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The heir hunters are working on a tricky case worth an estimated £80,000.
'Change of plan, we need you to go towards the Northeast of England.'
They're in a race against time to find relatives who have no idea they're in line for a windfall.
Could they be knocking at your door?
On today's show:
This is all wrong.
A surprisingly common surname in one postcode has the heir hunters baffled.
Also, there's 10 a penny,
so we're struggling, basically.
Will they be able to find the rightful heirs to the estate?
And the heir hunters help to unravel the secrets of a German PoW.
Anybody asked about the war, he wouldn't talk about it.
He practically went through hell.
Plus, how you could be entitled to unclaimed estates
where beneficiaries still need to be found.
Could you be in line for an unexpected windfall?
Every year in the UK, an estimated 300,000 people die without leaving a will.
If no relatives are found, any money that's left behind will go to
the Government. Last year, they made £12 million from unclaimed estates.
But there are over 30 specialist firms competing to stop this happening.
They're called heir hunters and they make it their business to track down
missing relatives and help them claim their rightful inheritance.
I love the fact that I can put families back together, I can reunite people.
I can tell them secret histories about
their own family which they don't know about themselves.
In London, it's action stations at Britain's largest heir-hunting firm.
Last night, the Treasury issued a new list of unclaimed estates,
and the team at Fraser & Fraser are raring to go.
One entry named Cecil Walton looks promising, but this morning there's a spanner in the works.
Hello, phone's not working...
At the moment, our internet's gone down.
With the phone lines down, other heir-hunting companies will have got a head start.
This could cost them business.
Awful start to the morning.
Because we're now probably about...
at least behind the competition.
Phones should be up and running, and so should the internet.
After a frustrating delay, the phone lines are finally up and running,
and now it's a race to find a case they can work.
Cecil James Walton.
I found a marriage in June 1978 in Maidstone.
The Treasury's list is a major source of work for heir hunters.
It shows the names of people who have died without leaving a will and have no known relatives.
But it doesn't show any other details, or how much money they've left.
Hello, good morning. I do apologise for troubling you.
I'm making some inquiries about a gentleman who I believe was your neighbour, Mr Cecil Walton.
But now the team's found a possible address for Cecil Walton.
Can a neighbour shed some light?
Was that his own property? We think he owned...
It was his own property, yeah.
Did he ever mentioned to you about having brothers or sisters or any family members?
Bye-bye, now. Bye-bye.
OK, that's good news. It would appear the deceased
had no children from his marriage to Violet,
who passed away in 2000.
It's the lead they need.
They've confirmed Cecil's address is in a village called Waterhouses near Durham.
They know he owned his own home and have estimated it's worth £80,000.
The team now know they have an estate worth pursuing.
We're working the case of Cecil James Walton...
who died on 30th December 2009.
We know that he owned the property,
we know there's a mortgage on it, might be an equity release, not sure.
Anyway, it looks like there's some value there,
so we're attempting to find the beneficiaries at the moment.
Cecil James Walton died in Durham, where he'd lived for over 20 years.
Cecil was a widower and was a popular local figure, as pub landlord Barry Sims remembers.
He used to come in
and was always very tidy, well shaven... never saw him without a shave.
Suit... a tie or a blazer.
Even in his spare time,
he always was immaculately dressed.
81-year-old Cecil was an avid cricket fan.
He'd often be found watching a match at his local ground, Chester-le-Street.
He also spent his spare time at the village pub, and as a retired accountant,
he was happy to share his financial know-how with friends and regulars.
He was my mentor,
always keeping me right on different issues.
He was very good to listen to and talk to.
Back at the office, the team's trying to build a family tree
through Cecil's parents, as he didn't have any children of his own.
All efforts are now focused on this case, as partner Charles Fraser believes it's the only one of value.
We're looking at cousins already, having established that there's no close family.
We've a lot of people working on this case, so research is going quickly.
They've found his birth details, which show the names of his parents
are Mary Annie Robson and Edwin Walton.
On the basis the deceased was an only child,
you have two sides to the family, and both are pretty common names.
An initial search is showing a surprisingly large number of Waltons married to Robsons.
Teesside's ours, Durham...
There's another one, Durham. It could be that one.
And the team starts to realise they've hit a stumbling block.
Walton... I thought it was going to be a relatively straightforward name.
But it turns out it's quite an area name...
..Which is possibly going to cause some problems.
There are literally dozens of Waltons on the database in Durham.
All these are Waltons to Robsons?
Yep, and they all go with it as well.
Walton, there's 10 a penny of them.
We're struggling, basically.
In fact, the name Walton is five times more common in County Durham than the rest of the country.
To make progress, they're going to have to run with names that look likely,
and researcher Gareth has found some possible options for Cecil's father, Edwin Walton.
One born 1891, in Teasdale... which is the right area,
but we don't, as yet, have a death for him. And the other one...
is born in 1903...
..Born Tynemouth, but we do have a death for him.
So, which one's right, at this stage, is hard to know.
The team explores the possibilities, will either give the team the breakthrough they need?
I've detached this tree from the first page. This is all wrong.
But it's soon looking like any line of research is a stab in the dark.
We know the 1891 birth of Edwin, the deceased's father, is wrong.
But then we've got the 1903 one,
and I'm having doubts about that too, so we're back to the drawing board.
With most of the office working this case,
they're desperate to confirm the right details for Cecil's parents.
It's time to ask for help.
The company employs a team of regional heir hunters, who are on standby up and down the country.
These researchers provide a vital role collecting birth,
marriage and death certificates from local register offices, all in the race to find and sign up heirs.
David Pacifico phones Colin, the company's Northeast researcher, with a crucial request.
What we need to do is get the parents' marriage certificate from Bishop Auckland.
We've spoken to the registry office and they will be happy to do it if somebody calls,
because we really are struggling on this, we need to identify the births for the parents.
But with so many threads for this difficult case, David's still concerned.
Because this is of value and we now have two sides of the family, we need two people.
He decides to take Ewart Lindsay off another case in Leicester
to help inquiries on the ground.
'Change of plan, we need you to go towards the Northeast of England, around Durham.
-'The one case which has value.'
'You're just south of Leicester aren't you?
-I am, yeah.
-'Thanks, Ewart. I'll catch up with you later.'
I love this job.
Don't you just love this job?
Been diverted from Leicester to Durham.
That's no mean feat, I tell you.
Now it's all hands on deck trying to solve the case of Cecil Walton.
I'm starting to doubt our own research now.
But until they get a marriage certificate for Cecil's parents
to confirm names of grandparents and hopefully lead to cousins, the office is in limbo.
Without that, we're really getting a bit stuck.
It's too common a name to know which is the right births.
It's not going very well, is it?
Heir hunters never know where a case may lead, or the family secrets they'll uncover.
And when they were called to trace the relatives of a former soldier,
they revealed a story that had lain secret for 60 years.
It would amaze his children, who knew nothing of their father's past.
Heir-hunting firm Celtic Research is run by father-and-son team, Peter and Hector Birchwood.
Peter's based in Wales, and in 2008 he was approached by a German bank
about an estate that ran into six figures.
I got a letter from them
some time ago now, saying that they had this particular case,
it was a German case worth about 100,000 euros,
give or take a bit...and the...
..bit of the family they wanted information about was one of the members who'd come over to England
just after the last war in the 1940s.
Peter's task was to find the relatives of a Gustav Sturm, believed to be in the UK.
His cousin Frida had died in Germany.
Frida was married, her husband had died before her,
she had no children and she never left a will.
So, when she died intestate,
her estate should be divided amongst her living relatives -
in this case, cousins.
Frida was the only child of Gustav and Anna Brant.
Her father had 11 brothers and sisters, but few of them left descendants.
However, Frida's Aunt Whilhelmine did have a child, also called Gustav.
The bank had got an idea of when he came to England,
and, from that, it was just a matter of trying to find out
if he'd died here, which he had.
Gustav Sturm passed away in January 1994, at the age of 78.
Born to German farmers in East Prussia, Gustav had lived the last 46 years in Britain.
He had spent much of his life farming in the village of East Garston, where he had four children.
He was a widely-known and respected man.
Gus was a very quiet, very hard-working man.
Not frightened of anything,
would talk to anybody, but didn't need other people's company.
For 20 years, Roger's father had employed Gustav to run his dairy farm.
Gus never talked about his past at all. I never knew where he came from or what he did during the war.
Or about his...
own family back home in Germany. We never knew.
But it was clear to the heir hunters what had happened to Gustav after the war.
The most likely explanation as to why Gustav came to Britain in 1944
was that he'd been a German prisoner of war.
One of a vast number who were captured and held in Britain.
At peak time, there were over 400,000 prisoners of war
in British camps, distributed all over the country.
There, they were first of all politically screened, interrogated,
to separate out the Nazis from the non-Nazis.
They were actually categorized in three difference groups -
the Blacks, the Greys, the Whites -
with the Whites being those who had very little to do with the Nazis,
the moderates. And the most ardent Nazis were put up in the North,
often in rural areas to be isolated from local villages and the population.
There were 600 camps holding German prisoners like Gustav, with the aim
of steering them from Nazi ideology, and using their labour.
There was a lot of war damage, which the prisoners helped to repair.
Housing stock was damaged
quite badly by the war.
Rubble needed to be cleared away.
The general population felt that this was a fair contribution
of the prisoners towards what was damaged by Germans during the war.
But the policy of holding the men captive indefinitely was against the Geneva Convention.
In 1948, the German prisoners were freed.
Many were given the option to stay, and when Peter found Gustav's death certificate,
it gave a clue to his reasons for remaining in Britain.
..And it named a possible heir.
I saw that on the death certificate it showed he had been married, he'd got at least one daughter
and I noted that the informant was his daughter, Mary Selwood.
A pictured was emerging that Gustav had married an English girl, Dorothy McLean, just after the war in 1948.
And they'd had four children - Mary, Timothy, Nigel and Thomas.
Peter was able to find contact details for Gustav's children,
and today he is making the 200-mile journey from Wales to Berkshire to meet them.
We're on our way to see Mrs Selwood and her brother, Tim.
They're two of the heirs in this case.
We'll give them the family tree, take a look at it,
and see where they fit in and where their cousins in Germany fit in.
He has brought a family tree with names of the heirs' German relatives, to confirm their lineage.
He also has the paperwork for a claim which may entitle them to a share of a 100,000-euro inheritance.
This case is all about a lady who died in Germany a couple of years ago, called Frida.
she would have been a first cousin of your late father.
This whole thing is that her estate has to go to her nearest living next of kin,
who are going to be her cousins. This is where your father comes in.
The estate is worth around about 100,000 euros.
That will be divided amongst your father's family - that's you and your other brother.
And amongst the family of...
his Uncle Albert's children.
Tim and Mary have signed an agreement that the company will act on their behalf.
But for them, the most exciting thing is
they have an opportunity to learn about their long-long relatives.
What part of Germany do the cousins live?
Your cousin Klaus lives in Seeberg...
Dirk Hohmeister lives in Bonne.
-It would be nice to get their address, wouldn't it?
It's been a worthwhile visit for Peter, who has signed heirs on behalf of the German bank,
but for the heirs, it's re-awoken a curiosity about
their own German ancestry, about which their father never spoke.
It was a surprise to hear that we were heirs to a lady in Germany that we hadn't...
known about or heard anything from.
We knew our dad was German, we didn't know how much family
he had in Germany, or anything about his life there.
As their father had passed away 16 years earlier, Tim and Mary believed
all links to their German family had died with him.
I personally didn't know anything about my grandparents in Germany.
I've always wanted to know more about them.
Dad himself didn't like to talk much about it,
so information was very...
Trying to find things out is not easy.
We always thought he just wanted to leave the past behind.
Still to come:
The heirs embark on a journey of discovery.
Trenches and barbed wire and pillar boxes, 250 kilometres deep.
The revelations are going to be an eye-opener.
Dad was always our hero and he will always be our hero.
Heir hunters solve thousands of cases a year,
ensuring that millions of pounds are paid out to rightful heirs, but not every case can be cracked.
The Treasury has a list of over 2,000 estates that have baffled
the heir hunters, and remain unclaimed.
These estates stay on the list for up to 30 years,
and each one could be worth anything from £5,000 to many millions.
Today, we're focusing on three names from the list.
Are they relatives of yours?
Could you be in line for an unexpected windfall?
James Judge died in Notting Hill, London in July 2001, aged 81.
If heirs aren't found, his money will go to the Government.
Did you know George McGlade from Hoylake in the Wirral?
He died in October 2003, and may have come from Scotland.
So far, no-one's come forward to claim his estate.
Also on our list is Brian Alexander Yanchuck, who was from Milton Keynes.
He died in December 2004 and his surname is of Ukrainian origin.
So far, all efforts to trace his relatives have drawn a blank.
If the names James Judge, George McGlade or Brian Yanchuck
mean anything to you, or someone you know, you could have an unexpected windfall coming your way.
The heir hunters at Fraser & Fraser are pulling out
all the stops to find heirs to the estate of Cecil Walton.
The marriage is the clue... the key to this.
He was a widower who died in Durham in December 2009, without any children.
He was always very...tidy.
..Well-shaven. Never saw him without a shave or nothing.
A lovely old fella.
They know the case has value, but it's proving more difficult than anyone imagined.
One in 10 Waltons in the UK live in County Durham.
But has the decision to send a traveller
to pick up a marriage certificate in the Northeast paid off?
We have got the marriage in 1927. It shows that...
the birth we were thinking could be correct...is right.
He's the son of Thomas Walton, and that's what we've been working on. The mother
is the daughter of William James Robson.
They'll check if they can identify her birth from census records.
It's a massive breakthrough.
Without the right marriage detail for Cecil's parents, the research had ground to a halt.
Now they've got two concrete stems to trace.
They know Cecil's father, Edwin Walton, came from East Ward,
and his mother, Mary Robson, came from Great Ouseborn.
A lead soon materialises for the mother's side of the family.
On the maternal side of the family, Mary Robson we think had a brother, Walter Robson.
So...they're working on that at the moment.
Researcher Jo is on the case trying
to track down a birth certificate for Mary Robson's brother Walter.
Good morning, I was wondering if you could help.
I'm trying to get hold of some birth certificates
for people who were born in the early 1900s in Great Ouseborn.
But it looks like it's going to take hours for the register office to fax through the document.
OK, after 2. That will be brilliant.
Thanks. Cheers, bye.
And when other companies could be looking at the same case, time is of the essence.
One of the travelling researchers, Ewart, is almost in the Durham area.
The office has an urgent task for him.
Hi, Ewart, can you go over to York registry office -
'not million miles away from you.
-'We've ordered a couple of certs, which have been paid for.'
We were told to come back after 2, or phone them back,
but if you go now, you might get it sooner. That's what I'm hoping for.
Okey-dokey, Dave, I will try and oblige.
That's not bad.
For the moment, we don't know if we're going to find any heirs.
If it's not easy for us, it's not easy, I hope, for other companies.
While the team's doing everything they can to crack a case which could
be worth up to £80,000, Ewart arrives at York register office
to try to speed up the search for birth certificates for Cecil's mother and uncle.
Well done. Thank you very much.
The two certificates that you asked for - 1901 and 1903.
Wonderful. Thank you very much.
And your receipt.
You take care, thanks a lot.
Once he's got them, he relays back the crucial information the office has been waiting for.
Walter... born 29th June 1901...
Father is William James Robson.
Mother is Martha Robson, formerly Pearson.
Do you want to see if you can get that death?
A death certificate for Walter should give them the name of his wife or close kin.
This will help them find Cecil's cousins, if he has any.
-I want to pick up a death if I can, in 1967.
The information on the document means the team can expand the Robson family tree.
Walter Robson, Elizabeth Elsie Robson, formerly Lee.
So, mother is Elizabeth Elsie.
Well, basically Elsie...
I don't have the details.
..We think is going to be this birth, here.
So, Walter marries a Lee.
Cecil Walton's aunt and uncle were Walter Robson and Elizabeth Elsie Robson.
Records soon produce the name of a daughter, another Elsie Robson, who the team learns lives in York.
Elsie will be Cecil's cousin, which makes her an heir to his estimated £80,000 estate.
I'm going to head over to that address, yes.
But for a traveller who's not on his own patch, Ewart is struggling to find the address.
Have I passed Nottingham Avenue, mate?
And when eventually he tracks down the location.
..It's bad news. No-one's in...
and Elsie's house is on the market.
When heir hunters draw a blank, talking to neighbours can sometimes give them a new line of inquiry.
Just found out that Elsie's passed away, about three months ago apparently.
-Elsie, yes in that detached bungalow.
-Across the road, yes.
Ewart's able to confirm that Elsie had sadly died, but there could be another heir.
-She's got two sisters.
-She's actually got two sisters, Anne and Audrey.
-Audrey's died now.
Audrey has died. OK, fine.
-Is Ann still alive?
-Anne Robson is another of Walter and Elsie's children.
She'd be Cecil's cousin, and therefore an heir.
Back at the office, the news about Anne backed up a lead that the team has been working on.
That's right. It's right.
Yes. We're up to date.
And now they urgently need to find Anne's address.
Right, David. We've got Anne's address.
-You want a copy of this, don't you?
-Is Ewart going to go there now?
Once I have given it to him.
If she's nearby, Ewart may be able to pay her a visit and sign up an heir ahead of the competition.
Ewart. Okey-dokey. I have got this address for you.
It shouldn't be too far away.
'She is Anne, A-N-N-E, Robson. Now Page.
Ewart's off to try and meet an heir for the second time today.
Elsie has two sisters, one also has died.
There is one still alive.
Um... Which I'm going around to see her now.
He's hoping this time, the team's combined efforts
that have taken him across the country will produce results.
-May I speak to Anne Page, please?
-Are you Anne Page? Ah.
I'm from a company called Fraser & Fraser.
We're probate researchers.
It's good news.
Ann Page is happy to meet Ewart and to sign the paperwork.
The heir hunters now have their first heir to Cecil Walton's unclaimed estate.
But for Anne, news that she's due to receive
an inheritance from an unknown cousin is tinged with sadness.
For somebody to leave something that doesn't know them.
I mean, people leave something that you know and you're that pleased.
I feel so sad that we didn't know him.
In fact, Anne's aunt, pictured here with her father Walter, died before she was born.
You can see by the look of their faces how much they thought about each other.
All I know that my father had a sister called Mary and she had a son,
and he thought an awful lot about her and unfortunately, we were all too young to remember.
So, it's really sad to think there's people in the past that we'll never know.
The following day, the heir hunters in London are wrapping up what's been a particularly tricky case.
After working blind, they know they've cracked it by finding just one thing.
Finally, we got the marriage of Walter and Elizabeth
and that confirmed everything was right, so...
what I originally thought was going to be wrong, and we were trying for trying's sake, turns out to right.
Quite a good result from our point of view.
But Cecil Walton's estate turns out to be worth less than the £80,000 they'd hoped for.
They found eight heirs in total, who will get a share of his £28,000 inheritance.
We've now identified and have contacted a number of cousins,
both on the paternal side as well as the maternal side.
Bearing in mind the names we had, common Northeastern names,
I think we did very well to get where we did.
Heir Hunter Peter Birchwood is unravelling the case
of a former German PoW, whose early life was a mystery to friends and family.
Gus was a very quiet, very hard-working man.
Not frightened of anything.
Would talk to anybody, but didn't need other people's company.
Gustav Sturm) died in Berkshire back in 1994, but now a long-lost cousin has passed away
and the heir hunters have found his English children, who will inherit his share of the estate.
The sudden connection with the past has been a shock for Tim and Mary.
I'd still like to know about his brothers and sisters, though.
But the news brought with it fresh details about their father's early life.
As soon as Peter from Celtic Research got involved,
he's brought a lot of information to the table.
Now the heirs have applied for Gustav's German military records through specialist historians.
Today, they're about to open the document which reveals their
father's wartime experience for the very first time.
"Military service record, Gustav Sturm.
"3rd September 1939."
I didn't realise he'd been to Russia, fighting on the Russian front.
Gustav joined the frontline Grenadier Regiment 348, five days into the Battle of Kursk.
Tim and Mary are learning how, in 1943, Germany was amassing
a huge offensive against Russia on the Eastern Front.
Fresh troops were needed to replace casualties, and Gustav was called up from his farm
to fight in one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War.
The Battle of Kursk was the last major German
strategic offensive in the Second World War, against the Red Army.
However, it certainly didn't go to plan.
In fact, Soviets took the initiative during the course of the battle,
which was the largest tank battle in history.
Tanks are large and make a lot of noise and they have an effect on the enemy's morale,
but it took soldiers such as Gustav to take the ground and to hold it,
and that would decide whether a battle would be won or lost.
Trenches and barbed wire and pillar boxes, 250 kilometres deep.
The revelations of what their father endured are proving difficult to read.
We know that Dad didn't like talking about anything to do with the war
or even his life back in Germany...
but to read that, you know it's just...
You can understand it.
He went through hell.
The Germans were outnumbered two-to-one in the Battle of Kursk, and suffered massive losses.
Gustav was incredibly lucky to escape with his life.
But in 1943, Gustav was severely injured by shrapnel in his leg,
which left him hospitalised for months.
Gustav would've had a journey of over 800 miles to reach the front line.
You'd think there'd be worn out before they even started!
The records reveal that Gustav was sent back to the front line in 1944
to defend the northern coast of France.
His was one of just 14 German divisions sent to try and take on
326,000 Allied soldiers.
Gustav's unit would've found itself
rapidly outpaced by the Allied advance, particularly as his unit was an infantry division.
Hitler forbade the German forces to withdraw
once the Normandy beachhead had been pierced and that caused a fatal delay in moving troops back
to counter the Allied forces that were encircling them.
"His unit was not a specialist or elite fighting corps,
"but when he met the Allies, it was fought with distinction,
"holding the Allies on the beaches and jeopardising the success of the entire Normandy landings.
"However, the unit was eventually encircled by Polish and American forces."
"While the German army was being shelled and bombed by Allied
"artillery and planes, he must've escaped along one road which the Germans kept open.
The result was the Falaise Pocket, which was a slaughterhouse for the German army in Normandy.
It caused massive casualties, and Gustav again remarkably seems to have come through unscathed.
It's been an emotional journey into Gustav's once-secret history.
You wouldn't put a face like your dad's to this.
You can relate to the way he felt when anybody asked him about the war
or his family, and he just wouldn't talk about it.
You can now see why.
Having filled in one gaping hole in their father's life,
his children are now curious to know about the next stage.
Gustav's life as a prisoner of war.
Today, Tim and Mary are off to meet someone who can help them understand
what it was like to be a German prisoner and their father's possible reasons for staying in the UK.
We know nothing about his life
as a prisoner of war, or how he got over here or how long he was a prisoner of war.
He wouldn't speak about it.
Former infantry soldier Gotthard Liebich was held in a prisoner of war camp for four years.
It was similar to this one that's still standing in Hertfordshire.
Mary and Tim are anxious to know how their father would have fared as a captive.
Was you treated OK
by the commanders of the camps?
-By the guards?
The commanders were very strict and if we did anything wrong, we'd get
punished by having a week or two in the glasshouse, I think they call it.
Otherwise, there was no cruelty or anything like this.
Sleeping 40 to a hut, the prisoners were allowed out only to work
and just like Gustav, Gotthard was made to do farm work.
Potato picking was a long, dreary job. We didn't like it.
Your back hurts like mad after the first day...
Hoeing beetroot, not beetroot, sugar beet, whatever...
from here to the end of the hedge there, rows and rows, and we were just hoeing away.
You'd chat to your mates next to you, you know. That was very boring too.
When the PoWs were given their freedom in 1948,
the British government gave many the option to stay in the UK.
Just like Tim and Mary's father, Gotthard had a new British girlfriend
and now faced a difficult decision.
You never went back home?
I never went back home because I didn't have a home to go back to.
My actual home, to tell you the truth,
was burned down by the Russians when they came into Eastern Europe.
When I got back, my girlfriend wanted me to stay in England.
I said, "No, I must find my people first."
I couldn't find a job, couldn't find anywhere to live
and it was so difficult, so I tried to get back to England again,
and that's what I did in 1948.
In post-war Germany, life was all but unrecognisable, especially for
those like Gustav, who originally came from the East and whose land had fallen under the Iron Curtain.
Villages changed their names, streets changed their names
and it would've been very difficult for Gustav to actually go back.
Gustav must have also been quite confused about
the outcome of the war, with the collapse of the Nazi system
and the revelations about war crimes committed by the Germans and he had
to come to terms with this and also all the death around him.
Around 10,000 former German soldiers relocated permanently to the UK.
Just like Gustav, Gotthard married his British girlfriend and lived in England.
I've never had any problems at all.
I can't think of one single case where anybody was antagonistic in any way.
We've had no bother from anybody
except when we move to East Garston and we moved there with
a big family, because we had an extended family,
and somebody decided they'd paint some swastikas on the walls.
It didn't faze Dad. He got them cleaned off and people in the village just...
The parallels between Gotthard's life and their father's experience
have given Tim and Mary a new understanding.
To think all the times I spoke to him and he never mentioned it.
I was very close to my dad, but no mention of the war.
I knew he didn't like to speak about the war,
didn't like to speak German.
My dad loved this country, I must admit.
He loved staying here, he wouldn't want to go back.
For the heirs, it's been an emotional journey into the hardships their father endured.
Dad was always our hero and he'll always be our hero.
It's changed nothing like that.
It's just proved what a man he was.
In Wales, with the paperwork for a 100,000 euro estate wrapped up,
the case has been a satisfying one for Heir Hunter Peter Birchwood.
He's connected heirs to their long-lost German cousins and to their father's hidden history.
One of the good, fun bits about this business
is putting them in touch with members of the family have no idea
of their existence and, in this instance, it's reuniting
people from thousands of miles away.
If you would like advice
about building your family tree or making your will, go to:
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