Mysterious message

Penny Alexander shared with us a cryptic birthday greeting from her mother, and she added: “Seeing this has reminded me that little gestures can go a very long way in making people feel special.”
Recently I found a book that the Deceased Lady received as a present many years ago. Inside the book there is a handwritten message:

Aug 11th 1935

[Deceased Lady’s full name]
Gratefull [sic] Friends

Aug. 11th 1935

In remembrance of what
your Dad has done for us.
A Friend in Need
Is a Friend in deed


Who J.B and S.B were, and what the Deceased Lady’s father had done for them, I have no idea. Probably no-one now living could tell me.
What I do know is that he was a very kind and helpful man. The Deceased Lady’s mother told me that one day (it must have been in the early 1920s), two young men had called at her house, hoping to find her husband at home. Unfortunately, he was out. They spoke in glowing terms of how, on the Western Front, he had taken them under his wing. Once, a German shell had exploded in their trench, and one of the young men had been buried under a heap of earth. The Deceased Lady’s father had saved his life by digging him out. “Mr Xerxes was like a father to us.” Bear in mind that, even on Armistice Day 1918, the Deceased Lady’s father was only 29.
Were those two young men J.B and S.B? I doubt it very much. The Deceased Lady’s mother said that the two young men, who I think lived in a town about forty miles away, did not call again.

[Original posting 30 September 2011]

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