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Families can be driven apart for all manner of reasons.
My mum went away and didn't come back.
And when you do lose touch with your loved ones...
I never saw Kathleen again.
..finding them can take a lifetime...
I wonder where he is, I wonder what he's doing.
You don't really know where to begin.
..especially when they could be anywhere, at home or abroad.
And that's where the Family Finders come in.
Hi, it's the Salvation Army Family Tracing Service.
From international organisations...
There's never been a day when we have never had new inquiries.
..to genealogy detective agencies...
When is it you last had contact with him?
..and dedicated one-man bands...
I like to do the searches other people can't get
because it makes me feel good.
..they hunt through history
to bring families back together again.
You are my biological dad.
In this series, we follow the work of the Family Finders.
This case came from our Australian colleagues.
Learning the tricks they use to track
missing relatives through time...
I'm 68 years of age, she's 75 years of age and we're just starting off!
..and meeting the people whose lives they change along the way.
I said, "Well, this is your younger sister."
It's a miracle!
I was struck speechless and I couldn't stop crying.
It's a proud moment...for Dad.
That was the start of finding my family.
Every year, thousands of people across the UK
begin searching for their families.
And just occasionally, they find out that while they're
looking for their relatives, those same relatives are looking for them.
That's what happened to 65-year-old Mark Kerr,
who was desperate to find his father,
but a stroke of luck led him to someone just as interesting.
Mark was born to a single mother in Paddington, West London,
four years after the end of World War II.
25th of December, 1949. A Christmas Day baby.
My dad wasn't about at the time, I suppose, and...
But like I said, back then, it was...
You didn't keep children out of wedlock. You was pushed away.
As a very young boy,
Mark was sent to the Maybourne Children's Home in Sydenham.
It wasn't an orphanage as such because we all had parents,
so I suppose it was a children's home where children was put because their
mums and dads weren't in a position to look after them at the time.
You hear so many stories back in the '50s and '60s,
but I consider myself pretty lucky to have ended up in that house.
Reluctant to completely give him up to the care system,
Mark's parents, Solly and Peggy, used to visit him regularly.
So every second week, my mum would come
and she'd bring a big food parcel and sweets and comics.
My dad used to come and see me every second Tuesday
and I distinctly remember sitting on these massive great steps outside
and sometimes, he didn't turn up and I used to get so upset, I really did.
It was heartbreaking, it really was,
because you look forward to this every second week.
Mark's dad slowly faded from his life and then, aged around ten,
he went back to live with his mum and her new partner.
He was a hard taskmaster, he really was. He didn't like me...
and he made known he didn't like me.
And he... The belt would come off and he, you know...
I was very weary of him.
Mum picked a bad one there.
And that's when I think I went off the straight and narrow.
It's just that I used to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,
got in with the wrong crowd and I think we was caught breaking
and entering into a shop, and, of course, back in them days,
when you got caught, you didn't get no second chances.
I remember sitting in the cell and literally cried to my mum,
"Get me out of here, get me out!"
And I knew I was going to borstal. I knew I was going away for...
I was sentenced for three years, but I think I only did about 18 months
because I must have just knuckled in, done my time and come out.
By the time of his release,
Mark's mum had set up home with another man, Bob.
He was a lovely chap. He idolised her.
He really thought the world of her. Treated me very, very well.
Never once raised a hand, once took his belt off.
He used to run a butcher's shop down the Harrow Road.
And I remember moving in there
and I must have gone to school for about a year,
but then I went down into the butcher's shop
working in the butcher's shop. I was only about 14 or 15,
because back then, you left school fairly young.
And I enjoyed it. I loved the butcher's shop.
But then, tragedy struck the new family unit.
Unfortunately, then, just as things was going on, Mum got meningitis,
I think it was, yeah, meningitis, rushed to hospital and passed on.
When my mum died, I would have been 16, 17.
I think Bob took it fairly bad.
He just threw himself into his work.
We plodded on for a couple of months and I just said to him one day,
"Oh, I've been down Oxford, I'm joining the Army."
But Mark continued to see Bob when he could.
I went to see him a few times when I was on leave from the Army
because I didn't have no family, as such.
And then, unfortunately, we drifted apart.
Christmas times and Easter and stuff like that,
when all the other chaps, all of them going to their mums and dads,
I used to volunteer and do the guard duty for them.
Yearning for a sense of family, Mark decided to trace his
biological father, Solly Levene,
whose details he had on his birth certificate.
Like I say, I was born on the 25th of December, 1949, Mark Joseph.
Father, Solly Levene, a taxi driver working out of London Bridge.
I remember Solly used to come and see me every other Tuesday at Maybourne.
He used to come up in a Vauxhall VX4/90.
We used to go out and about, sometimes to the cinema,
sometimes down to the Crystal Palace.
Crystal Palace Park was just down the road from us at Maybourne.
I remember him, he was always a very smart chap.
Always wore a collar and tie, black hair, Brylcreem.
And, you know, unfortunately, I'm sorry I lost touch with him.
I never asked Mum about Solly.
I never asked her about my dad and she very rarely spoke of him.
Because whenever I used to see him, I used to see my dad separate
and my mum separate, so I would assume there was a bit of
ill-feeling between the two of them, that I'd never see them together.
I did try and trace him in the Army.
There was a family liaison officer,
he heard about my family and everything.
Thanks to all the information Mark had on his father,
it didn't take the Army family liaison officer long to trace him.
But the moment of first contact didn't go quite as Mark had hoped.
He gave me a telephone with a phone number, I dialled the number,
a lady answered, "Oh, hello, can I speak to Solly, please?"
"Yes, who's talking?" And I said, "It's Mark."
And she was insistent. "Just Mark, his son."
Phone went dead.
Because back in them days, when a phone went dead, it was dead.
There was none of this, "Ooh, I've lost you, I've lost you,
"where are you?" It was dead, that was the end of it.
Rejected, Mark gave up hope of tracing any family.
But little did he know, someone else was looking for him.
Every year, more and more people set about trying to find
family members they've lost contact with.
Numerous organisations are now available to help
this difficult and sensitive process.
After 30 years in the police force, Antony Marr set up
a genealogy consultancy helping families reunite across the country.
Many people come to Antony after attempting
a search on their own without success.
So a lot of people get so far and get stuck and get frustrated,
and we try and help them and get past that point, and show them
where they might want to go and look next.
One person who sought Antony's help
is 72-year-old Wendy Brightwell from Buckinghamshire.
I wanted to find out more about my dad, that was the paramount thing.
Wendy grew up in Middlesex with her brother Rod and sister Margaret,
but theirs was an unusual family set-up
because, as well as Dad, there were two ladies of the household.
My mum had the job, when she was a teenager,
of going to the dairy to get the milk and, of course,
she used to get the milk in a churn, and my father worked in the dairy.
Before Wendy was born, her family relocated
and her father invited her mother to come with them
and work as a nanny to the children he already had, Rod and Margaret.
When they decided to move away to Hayes,
I understand that my mother went with them.
Because by this time, she was like a baby-sitter, so...
And I think she was about... I think she was in her early 20s.
But it was soon clear that Wendy's mother
was more than just a baby-sitter.
So by 1942, I arrived on the scene.
Despite already being married to a woman called Lil, Wendy's father
suggested that the young Wendy and her mother join the family home.
As far as I remember, basically, we all lived together.
I do remember...
It was wartime. Rodney and Margaret and myself,
we all lived with my mother, my father and Auntie Lil.
My Auntie Lil was obviously the mother of Rodney and Margret
and, really, my father's wife,
but I've always called her Auntie Lil.
Despite the unusual arrangement of one father and two mothers,
things seemed to work.
We lived very happily together
and I never really thought anything about it,
and I don't think Rod did either, or Margaret.
I mean, we just lived as one big family.
For Rod and me, it was almost like having two mums
because they looked after both of us.
Wendy's father passed away when she was just nine,
after which, the unconventional arrangement broke down.
Obviously, with my father not there, then, you know,
my mother had to then find something to just look after me,
so she moved to a place in Harrow, near Harrow, a place called Kenton.
It was at this point Wendy lost contact with Rodney and Margaret.
There was no way, really, that we could keep in touch
because people didn't have telephones, you know,
no Internet or anything, no mobiles or anything like that.
It wasn't until Wendy was a little more grown-up that she
realised just how unusual her family make-up had been
and it came as a real shock to her.
When I got to about...probably about 10, 11,
it suddenly occurred... I mean, my dad had died by them.
And it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't have the same surname.
And up till then, it hadn't twigged that
I wasn't actually a legitimate child, you know.
And it always felt like a bit of a...a stigma, really.
And also, I wondered if I was really wanted.
Years later, Wendy got married and had three children of her own.
That's when I really started to search and think to myself,
"One of these days, when I've got the time, when the kids have grown up,
"I'm going to start looking and seeing if I can find out",
to put it right in my mind that I was actually wanted.
Desperate to find out what had happened to her old family,
Wendy turned to family finder, Antony Marr.
She wanted to know more about her father,
and of course, he wasn't there to ask any more.
And the more I spoke to her, and I gave her advice about where
she wanted to look, where she might think about looking,
how to find out more information, and she was very happy with that
and she went away, then a little while later came back and
asked me to do the research for her and see where we could get to.
I started to look at Wendy's father's history
and I looked at his World War I service, and I used the records
available online on Ancestry and other websites to find the records
that exist in the National Archives about his World War I service.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a service record for him because
a huge number of those were destroyed in World War II
by German bombing.
Undeterred, Antony dug out what he could on Wendy's father
and pulled in some interesting leads.
The first stage with Antony,
he found out about the service of my dad.
He also found out where the gravestone was
and, amazingly, it was not far from where I live.
So I was able to go there and pay my respects, which was very emotional.
It was just incredible. I was so pleased I could do that.
Meanwhile, Antony had been following a new line of inquiry.
It soon became apparent there was much more to know about her
brothers and sisters that she'd lost touch with
and that was very quickly where the focus of the investigation went.
I wanted to find out if Margaret and Rodney were still alive
because I knew that time was marching on.
I knew they were both older than me and I thought,
"If I don't do something about it, you know, it's going to be too late."
But I was frightened that they would actually want to see me
and want to talk to me.
Because at that point, I still felt that I was like the outsider
and I didn't, you know, I felt very nervous.
I thought, "Well, supposing when I do find them, they'll say, well,
"they don't want to talk to..." You know, they won't want to talk to me.
With no way of knowing what he might discover,
Wendy asked Antony to carry on digging.
Antony soon discovered that Margaret had passed away,
but he put together family trees for both Wendy and her brother Rod.
Rod's family tree led Antony to his son Neil
and some more detective work revealed that Neil's phone number
was actually available on Directory Enquiries.
Once I'd got all the information I needed,
I put it together in a report and arranged to go and see Wendy.
It is a very, very exciting situation to be in,
but it's also quite tense
because I didn't know for certain that Rod was still alive.
I knew his son seemed to be alive and living locally,
but the information is always that little bit extra you don't know.
So we arranged to meet. I went and saw Wendy,
gave her the report, gave the information I had
and we talked about how she might then make contact with Rod's son.
If you're searching for family members by yourself,
Directory Enquires can be a very effective way of finding people,
once you've done some initial family research.
The tricky thing is, you will need to know what town or city
the person you're looking for lives in.
If you don't have these details,
there are various subscription websites which allow you to
search Directory Enquiry records without an address.
Of course, there's then the question of how best to make
an approach, once you've found the telephone number.
Antony said that I could either phone, or he would phone for me,
and I thought, "No, no, I've got to do this myself."
So I rang Neil...Rod's son,
and I was very nervous.
I didn't know what his reaction would be.
I didn't know if he knew about me. He probably didn't.
So I... He answered, and I said, "My name was Wendy."
I said, "Please don't put the phone down",
because I thought he might've put the phone down.
I said, "I think we're vaguely related."
And I said, "Is your dad still alive?"
And he said, "Yes, he is."
And, I said, "Well, do you think you could ring him for me
"and see if he would like to talk to me?"
My son phones up and said, "I've had your half-sister on the phone
"and she wonders if she can phone you."
I said, "Well, of course she can." I wanted to find her,
but I could never find her because I didn't know her surname.
Wendy's sudden departure from family life was
a great shock to Rod at the time.
The next thing I know is Wendy's not there and her mum's not there.
And...at that age, you don't say to your mum, "What's going on?"
She wouldn't have told me anyway, I don't suppose.
So I waited till the next day
and then I rang and, you know,
we spoke to each other for the first time, so it was just amazing.
Obviously, relieved to hear that she was OK.
I was very surprised that she found me cos I didn't think she...
You know, I thought to myself, "She's got to be in her 70s.
"What's she want to look for me for?"
He said, "I knew I had a sister...
"I knew I had a sister, Wendy, out there
"but I didn't know how to find her."
And the reason he didn't know how to find me was,
of course, we had different surnames.
His surname was different to mine
and he couldn't remember what my surname was.
All these years, Rod hadn't known how to even begin looking for Wendy,
but being reunited with her has brought so much to his life.
Apart from my son, she's the only relative I've got,
Wendy, I've got nobody else.
They're all dead...you know.
Wendy and Rod have met up for the first time recently,
but there's still one big thing missing from Wendy's life.
What I would have loved to have had would be a photo of me
with my dad or...
That would have been brilliant.
But I didn't have anything like that. I don't know if Rod has and...
..maybe a photo of us all out together, you know.
We were a family unit, after all.
It would have been nice to see something like that,
just to prove to everybody that...
..spite of my birth
and everything like that, we were just a unit and we were happy.
They're getting together again in a few days
and Rod has promised he'll bring what family photos he has.
So, Wendy will have to wait until then to find out if he does
hold the proof of the happy childhood she so fondly remembers.
Mark Kerr was born Mark Levene to a single mother in 1950s London
and spent his childhood in care and Approved School.
Mark's search for his family began initially with his father,
Solly, but it hit a brick wall when the only lead he had hung up on him.
Phone went dead.
But little did Mark know that, all along, another woman was
conducting an investigation into her identity,
which would ultimately hold the key to Mark's search.
Margaret Teague was born in the '40s and grew up in post-war
south-east London as an only child.
I did have a very good childhood. I can never complain about that.
My parents were absolutely wonderful.
Despite being well cared for,
it was in her teenage years Margaret felt something wasn't quite right.
People used to say, "They your mum and dad?" "Yes."
"Oh, aren't they tiny?!"
It just didn't look right because I was really tall.
When Margaret was 17, she overheard her aunt talking to her mother.
I remember her saying, "Oh, that daughter of yours, she's so...
"Why on earth did we ever have her because she's the black sheep of
"the family." And they didn't think that I'd heard it
and I got quite upset. I walked round the block of flats, you know.
I thought, "Why did they call me the black sheep of the family?"
Then I thought to myself, "Well, perhaps I'm not theirs."
Pushing questions to the back of her mind,
Margaret did her best to get on with her life.
I worked in the bank in the Foreign Exchange in London, in Moorgate.
Then, one day,
a friend again commented on the lack of Margaret's family resemblance.
She said to me one day, "Your father definitely doesn't look like you.
"You definitely must have been adopted."
By then, her mother had passed away, so Margaret asked her father,
the man she called Mike, directly about her possible adoption.
Mike never told me anything.
When I used to say to Mike, "Is it true that I was adopted?"
"No, no, no." He wouldn't... He'd say, "You're just being silly."
Despite her family telling her otherwise,
Margaret was convinced she was adopted,
so she searched for her birth certificate at Somerset House,
where all adoption records were kept.
I said, "I'd like to see if I can get a full certificate."
"Yes, down there, all the Ts are down there."
And I got this book out and I went through page and page and page,
and I couldn't find me.
So, I went back, I said, "I'm not in this era anywhere."
"Down there, you're obviously adopted.
"Just down there, find the Ts."
I went through June, July, August, September, October -
couldn't find anything. Then I went to 21st October and there I was...
There was never any adoption papers.
Nobody could find any adoption papers.
I felt awful.
I got a lump in my throat and I wanted to phone up Mike
and scream down the phone, but I didn't.
Armed with this knowledge,
she tried to broach the subject again with her dad Mike.
He said, "I wish you would be quiet about these things
"because whoever told you this, it's just utter rubbish."
Of course, I'm thinking, "Why have I been told lies all my life?
"I'm not going to have it now."
It felt that, all my life, I was rejected.
Getting nowhere at home, Margaret turned to her aunt.
I told her that I'd got my birth certificate.
"Oh, my goodness," she said, "I always knew.
"I always knew but I could never get the gist of it."
Her aunt then recounted a series of revelations.
My foster mum worked in Woolworths in Bond Street
and my real mum worked as a seamstress off Bond Street.
Margaret's birth mother
and the woman who would eventually adopt her became close friends.
She got married in a red velvet dress and...
..my real mum made her dress.
When her biological mother fell pregnant with Margaret
she wasn't married, which held a great stigma at that time,
so she chose to give Margaret away.
Her mum's close friend couldn't have children,
so was the obvious choice to adopt her.
After revealing all this to Margaret,
her aunt then dropped another bombshell.
"You've got a brother somewhere, I can't remember where he was,
"but he's somewhere." And he was eight or nine years younger than me.
I was determined to see if it was true
cos I always wanted to have a brother or sister.
Margaret spent decades unsuccessfully
searching for her brother.
Then, in 2005, she enlisted the help of an independent family finder
who, after five years of research, finally made a breakthrough.
This is the letter that she sent me telling me all about my mother.
She trained to be a dressmaker at Corots in Bond Street
and was a first-class dressmaker working in Richmond.
The family finder also confirmed her birth mother Peggy
did indeed have a son, Margaret's brother, Mark.
In the March quarter of 1950, Peggy had a son
and he was called Mark J Levene.
It did make me feel better that I've actually found it all out and,
although I'm a mature lady, I can now know the actual truth and not
walk around like I was living a lie all my life, like, "Who am I really?"
With Margaret's consent, the family finder sent a letter to Mark,
the brother she'd never met.
"Dear Mr Kerr, I'm sorry to intrude on your time,
"but I'm hoping that you may be able to assist me with my search.
"I'm trying to chase a Mr Mark Joseph Levene,
"who later took the surname Kerr.
"As my search is of a sensitive nature, I would be grateful
"if you could let me know whether you are the person I'm looking for."
And I sent the letter back confirming who I was.
The family finder then gave Mark a call.
She said, "Are you sitting down?" I said, "Yes."
She said, "Are you on your own?"
I said, "No, I've got one of my daughters with me."
And she actually said, "Look, you've got a sister."
And I just... I just couldn't believe it.
I said, "No." She said, "You have got a sister, Mark." And I just...
Well, I couldn't talk to her.
I had to hand the phone over to my daughter.
Mark and Margaret then arranged to meet for the first time in their lives.
He said, "I've got a daughter that lives in Guildford,
"is that too far?" So, I said we'd meet there.
I just went there and I sat at Guildford railway station
waiting for this train to come in from Brighton.
Saw the train on the board arrive, all these people coming off,
and I saw this woman walk through,
and I knew straight away that that was Margaret.
He knew it was me by my hair because it was like Mum's.
She was the spitting image of Mum, how I remembered her -
tall, blonde hair...
Mum would never go out without any make-up and I went up to her,
tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Margaret?"
And we just fell into each other's arms.
Mark and Margaret have met regularly since they found each other.
But as Margaret was adopted at birth,
she never knew their mother, so today Mark is preparing to share
some of his memories of her in a trip to London.
This is actually the first time that we have met in London.
We're both hoping to get to the cemetery where Mum was laid to rest.
-Hello, my dear. How are you?
-Lovely to see you again.
-All right, then?
-Our mum would be pleased now, wouldn't she?
Believe it or not, this was Mum's old handbag and inside...
-..the pearls she used to wear.
-Oh, look at them. Aren't they lovely?
Gosh. Is it all right if I put these round my neck just for once?
Course it is, love. Of course it is.
-Look at that.
-Yeah, and she used to do that, as well.
Well, look at that. Keep them as a family heirloom from now on.
-And these are headscarves.
-Look at this.
-Never been worn.
-Oh, look at them.
-1962, I think it is.
-A pen there, look.
-Oh, lovely, look at that.
-Pen what me mum used to have.
Yeah. Oh, that's lovely.
Margaret never met her mother.
Today, Mark's taking her to the flat where
he spent the last few years with their mum before she died.
Now we're coming in what I call the Harrow Road proper.
And I believe we used to live on the right-hand side there. 326, there.
Oh, yeah, this is all bringing it back now, Margaret.
It's on the right here somewhere.
498... There's 500. I'm sure it was that one there.
Yeah, that's what I said, it's most probably there.
-There it is. 528.
-What, that one up there?
-528. It's now a wine shop.
Oh, there it is. Look.
Butcher's shop was down there.
A big chiller and a cutting room downstairs.
And that's where we used to live, up there. 528. Happy days.
-Happy days, Margaret.
Mark's happy times here were a far cry from his life
as a young offender in his early teens,
when he spent 18 months in a borstal,
officially known as an Approved School.
These institutions were established in 1933 by the Home Office
as correctional facilities for juveniles.
They were run along the lines of boarding schools,
with strict discipline and corporal punishment.
They was very strict in there. Really strict.
I remember being in the prison van, of some description,
and arriving at this Approved School.
And it was frightening, the first night was absolutely frightening.
You was in a dormitory with about 30 or 40 other children.
You was up at the crack of dawn, 6am, and you had to get up.
You had to get up.
There was an outdoor swimming pool, you had to go in there.
You had to go into the swimming pool. And I remember jumping in there...
Fortunately enough, the ice had been broken by the boys before me.
I remember scrubbing floors, buffing floors, making beds.
Stripping beds, polishing gold pipes,
washing out the toilets, cleaning out the swimming pool.
And I was there till I was about 14, I believe.
When he left Approved School,
Mark only had two more years with his mum Peggy
before she died suddenly of meningitis.
It's been a long time since Mark has been able to visit her grave.
Today, he's taking Margaret there for the very first time.
I think I can see it now, Margaret.
-This is it.
Yeah, there you go.
"In loving memory of my darling Peggy.
"Laid to rest, 14th of January, 1968...
"An angel on earth, now an angel in heaven."
And this is the vase I put on.
You can just about read here.
"..from Mark." You can just about see it there.
This was all white, beautiful white shining marble.
-Yes. All right, Margaret?
-There you go, Mum.
We're back together now.
You've got nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be ashamed of.
Nothing at all, love. If only you'd let us known earlier.
But there it is, what's done is done.
-There you go.
I've go... I've got to go.
-Are you OK now?
-That's all right. Listen, don't you dare say sorry.
-You don't say sorry for anything.
-I can remember the day,
the funeral, now.
It is sort of, like, bringing up a past that
sort of, like, I didn't know a lot about,
and now I've found so much out about it
since I've found my brother.
And I was more than nervous to come up here,
but once I got into the cemetery and to the grave,
I felt totally different.
Now that I know that my mum is there,
it makes the picture a lot clearer now.
And after all these years, I understood everything that
went on and I understand, you know,
these things are a must.
It's just made everything really happy.
upsetting to begin with.
But I'm glad I've come, I'm glad I've found the grave,
it was a lot easier to find. I'm glad I stood there with Margaret,
side-by-side, with Mum.
And it was a really, really lovely experience for both of us.
And we intend to come up again, get the grave cleaned up,
bring some flowers and maybe come up once or twice a year
for as long as we can.
In Buckinghamshire, Wendy Brightwell has reconnected with her half
brother Rod after 60 years apart.
They've met up briefly a few times since getting back in touch,
but today is a huge day for them both.
Rod is bringing some family photos which Wendy has never seen before.
And Wendy will introduce him to her family for the first time,
including the nieces and nephews he never knew he had.
I'm really excited. I couldn't sleep last night, waiting...
waiting to see him again.
I'm hoping he's going to bring some photos with him that we
can look at together and I can show him my photos.
Maybe we will remember things, you know, together that happened
when we were young.
God! I've been so looking forward to this.
So looking forward to meeting you again.
-I'm all right. Yeah.
-You're still tiny.
-I'm still tiny!
I'm going to give you another hug.
-Oh, it's lovely, it's lovely.
-I've got some photos.
-You've brought some photos, lovely.
And I've got all my stuff there as well.
These are the ones I started off with.
-I've got that one.
-Oh, you've got that one?
Yeah, I remember Mum told me not to open my mouth
because I didn't have any teeth at the time.
-I really like that one.
-Really, really nice.
But I find it amazing, Rod, that you've got
all these pictures of me when
I... You know...
I didn't know that you cared about me that much, you know.
Rod now produces the photo which Wendy has been
waiting to see for 60 years.
-Oh, my goodness.
-That's all of us. That's all of us together.
-It is, really.
-Well, it is, because we are all out on a day out.
-I don't remember that.
-Rod, my mum,
-Auntie Marg... Oh, Auntie Lil.
-And Margaret, my sister.
But this is amazing because we were all on a day out
-and Dad must have been taking that photo, mustn't he?
That's just proved to me the fact that we did...
Seeing that is probably the best
because that proves that we were all living together as a family
and everybody was OK with it.
I'm going to put that in a frame and put it on the wall.
Although their family set-up was unusual, Wendy can take comfort from
the fact that Rod's photo shows them as a close-knit and loving unit.
Now Wendy would like to introduce Rod to her immediate family.
She's arranged for him to meet her husband,
daughter and grandchildren in a local cafe.
-This is Lewis.
-Hi, you all right?
-Hello, nice to meet you.
-You didn't know you had an uncle, did you?
-No. And little Ella.
-Are you all right?
-And this is Sue.
-Hi, lovely to meet you.
-Hello, Ken. All right?
-Got a whole new family now.
This is only... This is only a little bit of it.
This is only a part of the family.
-This is the best lot.
I thought we'd introduce you to the best and then you can...
-Meet the riff-raff later.
So what was Nan like when she was little?
I'm almost 77 now, I don't remember much.
And did you think that one day you would ever see her again,
-or never, ever?
-Because I couldn't find her, could I?
-So did you try to find her?
-I can't, can I?
-Rod is Marler, after Dad,
and I was after Nan's name, which is Ballard.
So how did it work out, you all living together?
That must have been rather odd.
Well, because we were young, Rod and I didn't really...
We didn't really think anything of it. But it was an odd set-up.
I mean, two women, one man,
but there was never any trouble.
The neighbours didn't seem to... There was never any...
We were never aware of any bad feeling in the house.
-There was never any rows...
-..that we remember anyway.
-Just all got on with it.
-And we just all got on with it.
It's a bit like a weight has been lifted off her shoulder
because now she has done it.
And it has always been in the back of her mind that she wanted to,
and now it's actually happened, so that is brilliant.
So, I think she has grown in confidence, the fact she has done
the research, obviously with help, but that's quite an impressive thing
to do at 72, is to go online and do all the bits and bobs she's done.
So she has definitely grown in confidence and she is a lot happier, yes, definitely.
How does it feel to meet your great uncle?
And can you believe I've got an uncle after all these years?
-Yeah, it's a bit strange.
-A bit strange. A nice strange.
Yeah. I think it'll be nice, like...
-..get to know him a bit more
and find out more info and stuff.
As family are so important to Mum,
meeting Rodney is really fantastic and she's really happy about it,
and we are all delighted to meet another new member of our family.
-It's the icing on the cake.
-It is the icing on the cake.
Good quote, Lydia.
And for Rod and Wendy, a new chapter of their lives has begun.
Family is important, it's always been a search to find
the rest of my family, to find the family that I grew up with,
so to find Rod is just amazing.
-And I've got a lot more family than I did have before.
I only had one, I only had a son. Now I've got loads.
It just makes our family complete
and... And that's just wonderful. It's just what I wanted.
It's been a successful family gathering
and this is only the start.
There are plenty more relatives
for both Wendy and Rod to connect with in the future.
But there's still one family mystery that needs to be solved.
Their father, who had lived with both their mothers
at the same time, was a bit of an enigma
when it came to many parts of his life.
So we've sort of looked at all of our photos and things,
-but there's not really much here about Dad...
..what he did in the First World War.
I don't know anything about what he did because all...
As I say, all he ever said to me was, "Oh, you don't want to know."
Don't want to know.
-I knew he was in Egypt, but that's all I knew.
We'll go down in a minute and see Antony,
and hopefully he'll have a lot more to show us.
The genealogist who brought them together, Antony Marr,
has managed to find some of their father's military records
and they contain some fascinating insights into his wartime heroics.
-Hiya, Wendy, how are you?
-Nice to see you again.
And you must be Rod, I've heard a lot about you.
So you came to see me and you brought along
-some information about your father.
And we had a photograph of him,
we had some information about when he died
and we had some information that he had served in the First World War.
You asked me if I could then find out more information
-and add something to what you already knew.
So what I did, I went away and I looked him up
in the World War I records, and we found the...medal index card
-that shows he served in the London regiments.
And that he did qualify for two medals,
-the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
And we also had some information about which parts
of the regiment he may have served in, so that's the starting point.
And from that index card, what I actually did,
I went to the National Archives and I looked up the actual medal roll,
which is the register that this refers to,
which tells us what he was doing and where he was serving,
and how he qualified for those medals.
this is a copy of the actual medal roll that that card was
just an index to. So you can see his name here -
-George William Marler.
And that's the service number that he finished with,
-when he was in the 22nd London Regiment.
But it tells us here that he served in the 14th and the fourth.
The interesting thing, though, is this number here, where it says 1A. "Theatre of war served in 1A."
-Well, that tells us it was in France and Flanders...
..and that's how he qualified. So it shows he carried on...
or that his battalion carried on,
and he reached a place, or the battalion reached a place,
called Sars-la-Bruyere, in Belgium, near Mons, on Armistice Day.
And when you think, when you look at the photograph of him there,
in his smart uniform,
that no doubt he probably had that taken just before he left...
-to leave with his family.
-And very proud...
-Very proud young man.
-18 years old. Just a little bit more probably.
-He said he was in Egypt,
-that's what he told me.
-He could have been. He could have been.
I think we said that, didn't we?
-You thought he might have been in Palestine.
I think the interesting thing is that the war...
The medal roll is actually the medal roll of the 22nd London Regiment,
that he appears in, but there's no service shown
qualifying for a medal in the 22nd...
-..so I think perhaps he moved on to the 22nd,
maybe after the war ended, and went on to Egypt or Palestine.
So I hope that's answered all the questions you had, Wendy,
-and it's been great to meet you, Rod.
-How was that, then?
I've learned so much just from that. You know, I knew a lot.
-Yeah, I learnt about...
-But you must have...
-I learnt a hell of a lot today.
Because I didn't know half of it. You've done well.
So we need to sort of sit down and have a little think now
and put it all together.
The feeling of putting somebody's history
back in front of them and letting them see where they came from
and how that worked out for them, it is so rewarding.
The feeling of them filling the gaps that's in their
mind about their history, it can be really rewarding at that point.
And getting them... Sitting down with them and going through it
and explaining how all their family fit together,
and sometimes even managing to put them back together again.