that my 'DD' had somehow known her grandfather. But that wasn’t the story,”
Rotz still gets around pretty well. He lives in Arbor Terrace, a senior living community in Peachtree City and will celebrate his 101st birthday this December.
Inside that wallet was Roy’s driver's license. He’d just gotten out of the Navy, so his address was the USS Phoenix which was not much help in returning the wallet.
“We are just really thankful to this family for getting the wallet and the documents to us,” Williams said.
“I wonder about that. Why would he keep a strange wallet? Keeping it and passing it on to his son and daughter. I can’t imagine someone doing that,” Rotz said.
Rotz said he plans to pass it down to his family too, along with the great story that goes with it.