Luckarift/Paine Heir Hunters


Luckarift/Paine

Series following the work of probate researchers. The team looks into the estate of Edward Luckarift who died in North Wales and, during the 1960s, worked as a BBC scriptwriter.


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Transcript


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Welcome to Heir Hunters, where we follow the search for relatives

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of people who've died without leaving a will, hoping to unite them with forgotten fortunes.

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Today, the heir hunters are looking into an estate

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worth a possible £80,000.

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Across the UK, the hunt is on for the relatives

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who could be in line for a windfall.

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Could someone be knocking at your door?

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On today's show, the heir hunters take a massive risk

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on an estate that may have debts attached.

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The work we do is a big gamble,

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cos we don't know the value of the estate.

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I'll be finding out about the creative career of a man who worked

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on one of our best-loved TV shows.

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David Frost came on the phone and he said, "What's all this idea?" I told him and he said, "Oh, great! Super!"

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And the team uncover the story of a courageous lady who braved bombs

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and blazes to serve her country during the Second World War.

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It was a dangerous job. You would be out in the raids,

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subject to the same kind of risks that the men were.

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Plus, how you could be entitled to unclaimed estates

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where beneficiaries need to be found.

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Could you be in line for an unexpected windfall?

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Every year in the UK,

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an estimated 300,000 people die without leaving a will.

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If no relatives are found, then any money that's left behind

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will go to the Government.

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Last year, they made £14 million from unclaimed estates.

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There are over 30 specialist firms competing to stop this happening.

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They're called heir hunters and they make it their business

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to track down missing relatives and help them claim their rightful inheritance.

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I make sure that the Government doesn't seize assets which do not belong to them.

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Heir hunting can be a risky business, and today, the team take

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a chance on a case they hope will have value. Will the gamble pay off?

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It's 7am on a Thursday morning, and staff at Fraser & Fraser,

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the UK's largest heir hunting firm, are already hard at work.

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The Treasury have just published their list of people

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who've died without leaving a will. The team are poring over the names.

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Today's list is particularly lengthy.

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Absolutely huge list for us today. I can't work them all.

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There's 38 on the list.

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But one case has caught partner Neil's attention.

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The only case we're looking at actively at the moment

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and drawing up trees is a case called Luckarift.

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The reason we're doing that is

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we were able to find the deceased was a company director at one time.

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Heir hunters are paid a percentage of an estate's final value.

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So there must be enough money in the case for them to cover costs

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and hopefully make a profit.

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A company director is likely to have had high earning power

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and could have left a substantial sum of money.

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So Neil is hopeful this will be a valuable estate.

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Edward Luckarift died on 29th March 2010 in North Wales.

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He was 90 years old.

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He spent the last years of his life

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in the small Welsh seaside resort of Penmaenmawr, and it was here

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that he struck up a friendship with fireman Harry Colecliffe.

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Harry met Edward by chance

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when he was conducting a fire service training exercise in a scrapyard.

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Somebody came running into the scrapyard, and said,

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"There's an elderly gentleman on the floor outside, near the road."

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We got the crew together, went out to render first aid

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and phoned an ambulance. And that was Edward.

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And just as he was getting into the ambulance, he handed me some keys

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and said, "Could you look after my dog?" And off he went.

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That was the first time I met Edward.

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It was also the beginning of a strong friendship,

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as Harry started to visit Edward in hospital.

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I was stuck with his dog,

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so I went to find out how long he'd be in hospital,

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and it built up a friendship. He was a real gentleman.

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Quite a wit about him. He had so many interesting little stories.

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So you sat there and you didn't actually say a word!

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All you would say is, "Oh, what happened then?"

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Off he'd go again and tell you another part of the story!

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In the office, Neil has tracked down Edward's address,

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but he's also discovered a financial record

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which suggests there may be debts on this estate.

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That address has got a caution on...by a bankruptcy firm,

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which doesn't sound that good,

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but I think it's because he probably owned it at some time.

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Taking on a case where the deceased has filed for bankruptcy is risky.

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If there's no money in the estate, the team could end up

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working for no reward.

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But if Edward owned the property he lived in, in Wales,

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it could be worth £80,000.

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So Neil thinks it's a risk worth taking.

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There are very few people with the surname Luckarift in Britain.

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The team have less names to work with

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and a higher chance of finding the right family.

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So research gets off to a flying start,

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and by 8am, Neil thinks he's found Edward's paternal grandparents.

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Frederick Alfred, he's 50, so was born in 1860.

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Anywhere in particular?

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Er, Jersey. This one here, wife is Carterelle.

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They were married circa 1883 and they had three children.

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The father's side of the family appear to be

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based in Jersey in the Channel Islands.

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Neil believes Edward's paternal grandparents

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were Frederick and Carterelle Luckarift.

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They had three children -

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Kathleen, Evelyn and Frederick, who is Edward's father.

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Kathleen and Evelyn would be Edward's paternal aunts.

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And if they had any living children,

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they could be heirs to Edward's estate.

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At the moment, I'm looking at the Evelyn stem.

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She's married to a Nightscale, but I've just found her death.

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She's died as Nightscales. Even though she's changed the name slightly,

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she still hasn't had any children.

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So looks like it's probably a dead stem, unless she adopted someone.

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If Evelyn has had no children,

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the only remaining hope on the father's side

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is Edward's aunt Kathleen, but Gareth is having trouble tracking her down.

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All we know is that she's born around 1889, in Jersey,

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and living in 1911 in Salford. Other than that, I'm not finding anything.

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Most likely scenario is she's gone back to Jersey.

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The team still don't know whether there's any money in this estate,

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so all their hard work could end up being for nothing.

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But it's still only 8.30 and, although they've hit a dead end

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on the father's side, on the mother's side, they're racing ahead.

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So we've got Ernest Cox, he's head. He's male. Born 1862.

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He's been married for 16 years. Wife, white female, born December...

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1865.

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1865. She's married. OK, so now we know, that on the mother's side,

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there's only her and her brother.

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Tony has discovered that Edward's maternal grandparents,

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Ernest Gresley Cox and Amelie, only had two children -

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Edward's mother Ernestine and her brother, Edward.

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Edward Gresley Cox was born in 1891, which would make him 23

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at the outbreak of the First World War.

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So Neil wonders whether there might be an Army record for him.

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British Army. Is he old enough for the Army? Yes.

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His hunch proves correct.

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He was a Flight Lieutenant. General...

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No, he'd be in the Royal Flying Corps, wouldn't he?

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He is, he's in the Royal Flying Corps.

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From an old Army record, Neil has discovered that Edward Luckarift's

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uncle, Edward Gresley Cox, fought for his country in World War I.

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He trained as a pilot and served as Second Lieutenant

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in the Royal Flying Corps from 1917 to 1918.

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The Royal Flying Corps is a separate entity of the British Army.

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It was formed in 1912. They'd been going about two years before

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the First War started.

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The First World War introduced a new form of battleground.

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Whereas before, wars were fought on land and sea, the development

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of the aeroplane meant the battle could also be taken to the skies.

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And this created a new kind of hero.

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Brave young aviators prepared to risk their lives in the skies

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far above the battlefields.

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It certainly attracted people with more of a spirit of adventure,

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and many chaps I met were certainly slightly different.

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They had this sense of adventure. Aviation attracted people like this.

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During the First World War, Edward Gresley Cox was stationed

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out in Salonika in Greece,

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where the initial role of the British Army was to help the Serbs

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who were being attacked by German, Austro-Hungarian

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and Bulgarian forces.

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The Royal Flying Corps provided air support and reconnaissance.

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But being so far removed from front line action had its disadvantages.

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The other theatres where the British Army fought were known

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as the sideshows, sort of not the main event,

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and any decent equipment was always held back for operations

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on the Western Front -

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Passchendaele, Arras and the Somme.

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These other theatres, and Salonika in particular,

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really got only the poor or obsolete equipment

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which wasn't needed on the Western Front.

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These obsolete aircraft were no match

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for the modern German machines,

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which were faster and much more effective in battle.

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The British response to this problem was to borrow some fighters

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from the French air force.

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But these planes also came with built-in problems.

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The aeroplanes they borrowed off the French was the Nieuport Scout,

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a standard fighter in the French Air Service.

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It was equipped with a rotary engine. These were pretty unreliable

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and could be fickle, so engine failures were not infrequent.

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It was unfortunately while flying one of these aircraft

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that Edward Gresley Cox died.

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On February 22nd, 1918, he and another pilot

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in another French Nieuport Scout

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went out on a reconnaissance mission.

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Unfortunately, Gresley Cox had an engine failure,

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and while trying to put the aircraft down on suitable terrain,

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crashed and was killed.

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Back in the office, Neil has just discovered

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this tragic turn of events.

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Killed.

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That's important.

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So he died 22nd February, '18.

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War records are a vital tool in genealogy, providing heir hunters

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with valuable clues about people's lives and family histories.

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Most soldiers were required to make a will before going into combat.

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And it doesn't take Tony long to find one for Edward Gresley Cox.

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This is the probate for the uncle of the deceased,

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who was killed in the Royal Flying Corps in 1918.

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Just to say that he's left £141 in 1918.

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The team must establish who Edward Gresley Cox left his money to.

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Could he have left it to a wife and children?

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If he did have children and they're still alive,

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they would be cousins of Edward Luckarift's and heirs to his estate,

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an estate whose value the team have yet to discover.

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Neil has taken a risk in pursuing this case.

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The work we do is one big gamble,

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cos we don't know the value of the estate.

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And he's yet to find out if his gamble has paid off.

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The heir hunters still have a lot of investigating to do,

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but their research doesn't just reveal beneficiaries.

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The heir hunters discovered that Edward Gresley Cox, the uncle of Edward Luckarift,

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lost his life during WWI by uncovering his Army records.

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So how can military archives help you find out more about your relatives who served in the forces?

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I'm meeting heir hunter Simon Grosvenor, who can tell me more.

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So how do military records help in an heir hunt?

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They're very useful because the Army were very organised about keeping records.

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So there are a lot of records relating to people who've served

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not only in the Army, but the Navy and eventually the Air Force as well.

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They have a lot of records that tell you things about people we can't find out elsewhere.

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For example, in WWI, soldiers were asked to make a will

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and in their service book, there was a page - curiously page 13 -

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where they could make a will and they would write down their next of kin or whoever they wished it to go to,

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and sign it. If they were unfortunately enough killed,

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the Army would be able to know who their next of kin were.

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The wills in the soldiers' pay books detailing their final wishes

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sadly proved very necessary during WWI.

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It's estimated that up to 1 million British soldiers

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died in the conflict, with 60,000 casualties

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on the first day of the Battle of the Somme alone.

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And what if you had a relative who'd died in the war?

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There are various websites that record records of soldiers who died

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and war graves you can trace as well.

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Those will give you more information about people if you can find it.

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So I have my great-grandfather's brother, I think, died in the war.

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Is it possible to look him up?

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We can. Do you know his name?

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He was Thomas Lister Holmes, which was H-O-L-M-E-S.

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And there he is.

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-You only get the initials.

-OK.

-T L Holmes - we've only got the one,

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and it's almost certainly him.

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It gives his rank, his regiment, his age, when he died

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and his service number.

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You'll also note that it says here he was buried in Sturton-LeSteeple Cemetery...

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-Also where he was born.

-Which is where the address was - it tells us it's in Withington in Manchester.

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It would suggest therefore that he was at home when he died.

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I would imagine he died as a result of wounds he'd received.

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There are various other sources that can be useful

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when tracing your ancestors who served in the military,

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including pension records,

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regimental indexes of births, marriages and deaths

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and service records of soldiers, which contain details

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of their postings, as well as personal information.

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The next of kin originally here

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was his father. And then it's been changed to an aunt, so I presume

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that his father died.

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I think it's amazing. You can get so much information

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from this Army record that for an heir hunter, this must be gold.

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They are very useful.

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If you can find it, it will tell you things that you might not be able to find,

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particularly if they are abroad and you don't know where they've gone.

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You can find out if they had children, who they were, when they were born.

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You can find out something about what they looked like

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and how tall they were. You might find out if you're really tall,

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you had a very tall great-grandfather or a very short great-grandfather.

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And I think people like to know that. So you get to know more about them

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than you would just from a death certificate or something.

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-It actually builds a picture up, doesn't it?

-Thank you.

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Next, the story of a woman who did her duty for this country.

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But can the heir hunters find any relatives entitled to inherit her estate?

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Heir hunting cases can come from a variety of different sources.

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Most are published on the Treasury list, but some are referred

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by individuals or solicitors acting on their behalf.

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This was the case with Diana Paine.

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She lived an exciting and glamorous life,

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surrounded by people who loved her.

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She was always full of life and game to do anything at all.

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But for some reason, she decided not to leave a will.

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Diana died on 14th April 2010, in Langton Green near Tunbridge Wells.

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She was 91 years old.

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She had spent the last 18 years of her life with her companion,

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Ernest Armstrong, who she met via a lonely hearts advert in a magazine.

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My wife died in 1991,

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and, like a lot of men,

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not knowing what to do with themselves,

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I put the advert into the magazine, and Diana got in touch with me.

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Both of us were looking for one thing and one thing only,

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and that was companionship.

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You can't wander round a house all day long looking at pictures.

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You have to do something. We were very lucky. We clicked right away.

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Diana left an estate worth £20,000,

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but she died without leaving a will.

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I don't know why she didn't make a will. I've no idea.

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Whether simply because she didn't have any relations as such,

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or any nephews or nieces or anything like that,

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to whom the money would have gone.

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Keen to find out whether Diana did have any family,

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and thus prevent her money going straight to the Government,

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Ernest contacted a firm of solicitors.

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They referred the case to the heir hunters.

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We were instructed by the solicitors. They knew we could act quickly

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and try to trace the next of kin.

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There was some urgency to get this case tied up.

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Diana had been living in rented accommodation,

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and until an heir was found who could legally cancel the rental

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agreement, rent would continue to be paid out of her estate.

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So the pressure was on case manager Dave Slee to find some heirs

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before the money ran out.

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At the start, the only information Dave had to go on was that Diana had once been married to a Harry Paine.

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His first step was therefore to obtain a marriage certificate.

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The information on the marriage certificate confirmed

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that the deceased in fact had been married previously and that marriage had ended in divorce.

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I was then able to find the deceased's first marriage to a Mr Salmon,

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which was about six years prior to her second marriage.

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Diana married her first husband John Griffith Salmon in 1940,

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but divorced him some time during the Second World War.

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She went on to marry Harry Paine in 1946, and stayed with him until his death some 40 years later.

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But sadly neither of these marriages produced any children, which was a cause of great sadness to Diana.

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She certainly would have loved to have had a family of her own, which she unfortunately couldn't have.

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Even Cocker Spaniels don't make up for the lack of children.

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The fact that Diana had had no children

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meant Dave would have to cast the net wider in his search for heirs.

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He knew from Diana's marriage certificates that her maiden name was Vaughan-Fowler.

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But this initially gave him cause for concern.

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I'm never happy researching double-barrelled surnames.

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They're often the product of people with delusions of grandeur and are made-up names.

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But in Diana's case, the name was genuine.

0:21:040:21:08

She was born as Vaughan-Fowler and even her grandfather was born as Vaughan-Fowler

0:21:080:21:13

so it was a name that had gone back in history with the family.

0:21:130:21:17

Diana was born in West Sussex in 1919, the daughter of Alfred Vaughan-Fowler and Mabel Potter.

0:21:170:21:25

She grew up and went to school in Tunbridge Wells and initially worked as a shorthand typist.

0:21:250:21:30

But when the Second World War started,

0:21:300:21:33

her life was to change dramatically, as all women of working age were conscripted into the war effort.

0:21:330:21:39

There were an awful lot of jobs

0:21:390:21:42

that needed to be done and we just didn't have the people to do them

0:21:420:21:48

and so uniquely in our history,

0:21:480:21:50

the entire female population was conscripted and they volunteered for all sorts of jobs.

0:21:500:21:56

Before the war started, Diana's father had been a car salesman and he had taught her how to drive.

0:21:570:22:03

It was quite unusual for women to drive at the time.

0:22:030:22:07

The situation where, as happened with Diana,

0:22:070:22:11

the fact that her father was in his line of work

0:22:110:22:14

meant that it would be pretty easy for her to learn to drive.

0:22:140:22:19

Generally, middle-class women might be the ones who learnt to drive.

0:22:190:22:24

Diana volunteered to work as a driver for the National Fire Service.

0:22:240:22:28

During the war the demands on the fire service increased dramatically,

0:22:280:22:34

as the Luftwaffe dropped bombs and incendiary devices on London and nearby towns.

0:22:340:22:40

And as demand for personnel increased, so the roles of women began to change.

0:22:400:22:45

Initially women had a very limited range of roles that they were offered.

0:22:450:22:50

There would be clerical and telephone work on switchboards.

0:22:500:22:54

It expanded and expanded.

0:22:540:22:56

Initially, what was perceived as something where women would work behind the dangerous stuff,

0:22:560:23:02

very quickly, women were out as much as the men in the raids.

0:23:020:23:07

Working for the fire service during the raids brought women like Diana into constant danger.

0:23:110:23:17

It was a dangerous job.

0:23:170:23:19

There's no two ways about it.

0:23:190:23:21

You would be out in the raids and subject to the same kind of risks that the men were.

0:23:210:23:28

The Germans learned when they were bombing cities

0:23:320:23:35

that part of the tactics they evolved was that you would start fires through incendiaries

0:23:350:23:42

and then once the fires were started, subsequent bombers would actually attack those fires

0:23:420:23:48

and part of it would be about disrupting and targeting the services

0:23:480:23:53

like the fire services and the ambulance services.

0:23:530:23:57

Diana was based in Tunbridge Wells and was the driver for the chief of the Tunbridge Wells Fire Brigade.

0:24:000:24:06

Tunbridge Wells was never subject to the intense bombardment that London suffered,

0:24:060:24:11

but the job would still have involved certain risks.

0:24:110:24:14

It was a brave job for a woman to do at the time, and it gave Diana

0:24:140:24:18

a new-found status that she hadn't enjoyed before the war.

0:24:180:24:23

She was very proud. She had a status as an officer in the fire service.

0:24:230:24:30

She really enjoyed it very much. She enjoyed driving a lot.

0:24:300:24:33

It was also while working in the fire service that Diana met her second husband, Harry Paine.

0:24:330:24:40

At the end of the war, her husband, who had been in the Navy,

0:24:400:24:45

joined the fire service

0:24:450:24:47

and that is when they met up and got married in 1946.

0:24:470:24:52

Harry had been injured during the war and he suffered from ill health throughout their marriage.

0:24:530:24:58

But Diana was devoted to him and she looked after him until his death 40 years later.

0:24:580:25:04

Having established that Diana and her husband had no children,

0:25:070:25:10

Dave's next step was to track down any surviving siblings.

0:25:100:25:14

Because we are dealing with a hyphenated surname the research was fairly straightforward

0:25:140:25:21

in being able to establish that the deceased had two siblings, one of whom died as an infant

0:25:210:25:28

and the other sibling, whose name was Joan, she died as a spinster.

0:25:280:25:32

This meant that Diana had no nieces or nephews,

0:25:320:25:36

and Dave would have to expand the search to find any surviving heirs.

0:25:360:25:42

Our next stage is to try and trace paternal and maternal family and their descendants.

0:25:420:25:48

But while Diana's father's name Vaughan-Fowler was easy to research,

0:25:480:25:52

simply because there aren't that many hyphenated Vaughan-Fowlers in Britain,

0:25:520:25:58

investigating Diana's mother's side would prove much more difficult.

0:25:580:26:01

I knew that the research on the maternal family, of the surname Potter, was likely to be far harder

0:26:010:26:08

than researching the hyphenated Vaughan-Fowler name of the paternal family.

0:26:080:26:15

Coming up, Diana's story proves an inspiration to the family member she's never met.

0:26:150:26:21

The impression I'm getting is she was quite a strong woman which I find interesting and encouraging.

0:26:210:26:28

Heir hunters solve thousands of cases a year and millions of pounds

0:26:360:26:40

are paid out to rightful heirs. But not every case can be cracked.

0:26:400:26:44

The Treasury solicitor has a list of over 2,000 estates which baffled the heir hunters and remain unclaimed.

0:26:440:26:50

Bona vacantia is Latin for ownerless goods. We deal with the estates

0:26:500:26:55

of people who die intestate and without known kin.

0:26:550:26:59

This could be money with your name on it

0:26:590:27:02

as long as you are correctly related to the deceased.

0:27:020:27:06

People entitled are those that trace their relationship

0:27:060:27:09

in a direct line from the deceased person's grandparents.

0:27:090:27:12

So a spouse would be entitled, children would be entitled,

0:27:120:27:16

aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, first cousins.

0:27:160:27:20

So are today's featured cases relatives of yours?

0:27:200:27:25

Could you be in line for hundreds, thousands or even millions of pounds?

0:27:250:27:30

Today we're focusing on three names.

0:27:300:27:33

Are they relatives of yours?

0:27:330:27:36

Mary Frances Foyle died way back in March 1967 in Chelsea in London.

0:27:380:27:44

Some new assets of Mary's may have come to light,

0:27:440:27:47

meaning her name is now on the list of unclaimed estates.

0:27:470:27:50

Was there a Mary Foyle in YOUR family?

0:27:500:27:52

Could you be the long-lost heir entitled to her cash?

0:27:520:27:57

Vernette Pienaar died on 8th May 2009 in Kilburn, London.

0:28:010:28:05

The surname Pienaar is of Huguenot origin and is now common in South Africa.

0:28:050:28:12

Did you know Vernette? Did she ever speak to you about her background or any family she might have had?

0:28:120:28:17

James Fred Grant died in Bangkok, Thailand on 26th October 1989.

0:28:200:28:25

Although James died in Asia, the surname Grant is very prominent in Northern Scotland.

0:28:250:28:31

Did you know James, either in Thailand or the UK?

0:28:310:28:35

Can YOU help solve this case?

0:28:350:28:38

If James was a relative of yours,

0:28:380:28:40

the Treasury wants this money to go to you, its rightful owner.

0:28:400:28:45

My division isn't allowed to make a profit, we don't make commission,

0:28:470:28:50

or huge bonuses for passing money to the Treasury.

0:28:500:28:52

In fact, the Treasury is more interested in - are we finding more kin? Which we are.

0:28:520:28:57

Are we good value for taxpayers' money? Which we are.

0:28:570:28:59

A reminder of those names again.

0:28:590:29:02

Mary Foyle, Vernette Pienaar and James Grant.

0:29:020:29:06

If any of today's names are relatives of yours,

0:29:090:29:12

then you could be entitled to their unclaimed estate.

0:29:120:29:15

Now it's back to the search for relatives of Edward Luckarift.

0:29:200:29:23

Later, I'll be finding out more about Edward's career,

0:29:230:29:26

but first, let's catch up with the search for heirs.

0:29:260:29:30

Heir hunters Fraser and Fraser are investigating Edward's case.

0:29:300:29:36

He died in North Wales in March 2010 without leaving a will.

0:29:360:29:41

He owned a property worth £80,000.

0:29:410:29:43

But the team have also discovered that he may have had debts.

0:29:430:29:48

Neil has therefore taken a calculated risk in pursuing the case.

0:29:480:29:52

If there's no money in the estate, the team will not get paid.

0:29:520:29:55

But if the value of the property has remained intact,

0:29:550:29:58

and not been eaten into by debts, it could be a fairly valuable estate.

0:29:580:30:03

The team have been researching the mother's side of the family

0:30:030:30:07

and have discovered an uncle, Edward Gresley Cox.

0:30:070:30:10

He died in a flying accident in 1918 and he left a will.

0:30:100:30:16

The team wondered whether he might have had a wife and children.

0:30:160:30:20

Emily Elise Gresley Cox, widow.

0:30:200:30:23

-Widow?

-Yeah.

0:30:230:30:25

But this turns out not to be the case.

0:30:250:30:28

He's left a grant, letters of administration, probably to his mother.

0:30:290:30:34

The fact he's left letters of administration to his mother rather implies he wasn't married.

0:30:350:30:41

It's therefore some sense to imply he didn't have any children.

0:30:410:30:44

Edward Gresley Cox is the only maternal uncle of Edward Luckarift.

0:30:440:30:49

If he had no children, this means there are no heirs on the mother's side of the family.

0:30:490:30:54

So the team's only remaining hope of finding an heir is to go back to the father's side.

0:30:540:30:59

They've established that Edward's paternal aunt Evelyn had no children.

0:30:590:31:03

So they must now try to find some records for Edward's paternal aunt Kathleen.

0:31:030:31:09

We've only got one outstanding person to find - Kathleen -

0:31:090:31:12

and at the moment we can't find anything for her at all.

0:31:120:31:16

However we're starting to think that maybe she's died a spinster.

0:31:160:31:20

The most likely scenario is that Kathleen has gone back to Jersey.

0:31:200:31:22

Jersey is quite difficult for us to research, so we'll have to get someone there to do the research.

0:31:220:31:28

Although most of Edward's family hailed from Jersey, he himself was born in Salford, near Manchester.

0:31:300:31:36

But he was a free spirit who never stayed in one place for long.

0:31:360:31:41

Harry Colecliffe only knew Edward during the last five years of his life.

0:31:410:31:45

But in that time Edward regaled him with stories of an exciting career which took him across the Atlantic

0:31:450:31:51

and brought him into contact with all sorts of interesting people.

0:31:510:31:55

He started off as a journalist with the Royal Navy, that would have been 1944 to '45.

0:31:550:32:02

In 1946 the Canadians were sent back to Canada after the war

0:32:060:32:11

and what the Navy wanted was somebody to go with the troops,

0:32:110:32:16

find out a little bit about them and write it in some form of newsletter to send back.

0:32:160:32:23

He had to go from ship to ship and the only way they could do it was to string a line across,

0:32:230:32:28

put him in a bosun's chair and swing him across.

0:32:280:32:32

He said it was terrifying, but he did it.

0:32:320:32:35

After he left the navy, Edward wanted to travel around America.

0:32:350:32:40

So a chance meeting with a rather unusual person seemed like the answer to his prayers.

0:32:400:32:45

He was a guy called Karl Wickman.

0:32:450:32:48

He was the guy who owned Greyhound Buses

0:32:480:32:52

and he offered Edward a job. He gave him a wad of money to start with

0:32:520:32:56

without even giving him a job, sent him down to Fort Lauderdale,

0:32:560:33:02

waited down there for him to come, finally turned up

0:33:020:33:06

and said, "Right, here's your job, go around all of the Greyhound stations

0:33:060:33:10

"and write a little piece on that station for the newsletter." And he did that for 12 months.

0:33:100:33:17

With his wanderlust satisfied, Edward then returned to Britain.

0:33:170:33:21

Having enjoyed his experience of writing in the US, he decided to continue along this career path,

0:33:210:33:27

and he got a job writing radio plays for the BBC.

0:33:270:33:32

He did show me files that he had that were all little plays he'd written

0:33:320:33:38

and apparently they were actually used on radio at that time.

0:33:380:33:43

Soon after this, he landed an extremely prestigious job

0:33:430:33:47

as a writer on a cutting-edge, new television series.

0:33:470:33:51

# That was the week that was... #

0:33:510:33:54

That Was The Week That Was was broadcast on the BBC in 1962 and 1963.

0:33:540:34:00

Why in fact has Mr MacMillan, the Prime Minister, retired?

0:34:000:34:05

I've done two series on the trot and my agent says he doesn't want me to be typecast.

0:34:050:34:10

# That was the week that was... #

0:34:100:34:12

Edward was in the company of some great comedy writers, including John Cleese, Peter Cook and Eric Sykes.

0:34:120:34:19

And the show was groundbreaking in the way it poked fun at the establishment.

0:34:190:34:24

We pledge ourselves to ensure that pensioners continue to share

0:34:240:34:28

in the good things that a steadily expanding economy will bring.

0:34:280:34:31

A million pensioners a week will have to undergo

0:34:310:34:34

the means test of national assistance in order to avoid starvation.

0:34:340:34:38

They're not laughing back in the office

0:34:400:34:43

where the search for heirs is becoming increasingly frustrating.

0:34:430:34:48

They've established that there are no heirs on the mother's side of the family,

0:34:480:34:51

as Edward's only maternal uncle died without having any children.

0:34:510:34:55

On the father's side, they've ruled out Edward's Aunt Evelyn, who also had no offspring.

0:34:550:35:01

So it looks like it's probably a dead stem.

0:35:010:35:04

So their only remaining hope of finding an heir is through Edward's Aunt Kathleen.

0:35:040:35:09

If she has had children, they would be first cousins

0:35:090:35:12

of Edward's and possible beneficiaries to his estate.

0:35:120:35:16

But Neil has taken a huge risk on this case.

0:35:160:35:19

A bankruptcy notice that he discovered rang alarm bells early on.

0:35:190:35:24

But Neil believes that Edward owned his £80,000 property,

0:35:240:35:28

and if its value has remained intact, there could still be money in the estate.

0:35:280:35:34

Take a seat, sit down and read this.

0:35:340:35:36

It's early afternoon, and the team have finally found a record for Edward's paternal aunt, Kathleen.

0:35:360:35:43

This was one last stem which... we haven't been able to find a marriage for, but we think

0:35:430:35:48

we've found a death for, and if that death is right, then there's probably children off that.

0:35:480:35:53

But Neil has also just discovered the true value of the estate, and it's not looking good.

0:35:530:35:59

We think the property is worth £80,000 and we've been informed

0:36:000:36:04

that there are debts in the estate exceeding the £80,000.

0:36:040:36:09

So it is probably going to be an insolvent estate.

0:36:090:36:12

This was the last thing they wanted to hear, especially when they were so close to tracking down heirs.

0:36:120:36:19

Neil took a gamble in pursuing this case.

0:36:190:36:22

And he now has no choice but to pull the plug.

0:36:220:36:26

Sometimes the feelings we get and our ideas are proved totally wrong.

0:36:260:36:32

Luckarift has been one of those cases.

0:36:320:36:34

We looked at it, because we thought it was going to be quite easy.

0:36:340:36:37

Then we found the reference to the deceased being a director of a company.

0:36:370:36:43

As inquiries have come in, sometimes values on estates can go up and up and up.

0:36:430:36:48

Other times, they go down and down and lead to nothing.

0:36:480:36:52

This is one of those cases, so it is a bit of a no-hoper for us.

0:36:520:36:57

Luckily we found out early enough where it has not cost us too much.

0:36:570:37:00

Edward Luckarift was a man who lived for the moment,

0:37:020:37:05

and it's perhaps not surprising that he didn't leave any money.

0:37:050:37:09

If you even went to his house, the one thing he wasn't was materialistic.

0:37:090:37:13

It didn't really bother him at all that he didn't have a lot of material things.

0:37:130:37:19

He spent the last years of his life looking after his beloved dog, and playing and watching cricket.

0:37:190:37:26

He loved his cricket. He travelled down to Lord's, watched the cricket down there.

0:37:280:37:33

Played up here in Wales.

0:37:330:37:35

In his house at this moment is still his cricket gear in a cricket bag down in the cellar.

0:37:350:37:40

I think, if there's anything I would remember him by, it was his contentment.

0:37:400:37:46

He had his dog, he had his cricket

0:37:460:37:49

and he had his memories and his writing.

0:37:490:37:52

As long as he had what he had,

0:37:520:37:55

that was enough.

0:37:550:37:56

I think, well,

0:37:560:37:58

you know, you can't beat that as a lesson in life, really.

0:37:580:38:02

So, unfortunately, no heirs were found this time,

0:38:090:38:12

but what a fascinating career Edward had.

0:38:120:38:15

'I'm meeting writer David Nobbs who also wrote for

0:38:160:38:19

'That Was The Week That Was, back in the day.'

0:38:190:38:21

-Hello, David.

-Hello, Lisa.

-Lovely to meet you.

-And you.

0:38:210:38:26

Edward Luckarift worked as a writer on That Was The Week That Was.

0:38:260:38:29

Was it easy to get a writing job back then?

0:38:290:38:31

I don't think it's ever been easy and I don't think anyone would

0:38:310:38:35

ever pretend that at any stage you just walked in and did things,

0:38:350:38:38

but I suspect it might have been a bit easier then than it is now.

0:38:380:38:42

Because there were programmes like That Was The Week That Was which ate up material.

0:38:420:38:46

I just rang up and got something accepted, you know.

0:38:460:38:48

# That was the week that was

0:38:530:38:55

# Time for Tories to take stock... #

0:38:550:38:57

Edward wrote over 40 letters to the BBC from the mid-1940s onwards,

0:38:570:39:02

sending in all sorts of radio plays and programme ideas.

0:39:020:39:06

So, what kind of ideas did he submit?

0:39:060:39:08

Well, he was very ambitious. These are submissions for whole series.

0:39:080:39:13

He didn't start with one-liners, like I did.

0:39:130:39:16

He started with, "This is an idea for a series of variety shows

0:39:160:39:20

"called Star Citizens - well-known actors, composers,

0:39:200:39:23

"building a programme around them and having competitions. For crooners if it was a crooner, and so on."

0:39:230:39:28

And how did he get his first big break?

0:39:280:39:31

Well, he had a break on radio, certainly, when he had a radio play

0:39:310:39:35

called Mrs Jarrett Comes To Stay accepted, and he did a few

0:39:350:39:39

other plays, including I think one called

0:39:390:39:41

Hobbs Bats on a Sticky Wicket, which is rather intriguing.

0:39:410:39:45

But obviously he wanted to get into television, and as far as

0:39:450:39:50

we know That Was The Week That Was was his first attempt at it.

0:39:500:39:53

# That was the week that was

0:39:530:39:56

# It's over, let it go... #

0:39:560:39:58

So how did you get your break?

0:39:580:40:00

Well I was working on a local paper, rather like Edward Luckarift,

0:40:000:40:03

but I was in London.

0:40:030:40:05

And I had this idea and I wrote it.

0:40:050:40:08

I had nipped out of Hampstead Magistrates' Court where

0:40:080:40:11

I was reporting and, um, I phoned them and they said, "Send it in."

0:40:110:40:18

And I said, "I can't send it in, it's for this week. You've got to have it urgently.

0:40:180:40:22

"The Post Office will never get it to you."

0:40:220:40:24

So suddenly David Frost, he came on the phone and he said,

0:40:240:40:27

"What's all this idea?" I told him and he went, "Oh, great. Super!"

0:40:270:40:31

And he said, "Ring me tomorrow."

0:40:310:40:33

So I rang him the next day and he said, "I'm going to use it."

0:40:330:40:37

I was so excited I told everybody I knew, "I'm going to be on television!"

0:40:370:40:40

Used one line from it - it was a three-minute sketch

0:40:400:40:43

and he used one line.

0:40:430:40:44

It was rubbish. But I had started.

0:40:440:40:47

I hear, I hear that this country is now

0:40:490:40:51

-without an effective prime minister.

-Hold on, what's new about that?

0:40:510:40:54

We haven't had an effective prime minster for years!

0:40:540:40:57

How did the writers work on That Was The Week That Was?

0:40:570:41:00

Well, we all used to do our stuff at home and send it off,

0:41:000:41:04

or in our offices.

0:41:040:41:05

All separately, and send it off by taxi.

0:41:050:41:07

There were taxis winging their way through London to the BBC,

0:41:070:41:11

always one envelope in them.

0:41:110:41:13

And I used to ring Ned Sherrin every week and say I've got a couple of ideas,

0:41:130:41:17

and he'd say, "Tell me them."

0:41:170:41:18

I'd tell him one and he'd say, "Like it."

0:41:180:41:20

I'd tell him the other one and he'd say, "Don't like it."

0:41:200:41:23

I'd do them both out of sheer cussedness and we'd always do

0:41:230:41:26

the one he said he didn't like and never do the one he said he did like.

0:41:260:41:30

Good news for air travellers -

0:41:300:41:32

more plane services than ever before and we have slashed

0:41:320:41:35

prices at midnight from Glasgow to London to only two guineas.

0:41:350:41:39

That's sensational!

0:41:390:41:40

-Which company has permission for these two guinea flights?

-BOAC.

0:41:400:41:44

So I can now fly BOAC Glasgow to London for only two guineas?

0:41:440:41:47

Not entirely. The route is operated by BEA.

0:41:470:41:50

So BOAC aren't actually running any of these flights?

0:41:500:41:53

Don't be silly - we'd lose a bloody fortune!

0:41:530:41:55

-So there wasn't a big table that you all sat around?

-No.

0:41:550:41:57

No, that happened to me later with the Frost Report

0:41:570:42:00

and I had the great privilege of sitting round with all the boys who later did Monty Python.

0:42:000:42:06

-Fantastic!

-Wow!

-But I was a shy little boy in those days,

0:42:060:42:09

I sat there in my little bedsit doing it on my own.

0:42:090:42:12

So how many people wrote for it?

0:42:120:42:14

Every week there would be 18, 19, 20 probably.

0:42:140:42:17

A lot of very famous people. I mean, Dennis Potter started out on this.

0:42:170:42:23

Waterhouse and Hall were there and Peter Shaffer, all sorts of famous people.

0:42:230:42:28

-And somewhere along the line, Edward Luckarift.

-Yes.

0:42:280:42:30

Dear Lord Hailsham.

0:42:300:42:33

I have just been reading in the papers

0:42:330:42:35

where you're going to give up your title.

0:42:350:42:38

I know you are a busy man, but what I'm writing to ask is,

0:42:380:42:42

if you're quite sure you've finished with it, whether I can have it?

0:42:420:42:47

Edward went from writing That Was The Week That Was

0:42:470:42:50

to going back and writing for radio.

0:42:500:42:52

Was that usual for writers to work across different genres?

0:42:520:42:55

I think a lot of writers have always written for both

0:42:550:42:59

and in fact the classic route is to start on radio and move forward,

0:42:590:43:02

get a reputation on radio.

0:43:020:43:04

Cut your teeth on radio, and then move to television.

0:43:040:43:07

But sometimes, for various reasons, including necessity,

0:43:070:43:10

-writers go the other way.

-I think we have got an example.

-We have.

0:43:100:43:16

And this, actually, I mean, this is very touching for me.

0:43:160:43:19

Because of all the things he's written over the years,

0:43:190:43:22

this is the one thing that we have left.

0:43:220:43:24

And it's a small journalistic piece for Radio North.

0:43:240:43:27

Rather amusingly entitled the Whistling Willie Of Warburton.

0:43:270:43:31

'Edward Luckarift's only surviving work is a feature about a poacher

0:43:310:43:35

'turned gamekeeper called William Noblett who had an unusual whistle.'

0:43:350:43:41

"Listen to his epitaph which is still readable on the weather-worn stone:

0:43:410:43:44

"Though herein he lies a dead Whistling Willie's fame will spread

0:43:440:43:48

"For his double tone, piercing drone Which chilled the marrow to the bone

0:43:480:43:52

"And will be made by him no more It will surely continue by the law.

0:43:520:43:58

"What does it mean?

0:43:580:43:59

"One of the squire's most frequent visitors was Sir William Peel,

0:43:590:44:04

"who built up our police force as we know it today,

0:44:040:44:06

"right down to constables' whistles which have that double tone,

0:44:060:44:10

"piercing drone mentioned in Noblett's epitaph.

0:44:100:44:13

"It was on one of his visits to Warburton that he heard Willie

0:44:130:44:16

"that Robert Peel got the idea of the policeman's whistle."

0:44:160:44:20

It's a nice little story, a rather sweet little story

0:44:200:44:23

and perhaps a nice little epitaph for Edward Luckarift's efforts.

0:44:230:44:27

# That was the week that was! #

0:44:270:44:29

Here are some more unsolved cases where heirs still need to be found.

0:44:450:44:49

The list of unclaimed estates is operated by a government department

0:44:490:44:54

- the Bona Vacantia division.

0:44:540:44:56

The Bona Vacantia unclaimed list is a list of cases

0:44:560:44:59

that we haven't found kin for.

0:44:590:45:02

The list goes back to 1997

0:45:020:45:03

because that's when our list management system came online.

0:45:030:45:06

The idea is to produce a list of all those solvent cases.

0:45:060:45:10

So there should be a few thousand there, possibly many thousands.

0:45:100:45:13

And this is money you could be entitled to.

0:45:130:45:17

Monies raised through Bona Vacantia goes to the General Exchequer

0:45:170:45:22

to benefit the country as a whole.

0:45:220:45:24

But it is important to note that the Crown doesn't want all estates at all costs.

0:45:240:45:29

It's not how it operates. It wants kin to be found and that's what we work very hard to do.

0:45:290:45:34

Let's look at some of the estates from the unclaimed list.

0:45:340:45:37

Do these names mean anything to you? Are they relatives of yours?

0:45:400:45:43

Frances Triplow died on the 12th of February 2009,

0:45:430:45:47

in Letchworth, in Hertfordshire.

0:45:470:45:50

The surname "Triplow" has its roots in Old English

0:45:500:45:52

and refers to a lost place on a map.

0:45:520:45:55

It is most common in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

0:45:560:46:00

Do you share Frances's unusual surname?

0:46:010:46:04

Could you be related to him?

0:46:040:46:05

Lillian Jessie Gould died back on the 8th of August, 1977.

0:46:050:46:11

As Lillian died over 30 years ago, it's probable

0:46:110:46:14

some new assets of hers have come to light,

0:46:140:46:17

meaning her estate is now on the unclaimed list.

0:46:170:46:20

Was there a Lillian Gould in your family's past?

0:46:200:46:23

Was she a relative of yours?

0:46:230:46:26

Gladys Margaret Allum died on the 2nd of September 2008,

0:46:280:46:32

in Welwyn Garden City.

0:46:320:46:34

I've got Gladys's death certificate

0:46:340:46:36

which contains more information about her.

0:46:360:46:38

It shows that she was married to Geoffrey Allum.

0:46:380:46:41

Did you know Geoffrey and Gladys?

0:46:410:46:43

Did you know anything about Gladys's relatives?

0:46:430:46:47

The death certificate also reveals that Gladys was formerly known

0:46:470:46:51

as Gladys Margaret Brimley.

0:46:510:46:53

Did you know her under this name? Was she a relative of yours?

0:46:530:46:56

If you think you're related to any of the names today,

0:46:560:46:59

you need to prove your link to the deceased in order to claim their estate.

0:46:590:47:04

If someone thinks that they are entitled to an estate that

0:47:040:47:07

we're dealing with, then they need to contact us.

0:47:070:47:11

They can do that direct or via an agent, it's up to them.

0:47:110:47:15

And we need to have a simple family tree showing how they think

0:47:150:47:19

they are related to the deceased person. Nothing complicated.

0:47:190:47:23

Just something straightforward and simple.

0:47:230:47:26

And then we will be able to make sure that we're

0:47:260:47:28

talking about the same family.

0:47:280:47:30

And then we'll ask them to provide certificates of birth, death,

0:47:300:47:34

marriage, and also documents of identity

0:47:340:47:36

to prove that they are who they say they are.

0:47:360:47:39

And then we can look at the claim.

0:47:390:47:41

A reminder of those names again -

0:47:410:47:44

Frances Triplow, Lillian Gould and Gladys Allum.

0:47:440:47:48

If today's names are relatives of yours,

0:47:510:47:53

you could have a windfall coming your way.

0:47:530:47:55

Finally today, let's return to the search for heirs

0:47:590:48:04

to the estate of Diana Paine, who died aged 91 without leaving a will.

0:48:040:48:08

In April 2010, the heir hunters were investigating Diana's case.

0:48:080:48:13

She died near Tunbridge Wells, leaving an estate worth £20,000.

0:48:130:48:18

Heir hunter Dave Slee had established that she had

0:48:180:48:21

no children, and no surviving siblings or nieces and nephews.

0:48:210:48:26

So the search was on for aunts, uncles and cousins, who could be heirs to Diana's estate.

0:48:260:48:33

On the father's side, the team had an easy name to work with, Vaughan-Fowler.

0:48:330:48:38

There weren't many hyphenated Vaughan-Fowlers in the UK,

0:48:380:48:41

so Dave was quickly able to pinpoint the family.

0:48:410:48:45

I found her father's birth and I was able to establish that he had two siblings, he had two siblings,

0:48:450:48:51

one died a bachelor and one was married and had descendants,

0:48:510:48:56

so eventually we were able to locate eight paternal beneficiaries

0:48:560:49:00

who would be entitled in the estate.

0:49:000:49:02

So far, research had been exceptionally speedy.

0:49:020:49:06

Dave would now write to these beneficiaries to determine their exact entitlement to Diana's estate.

0:49:060:49:12

But the search wasn't over yet.

0:49:120:49:15

In fact, the hard graft was only just beginning.

0:49:150:49:17

Dave now had to turn his attention to the mother's side of the family.

0:49:170:49:22

The maternal family... I knew it would be a lot harder because the surname was Potter.

0:49:220:49:27

There are thousands of people with the surname Potter in Britain, so Dave had his work cut out.

0:49:270:49:32

But after hours of painstaking research, he was finally able to find a record for Diana's mother.

0:49:320:49:38

I located the birth of the deceased mother, Mabel Potter, in Brighton, and she was the daughter

0:49:380:49:45

of the unusually named Harding Potter, and her mother was Maria, formerly Bryant.

0:49:450:49:51

The next stage was to see if Diana's mother had any siblings.

0:49:510:49:56

Reviewing the census returns, we were able to establish that Harding Potter and Maria Bryant

0:49:560:50:04

had six children including the deceased's mother.

0:50:040:50:06

Diana's maternal grandparents, Harding Potter and Maria Bryant, married in 1862 in London.

0:50:060:50:14

They had six children - Ada, Elizabeth, Kate, Florence,

0:50:140:50:18

Ethel and Mabel, Diana's mother.

0:50:180:50:21

If any of Diana's five aunts had children,

0:50:210:50:24

they would be first cousins of Diana's.

0:50:240:50:26

And if any of them were still alive, they could be heirs to her estate.

0:50:260:50:31

The pressure was now on Dave to track them down.

0:50:310:50:34

When the Second World War ended, Diana settled into married life with her husband, Harry.

0:50:350:50:41

But the pioneering spirit she'd shown in her work for the National Fire Service hadn't diminished.

0:50:410:50:46

At a time when most women were content to be stay-at-home wives and mothers,

0:50:460:50:51

Diana took her first step towards becoming a successful business woman.

0:50:510:50:56

She decided that she was going to take over the reins

0:50:560:51:00

and she bought this shop in Battle.

0:51:000:51:02

The shop was a women's clothing boutique,

0:51:020:51:06

and Diana threw herself into the running of the place with gusto.

0:51:060:51:09

She proceeded to smarten the place up

0:51:090:51:13

and bring it up to date.

0:51:130:51:15

For 25 years, she ran this shop in Battle.

0:51:150:51:19

She went on to open two more branches in nearby towns

0:51:190:51:23

and she even ran fashion shows two or three times a year.

0:51:230:51:27

She got all her own staff and one or two other ladies

0:51:270:51:32

to make a fashion show and she did very well.

0:51:320:51:35

The show was run for one reason only and that was for the Guide Dogs for the Blind.

0:51:350:51:41

Diana was tireless in her work for charity, and her clothing business became a great success.

0:51:410:51:47

But she was also still caring for her husband, Harry.

0:51:470:51:51

He had been injured during the war, and his condition deteriorated as time went on.

0:51:510:51:57

When her husband started to get really ill, she gave up the shops,

0:51:570:52:02

and they came to live at Speldhurst and they lived in Speldhurst for quite a few years,

0:52:020:52:10

until her husband died.

0:52:100:52:13

Diana had looked after Harry for nearly 40 years, and when he died, she was all alone.

0:52:130:52:20

She never spoke of her family and believed she had none.

0:52:200:52:24

But as Dave Slee was about to discover,

0:52:240:52:26

she did actually have a whole set of relatives not a million miles away.

0:52:260:52:32

Dave had established that Diana's mother had five sisters

0:52:320:52:37

and he was trying to find out whether they'd had children.

0:52:370:52:40

He was able to discount two of the sisters straightaway.

0:52:400:52:44

Two maternal aunts, Ada and Elizabeth... we established both died as minors.

0:52:440:52:50

But Kate, Florence and Ethel had all married and had children.

0:52:500:52:55

If these children were still alive, they would be first cousins of Diana's and heirs to her estate.

0:52:550:53:00

However, it soon became apparent that most of these cousins were born

0:53:000:53:04

around the turn of the century and had already passed away.

0:53:040:53:08

All except one.

0:53:080:53:09

The first maternal where we were able to locate

0:53:090:53:14

was a son of Ethel Potter.

0:53:140:53:18

She married a Mr Pearson, and her son, Bernard, was in fact the only first cousin

0:53:180:53:25

who survived the deceased.

0:53:250:53:27

Dave wrote to Bernard, who signed an agreement with the company.

0:53:290:53:34

Finally, the team had their first maternal heir.

0:53:340:53:38

OK, let's recap.

0:53:380:53:40

Having established that Diana's other cousins were no longer alive,

0:53:400:53:44

Dave's next task was to look for their descendants.

0:53:440:53:48

Diana's Aunt Kate had had three children - Mabel, Kate and Gladys.

0:53:480:53:53

I knew that the deceased's cousin Mabel, who was born in 1898,

0:53:530:53:56

was likely to be deceased, so I firstly looked for her marriage,

0:53:560:54:02

and she married a Walter Wyatt, and then I undertook the search to see if she had any children.

0:54:020:54:07

Mabel's marriage to Mr Wyatt... we established that there were three children born to that marriage -

0:54:070:54:13

two females and one male.

0:54:130:54:16

Dave discovered that the son had passed away, so he wrote to the two daughters.

0:54:160:54:21

I informed them that they would be entitled in the estate, and they informed me

0:54:210:54:26

that their brother married and he had children,

0:54:260:54:28

who are cousins twice removed to the deceased.

0:54:280:54:31

Diana's cousin Mabel had three children - two daughters and a son, Walter.

0:54:310:54:37

Walter had passed away in 2003, but Dave discovered that he had four children.

0:54:370:54:43

He managed to find an address for the daughter, Elizabeth,

0:54:430:54:46

and he wrote to her.

0:54:460:54:47

His letter came as a big surprise.

0:54:470:54:51

When I first got the letter from Frasers, I think it was back in May,

0:54:510:54:55

I was quite surprised.

0:54:550:54:57

It just mentions that you may be the heir to someone who's died,

0:54:570:55:00

and you have no idea who it might be.

0:55:000:55:04

But Liz and her brothers were curious to find out more, so they wrote back to the company.

0:55:040:55:10

You're asked for lots of details about other family members - names, addresses, dates of birth.

0:55:100:55:16

I think it was as a result of sending that in,

0:55:160:55:19

I got a letter back saying... regards the estate of Diana Ferelyth Paine.

0:55:190:55:25

Liz had never heard of Diana.

0:55:250:55:28

She was the cousin of Liz's grandmother, so two generations removed from Liz herself.

0:55:280:55:33

But she was fascinated to hear about this distant relative.

0:55:330:55:37

The impression I am getting is she was quite a strong woman, which I find interesting and encouraging.

0:55:370:55:43

I have heard that she was a driver for the fire brigade or something like that during the war.

0:55:430:55:50

I've heard she had businesses.

0:55:500:55:53

It is fascinating to find out little bits about Diana.

0:55:530:55:56

Someone that happens to be related to you but you've never met.

0:55:560:55:59

Liz and her brothers signed with the company, who, in return for an agreed percentage,

0:55:590:56:04

would help them claim their share of Diana's estate.

0:56:040:56:08

Receiving money from someone she didn't know was a strange experience for Liz.

0:56:080:56:13

One of my daughters did mention this is a bit weird, you know -

0:56:130:56:16

why should you get money from someone you've never known in their lifetime?

0:56:160:56:20

And I suppose that does seem very strange, in a way.

0:56:200:56:23

But the opportunity to find out more about her family was priceless.

0:56:230:56:28

I've been thinking a lot about why I haven't heard about Diana.

0:56:280:56:32

I can't remember ever asking my dad, which I'm regretting now and thinking

0:56:320:56:37

maybe he never shared it, maybe he never knew it.

0:56:370:56:40

I think the whole experience has been fascinating,

0:56:400:56:43

and it is very interesting to find out more and more about your family.

0:56:430:56:47

The team had invested many hours in this case and they had finally tracked down all the heirs.

0:56:470:56:54

On the maternal family, I was able to establish

0:56:540:56:58

that there was one cousin, unfortunately now deceased, entitled,

0:56:580:57:02

and there are nine other cousins once removed or twice removed.

0:57:020:57:07

So our research has now concluded that there are 18 heirs entitled to share in Diana's estate.

0:57:070:57:14

The final value of the estate was confirmed to be £20,000.

0:57:140:57:19

This would be shared between ten heirs on the mother's side

0:57:190:57:22

of the family and eight heirs on the father's side.

0:57:220:57:25

From our point of view, the research went very well.

0:57:250:57:29

It was nice to be able to find the heirs quickly for the solicitor's point of view.

0:57:290:57:36

A nice tidy estate for us to research.

0:57:360:57:39

Although she never got to know her extended family, Diana wasn't lonely in later life.

0:57:390:57:46

She was lucky enough to find love third time around with Ernest.

0:57:460:57:50

And they travelled the country together, providing friendship and companionship for one another.

0:57:500:57:55

I was only looking for somebody who may have had the same outlook in life and looking

0:57:550:58:01

forward to a little bit of enjoyment in the last years of our lives.

0:58:010:58:06

I wasn't expecting to hit the nail on the head first time round.

0:58:060:58:12

But I was very lucky in finding Diana.

0:58:120:58:16

It was just we enjoyed being with each other all the time

0:58:160:58:20

and we didn't have to think about, what about a round-the-world cruise? That didn't come into it at all.

0:58:200:58:26

We didn't have to have very expensive things to enjoy life together.

0:58:260:58:30

If you would like advice about building your family tree or making a will, go to bbc.co.uk.

0:58:360:58:43

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:520:58:55

E-mail [email protected]

0:58:550:58:58

The team looks into the estate of Edward Luckarift who died in North Wales and, during the 1960s, worked as a scriptwriter on the BBC programme That Was The Week That Was.

Diana Paine was the daughter of a car salesman and when the Second World War broke out she was one of the thousands of women who joined the war effort, becoming a driver for the Kent fire service. Plus, could you be an heir to an unclaimed estate worth thousands or even millions of pounds?


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