A charity is hoping to reunite a 1917 military telegraph with the family of the soldier it was sent to.

Volunteers at Burgess Hill District Lions' Book Den in the town centre were sifting through donations when they found a Royal Sussex Regiment telegraph nestled between the pages of an old book that was dropped off by an unknown woman.

It is was sent from Brighton and is addressed to Private W O Back of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment at an Army camp in Newhaven and appears to deliver bad news.

It says "Girl arrived Mable very ill" and is from "Mother".

Archie Tipple, community project officer for the Lions Club, launched an appeal on social media in a bid to trace living relatives of the soldier.

Archie also contacted the Royal Sussex Regiment but with no luck.

Many Facebook users who viewed his post joined in the search, trawling through ancestry records with one potentially finding a living relative in Brighton, though they have so far been unable to make contact with him.

The Argus: The 1917 telegraph found inside a book donated to the charityThe 1917 telegraph found inside a book donated to the charity (Image: Archie Tipple)

The charity is appealing for the relative or anyone who has any information to get in touch so it can return the telegraph to its rightful place.

Archie said: “We did not want the document to get lost, or someone to not realise the significance and throw it out.

"I would just really like to reunite the document with the family."

Anyone with information is urged to contact Burgess Hill Lions via the charity's website.