Series following the work of probate researchers. The team find themselves in a frustrating search for heirs on a huge family tree and spend days trying to track them down.
Browse content similar to Franklin/Murgatroyd. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
June Franklin appeared to live a quiet,
simple life in her garden flat in London.
But for the Heir Hunters, the pressure is on to solve her case.
Yet again, no reply.
I'm starting to run out of time now, so on to the next one.
And the investigation into another estate starts with
seaside stories on the scenic Isle of Wight.
She was like a racing driver.
My husband would see her coming down the road and he used to say,
"Hold tight, here comes Hazel!" SHE LAUGHS
It's all part of an heir hunter's daily challenge.
Coming up: the hidden dangers faced by battleship dock workers.
HMS Vanguard just suddenly exploded and killed
her entire crew of 804 men.
And we uncover a story of heroic firefighting in the Blitz.
Because everything was in such chaos to begin with,
just went from fire to fire.
There were crews who left on 7th September, in the evening,
and never went back for five days.
Plus, we'll be giving you details of the hundreds of thousands
of pounds worth of estates that are still to be claimed.
Could the heir hunters be knocking at your door?
In the London offices of heir hunting company
Fraser & Fraser, manager Mike Pow and the team,
are hard at work on the case of June Franklin.
They started work on it six months ago,
but it's now become an urgent priority.
When it first came to us, this case, we didn't believe
it had a huge amount of value.
However, after about six months, some new information has come to light
which looks like the estate will probably be in the region
of about £50,000, so we've picked the file up again, had another look,
and have now discovered that she may have a huge amount of
aunties and uncles, and it's going to be a lot of work
for us to sort this one out.
June Isabel Franklin lived in a basement flat in this
house in Kensington, London, for over 30 years.
Although very little is known of her, and there are
no surviving photographs, neighbour Stephen Leveredge was a friend.
I first met June about a month after I moved in here.
Straight away, she struck me as a person that liked to be
on her own and very private.
Over the years, Stephen got to know June a little.
I think she was a well-read person, because of the way she spoke.
And when she came up here for a cup of tea, which was
very, very seldom, she would speak about watercolours
and she'd speak about other parts of the world.
And it seems June took great pleasure from the birds,
who'd visit her garden.
My bedroom being at the back, every morning I'd look out,
the birds would be perched on the tree, waiting for June to come out.
That reassured you that she was OK.
But one morning, Stephen noticed that June hadn't
been out to feed the birds.
Two days later, still hadn't seen any birds.
Hmm. Something strange.
So, I went down and knocked on the door. No answer.
And I thought, something... One had a feeling something was wrong.
And so I called the police and then they came out and said,
"Well, I'm very, very sorry, but the lady inside has passed away."
I still look out of my window, but you don't see any birds,
you don't see any squirrels. They're gone.
They've gone with her! HE LAUGHS
No, she was a very, very nice lady.
And missed, especially by myself.
June died on 11th December 2010, aged 91,
with no known family, and without leaving a will.
So it's up to Mike and the team,
to track down heirs to her estimated £50,000 estate.
Since first starting work on the case six months ago,
they've made some progress with the tree.
At the moment, this is where we have the deceased,
who was never married and didn't have any children.
First, we looked at the near kin and found a sister, Joyce,
who also died a spinster.
And, as you can see, we then had to go back, on the
mother and father's side of the family,
the mother's being this side, and she's got about nine siblings.
With so many aunts and uncles, and any descendants of
theirs to trace, research Joe has got his work cut out.
I'm looking at the paternal side of the tree at the minute, which is
made up of nine stems, nine family members we're currently looking at.
Sharon's looking at the maternal side of which there is ten stems,
ten family members to look at.
So, it's almost 20 family members overall we've had to look into.
And I'm currently focusing on one of the family members
on the paternal side, at the minute.
The team have established that June's father was
Arthur John Franklin, one of ten children
born to Frederick Franklin and Grace Harding.
It's a lot of work,
and Mike's approach so far has been to divide and conquer.
Because we've quite a few people on it, it makes it a little bit easier.
Whereas if only people were doing it, it'd be a lot more difficult.
While Joe carries on research in one of June's aunts,
Mike follows up on a potential heir.
Paternal cousin once removed of a deceased.
However, whether she has any,
or he has any knowledge of the deceased, is going to be remote,
as the link to him was born in 1888.
He was born in 1952,
so it's very, very remote that is going to know anything
about his great aunties and uncles, as the family stretches back so far.
Don't think anyone's at home today.
Mike has had no luck contacting that potential heir.
But researcher Isha has managed to trace a key family member
on June's father's side, one of his sisters, Grace Mary Franklin.
She was born in Hastings and she's living in Cheshire,
which is nowhere near Hastings, but luckily, she was living
with her mum, so I was able to pick that one out.
Otherwise, I would probably have skipped past it.
Grace was June's aunt, who died in 1945.
However, Isha has managed to trace one of her descendants.
I've got a phone number for one of Grace's grandchildren,
but whether or not they'll know anything, it's hard to tell.
Mike wastes no time in following up Isha's lead,
And immediately tries to contact this grandchild,
who would be June's first cousin once removed, and a potential heir.
But it seems he's not in luck.
My name's Michael Pow. No, nothing to worry about.
We're a company who specialises in tracing missing heirs
and beneficiaries. Thank you very much for your time.
# No-one's at home to-day! #
What I'll do, is I'll send out a letter
to them tonight, in the post,
and seeing how we are regarding travellers, I'll get someone to
go around there tomorrow, to see if
they can make contact with her that way.
Although Mike has had no looking contacting potential heirs
so far today, all is not lost. He's got one more to try -
another first cousin, once removed, on June's father's side.
I'm trying to locate the son of a Hazel Phyllis Franklin
and an Edward Byrne.
If you are this person, please could you give me a call?
Once again, Mike asked to leave a message explaining who
he's trying to get hold of, and the connection to June.
Thank you very much for your time. So, yeah,
everyone's out in the weather today, by the looks of it.
Despite all the team's hard work,
by late afternoon they're still a long way from solving the case.
After today, we've had a moderately successful day in the fact
that we've found some beneficiaries.
However, we haven't been able to get in contact with them.
And I've managed to leave a few messages on phone numbers,
but no-one's rung back, as of yet.
So, we've sent them letters, and hopefully, we'll get someone
to see them tomorrow. But they are all cousins once removed
of the deceased. I'd be very, very surprised if there
are any cousins living, because all the uncles and aunties deceased,
were born in the mid-to-late 1800s.
The family is very, very old,
and we're coming down a lot of generations
before a living heir is found.
So, hopefully, somebody will be able to get onto them tomorrow,
and then we can take it from there.
And as the search continues, there's more frustration out on the road.
There's no reply at the address,
and I can't confirm that she lives there, so I'm going to ring
the office now and see if they can do a little bit of research.
Heir Hunters take on cases from a number of different sources.
Sometimes, a concerned neighbour or friend of someone who's died,
seemingly without leaving a will and with no known family,
contacts the team.
This is known as a private referral.
In November 2013, Daniel Curran, boss of London-based firm,
Finders, was alerted to the case of Hazel Murgatroyd.
Although the case was referred to us privately,
we can't always be sure that any particular personal company
hasn't referred the case to several of our competitors, as well.
So, where there is any doubt, we'll always
try and complete the research as if it were competitive.
Although this meant the team needed to work on the case as
a matter of urgency,
there was still an important first step that they couldn't ignore.
Before we start the case, it's always good to get an approximate
idea of the value of the estate so we can judge the level of re-sources and
the level of investment, if we're going to fund
the investigation ourselves.
It's not always possible, so sometimes we just have to
speculate and hope that the estate is worthwhile in value, in the end.
Former civil servant, Hazel Roseberry Murgatroyd,
was born in Kent, in 1941,
and retired to this bungalow on the picturesque Isle of Wight.
Gloria Halliwell and her husband, Ken, were neighbours.
We'd been in on the island for about two months, and we came
face-to-face with Hazel in Newport,
and my husband, Ken, introduced us.
The initial meeting had seemed like a promising introduction
to their new neighbour.
She was quite a tall lady,
and I found her talkative for the few minutes that we were together.
But, then, there was no acknowledgement after that.
She seemed to be a very private person.
But it appears Hazel did have at least one passion,
which her neighbours couldn't help but notice.
Hazel had a car, she had her own personal number plate.
She was like a racing driver.
My husband would see her coming down the road, and he used to say,
"Hold tight. Here comes Hazel!"
She used to be dressed in the same things, summer or winter.
The only thing that changed, in the summer,
she used to bring out this white hat.
And she would put that on.
But, other than that, she was always dressed as though it was really cold.
Gloria and her husband knew Hazel for over 12 years.
she did sometimes asked her neighbours for a little help.
Hazel gave me the shopping list, but it was all sweet stuff,
some very soft. Nothing substantial.
And we did have a laugh, because on the list was fun sized bananas.
At the time of Hazel's death, on 27th June 2012,
her neighbours knew no more about her life or any potential family.
It was now up to Daniel and the team
to piece together the puzzle of Hazel's estate.
From Land Registry records, they'd already been able to
establish that Hazel had owned her own home.
They were also able to establish that she never married,
or had any children.
And, having done that, the hunt was on for any brothers
and sisters she might have had.
Using the information on Hazel's birth certificate,
the heir hunters were able to trace her parents' marriage.
We found out that Hazel's parents married quite some time
before her birth, about nine years before her birth.
Sometimes, when we find the marriage of the parents a number of years
before the birth of the deceased, a gap, such as in Hazel's case,
a gap of nine years, might imply that there are further siblings to Hazel.
However, in this case, we found out,
and confirmed later on with relatives,
that Hazel was referred to as "a blessing", in that her parents had
virtually given up the prospect of having children when Hazel was born.
Morris Arthur Murgatroyd married Maud Hannah Wright,
in September 1932.
And Hazel was born in April 1941, in the midst of World War II.
At the time, her father Morris, was very involved in the home front.
The Auxiliary Fire Service, or AFS, was first formed in 1938,
as part of Britain's civil air defence.
Initially, recruits like Morris were part-time, unpaid volunteers,
and their role was to supplement the work of local professional
People came from all walks of life and all classes.
You got bakers, librarians, musicians, people in showbiz,
people who'd been to public school. A huge mix.
Two days before the Second World War was declared, 89,000 men
and 6,000 women were mobilised across the country for
full-time service in the AFS.
But during the first few months of the war,
known as the phoney war, because nothing seemed to be happening,
all this preparation seemed worse than pointless.
The auxiliary Fire service were very unpopular with the public.
They became a target, really, I suppose, for people's frustration.
Particularly after Dunkirk, when morale was quite low,
they were actually attacked in the street very often.
They had tomatoes and things thrown at them.
But for Morris and other recent recruits,
all that was about to change.
On 7th September 1940, of course, almost a year to the day
after the outbreak of war, the London Blitz began.
It was a very sunny September afternoon,
and about 4.30, an armada of planes made its way up the Thames.
They began bombing on both sides of the river, the docks,
warehouses, factories, and at one stage,
all along the Thames, from Beckton to Tower Bridge, was on fire.
Famously, a fire watcher on the roof of St Paul's Cathedral said
at one stage, "It must be the end of the world."
The intensive bombing of London by the German Luftwaffe
continued for eight months.
It was a determined effort to destroy the capital
and demoralise Britain to the point of surrender.
The bombing always came in two waves.
The first would be mostly incendiaries, which would set
light to things and, also, have the emergency services out working.
These huge fires also would light up key targets
for them to come back later, when they dropped their high explosives
among those working outside,
which, again, accounts for the deaths of so many auxiliary firemen.
During the first 22 nights of London air raids,
Morris and his fellow firefighters fought nearly 10,000 fires,
and their heroism was never in question again.
Hazel would have been barely a month old while her father
was risking his life.
Once the Blitz began, as a driver,
he would have been out almost every night, as were most of them,
fighting fires in the Docklands, or wherever he was directed to go.
He would have been working long hours.
I mean, on that first night, 7th September,
some of them worked for 18 hours without food or sleep.
He would have been wet through by the time he came back,
and remember, it was through the autumn, winter and spring,
which was very cold nights.
Very difficult to dry their uniforms, they only had one uniform,
so often, you were going out the next night in a damp uniform,
and people became ill.
They weren't the healthiest of people.
Even so, Hazel's father and his fellow firemen would have had
to have had to have extraordinary reserves of stamina.
Because everything was in such chaos to begin with,
just went from fire to fire.
And there's certainly one that I know of,
that left on 7th September,
in the evening, into the city,
and never went back for five days.
They slept on the engines.
Because, of course, the fires that were started on the first night,
were more or less under control but you still had a damping down
and so on, and while you were doing that, they came back the next night,
and the next and the next.
So you just went from one thing to another, grabbing
sleep and food were you could.
The Blitz ended in May 1941,
but the AFS continued to fire fight alongside their regular
colleagues throughout the remainder of the war,
and into peace time.
But as the fire service became nationalised
and fully professional, the AFS was gradually phased out,
until, in 1968, it was officially disbanded.
What is impressive to me today, is the sense of responsibility
they had to their community and, especially, to their comrades.
For me, what I think is so incredible about the Auxiliary Fire Service
is the fact that it's ordinary people doing an extraordinary job.
Morris survived the war and Hazel proved
to be her parents' only child.
This meant the team had to expand their search
to look for possible aunts and uncles.
We established that Hazel's mother's maiden name was right,
which is a very common name.
So our initial focus moved to the Murgatroyd family, being less common.
Hazel's father, Morris, died in 1966.
But it was his 1903 birth date, that give the heir hunters
the boost they needed to unlock his side of the family.
This, luckily, gives us access to the 1911 census,
where he could be mentioned as a seven or eight-year-old boy.
We found that Hazel's paternal grandparents had several children,
but they were young enough to have further children after
the 1911 census.
The team discovered that, in fact, Hazel's grandparents
had a total of 10 children, including her father, Maurice.
They got to work on all nine branches of the family tree,
and came across an early stumbling block.
One of the deceased paternal aunts
was named Elina or Elma May Murgatroyd.
And she presented some difficulties
in that we couldn't find any obvious marriage or death record for her.
We were suspecting she may have emigrated.
Eventually, it transpired that she married at age 90,
which is very unusual.
So, having used her husband's surname, we then were
able to establish her death,
and the fact that that branch of the family died out.
And research into one of Morris's sisters yielded
some particularly useful results.
The stem of Yvonne Murgatroyd was quite a key one for us,
in that she was the one that married Mr Rigg that led us to her son,
Malcolm, who we were able to compere and contrast our family trees with
the confirm that we'd found all the correct family and the correct heirs.
Hazel's cousin Malcolm is a keen genealogist,
who has carried out his own extensive research.
I started being interested in family history
when I had a long talk with my grandmother, when I was about 20.
And I recorded everything on paper.
I knew about my mother's family,
I also knew, from my father
and my paternal grandmother, about his family.
For heir hunter Daniel, Malcolm was a welcome mine of information.
It's always great when someone has a family tree that we
can compare against our own, and make sure that we've done the right thing.
But, also, in case he has any additional information,
to supplement what we've already done.
So, it was great, great to find Malcolm and to go
and see him and talk to him.
As well as knowledge about his wider family,
Malcolm also has early memories of his cousin, Hazel.
Up to the age of around 20 or so, we'd had regular family contact.
Hazel was always protected as a child, by her parents.
And she was treated as a gift
which had to be treasured and spoiled.
Hazel was certainly six-foot tall.
In fact, the story goes, and I don't know whether this is true,
that at one time she had she had four inches cut from her
upper leg, on both sides, in order to be not quite so tall.
If she'd been born these days,
she would have found plenty of boys over six-foot.
But at the time, in the '40s,
being that tall was very unusual for a woman.
Malcolm tried to keep in touch with his cousin as they grew older.
When we proposed to visit Hazel,
she was very reticent about what I would expect on arrival.
And we found that she'd been living in a state of chaos.
I feel very sad that Hazel died alone,
without anybody with her of the family.
And that we didn't know anything about it.
I have a feeling that Hazel would have got into the habit
of being a loner. Perhaps that explains why she didn't ask for help.
But more about Hazel is revealed, as Malcolm delves deeper into her life.
I've got an interesting letter here, from 10 Downing Street,
and signed by Harold Wilson.
Every year in Britain, thousands of people get a surprise knock
on the door from the heir hunters.
It just seems a big miracle, so, you know.
Nobody ever think this sort of thing happens.
Being told of an unexpected inheritance
can be very welcome news.
If I get £50 I can go out for a good meal and have a drink on Richard!
And it can provide a priceless opportunity to connect with
long-lost family members.
Meeting him, it was the best outcome, I think,
from this whole investigation.
But there are still thousands of unsolved cases on the Treasury
solicitors' bona vacantia list, where heirs need to be found.
Could you be one of them?
Today, we've got details of two estates on the list,
that are yet to be claimed.
The first case is Donald Shuker, who died on 30th July 1999,
in Goodmayes, Essex, aged 70.
He was born on 8th May 1929, in Manchester.
But it is not known if he was married, or had any children.
Shuker is an early Germanic name, which means one who sieved corn.
Does the name that sound familiar to you?
Do you know anything that could be the key to solving this case?
Next, 76-year-old William Barclay died on 13th March 2002,
in Littlehampton, West Sussex.
He was born on 27th December 1925, in London.
All that's known about William, is that he was a bachelor.
The name "Barclay" is thought to be Old English.
And to come from the market town of the same name, meaning "Birchwood".
Could there still be a family connection to William in that town?
We're in London, the city of his birth.
Does his name ring any bells with you?
Could you be the beneficiary they're looking for?
If you they may be related to either of these people, you would
need to make a claim on their estate by the Treasury Solicitors' Office.
Once again, the names of the cases we're trying to solve
with your help today are:
Donald Shuker and William Barclay.
Perhaps you could be the next of kin.
If so, you could've thousands of pounds coming your way.
The heir hunters have been chasing down heirs on the case
of Hazel Murgatroyd, who died in 2012.
So far, the team had cracked Hazel's father Morris's side of the family,
tracing heirs from the descendants of his nine brothers and sisters.
They then focused on solving Hazel's mother's side of the family.
Our researchers on that side were able to confirm the deceased
mother was an only child.
This meant that Hazel's estimated £150,000 to £160,000 estate would
be divided between the 27 heirs on her father's side of the family.
Today, heir Malcolm, and his brother Trevor,
are meeting up to look through one of the many boxes of belongings
that came out of Hazel's house.
I've come filled with curiosity,
because I'm hoping to find out more about a long lost cousin,
in some respects, a cousin I scarcely ever knew.
Full of mystery, and piecing together her life.
From what Malcolm's told me, it sounds most interesting,
and I'm really looking forward to finding out more today.
The box contains photographs of Hazel's life,
and some photographs of her parents and her grandparents.
And an awful lot of pictures of her car,
she was probably more fond of her car than anything else.
-You can see from this photo that Hazel is very tall.
Because she's standing between her parents, Maud and Morris,
and she's, ooh, half a head taller than them.
I remember one of the occasions when we were visiting,
and Hazel was lined up against you to see who was the tallest.
I mean, we always thought you were enormous! I mean, six foot,
I mean that was considered to be an unheard-of height.
And yet, Hazel, actually, was taller than you.
In fact, it was not perhaps very flattering,
from Hazel's point of view, to be pointed out that, um...
-She was taller than me.
Family get-togethers seemed to be when the cousins
had their best chance of getting to know each other.
How I remember Hazel was as a reserved, diffident lady.
Much my senior, of course, by what? Six years, anyway.
Her height, of course, made it a little bit awkward to be
with her, that would explain why she became...
Well, why she never got married.
Maybe she couldn't form relationships easily. Who knows?
I've got an interesting letter, here.
It's addressed to a PD Nairn...
..from 10 Downing Street, and signed by Harold Wilson.
-And it's... Dear Pat...
..etc, etc. And on the second sheet,
one of the people there is Miss H Murgatroyd.
Oh, right, so she's part of a team.
-So, Hazel was one of 29 people in a team working...
-In the civil service.
-In the civil service.
-I wonder what...
It doesn't, of course, give any details about
the exact contribution they made.
But, an expression of gratitude for the efforts that have been made.
The events the letter refers to were, in fact,
the renegotiation of Britain's involvement in the EEC.
It was carried out in 1975,
under the leadership of Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.
At that time, Hazel was working as a civil servant,
and played a part in the proceedings.
'Britain joined the European Community in 1973,'
under the Europhile Prime Minister, Edward Heath.
One of the few Europhile prime ministers Britain's had.
Britain joined principally because it was seen in the 1960s that the
British economy was lagging somewhat behind the continental economies,
as a result of their creation of the European Community.
So, Britain's political elites, but also in the media
and elsewhere, saw that joining the community could be
a remedy for some Britain's economic deficiencies in the 1960s and 1970s.
But right from those early days,
Britain's membership of the EEC was a political hot potato.
Public opinion was sorely divided as to the advantages
of being part of an economically united Europe.
Until finally, a public vote was put on the
political agenda, by a newly elected government.
The 1975 referendum was held by Harold Wilson,
and it was a Labour Party manifesto commitment for the 1974
election to renegotiate the terms of entry and then put those
terms of entry to the British people in the form of an in-out referendum.
The management of the referendum was crucial for Wilson,
both within the Labour Party and for him personally, as Prime Minister.
Harold Wilson was determined that his pro-European stance would win
the day, and worked closely with committees of both politicians
and civil servants, including Hazel, who would debate in the issues.
Is likely that Hazel would have been working alongside civil servants
and diplomats who went on to be leading exponents
of British-European policy, in Brussels.
On 6th June 1975, the British public finally went to the polls
to have their say.
They voted two-thirds to one-third in favour of staying in the EEC.
So this was a triumph for Harold Wilson.
A, it kept Britain in the European Community,
which he saw as an economic necessity.
And B, it kept the Labour Party united at a time when
it could have fallen apart over a very contentious question.
Harold Wilson had been a civil servant during World War II,
and it's well-known that he always had strong affinities with
the civil service, and he regarded their work particularly highly,
and so the kind of letter that Hazel received, would have been
recognition, by Harold Wilson for the job that she
and the other committee members did,
in helping put his European case to the British people.
Hazel spent many years working as a civil servant,
and her cousins and heirs, Malcolm and Trevor,
are only now getting an insight into her life.
Well, we've only touched the tip of the iceberg here, but,
what is extraordinary already, is the things
I didn't know about Hazel.
And yet, these photos tell so much.
And yet, hide so much.
It'd be lovely to get behind the scenes
and discover the mysteries, the things we don't know yet.
Maybe they'll come to light as we go further down the box.
But, for today, the brothers have uncovered enough to think about.
There were sad moments, looking at some of the photographs.
Because, I realised that here was a person in Hazel,
that I never really got to know.
And I could have made more effort to get to know her,
there's no doubt about it.
As a cousin, I was perhaps a bit of a failure.
OK, that goes both ways,
but even so, I might have made more effort over the years.
And I get the impression that she's a person with whom
I might have got on well.
I really would like to find out more.
It has aroused my curiosity.
In the London offices of Fraser & Fraser,
it's day two of the hunt for heirs to the estate of June Franklin.
When we first started it,
the Franklin case was a nice little two-pieces-of-paper job.
Now it's spread out and just taken over the whole desk.
The team have established that June's father, Arthur,
was one of 10 children.
When June was born, in 1919, he was working as an engineer at the
Royal Chatham docks, where he had served during the First World War.
The Royal Dockyard Chatham was the only shipbuilding
centre on the east coast of the country at the turn of the
20th century, and the Navy's only major ship repair centre, as well.
It was vital to be able to repair submarines,
and also refit large destroyers coming in, and cruisers as well.
Arthur's role as an engineer,
just before and during World War I, would have been vital
in the building and completing of warships for the Royal Navy.
Of Arthur would have started out engaged in fitting engines and
repairing the engines on board ships, so it meant crawling into small,
dark spaces and making sure it was all connected and running properly.
As is experience grew and his knowledge grew,
he would have moved towards the chargeman level, which is
effectively a foreman, responsible for a gang of roundabout
20 or so men, and making sure that they are working properly
and doing their jobs.
As he progressed into an inspector,
he would have then had probably around three or four gangs under his
responsibility, so roundabout three foremen,
plus 20 or so guys in each gang.
The First World War was one of the most challenging times
in the dockyard's history.
Around a dozen ships were built,
and crucial repairs to the existing fleet carried out,
both vital to keeping the Royal Navy afloat and fighting the war at sea.
Arthur and his colleagues would have seen a lot of horrific damage
for the first time from sea mines and torpedoes.
It was the first time they'd actually been used.
There would have been a lot of twisted metal,
the bows would have been ripped off, sterns could have been
sheared off, engines would have been blown to pieces.
And in between all of that twisted metal and wreckage,
they may well have been men who were killed in action, as well.
So it would have been quite gory and horrific.
These ships were towed into the dockyard, and Arthur would have been,
as a chargeman then as an inspector,
would have been sent down to see what they could do to repair the engines
and make it sea-fit and ready again for active service,
as soon as possible.
And it seems the men faced danger in the dock,
as well as on the high seas.
One of the risks of being on a warship,
was the potential for spontaneous combustion or explosion,
and indeed there were several incidences.
The worst was in 1917, in July, when HMS Vanguard just suddenly
exploded and killed her entire crew of 804 men.
Whilst there was a lot of conspiracy theories behind it,
the likelihood is that there may have been a simple spark or
something near the magazines, the doors may not have been closed,
that may have caused the ammunition just to go up.
And this was a sort of occupational hazard,
throughout the Navy at the time.
Arthur would have been part of a close-knit, expanding workforce.
At the end of the First World War,
the dockyard had up towards 12,000 men and women are working on site.
As it turned into peacetime operations, there would have been
mass lay-offs, because they no longer needed to keep such a workforce.
Arthur, in his position, may well have been saved,
because of his experience and his understanding and his knowledge.
Lesser-trained workers would have, unfortunately, lost their jobs.
Although historical archive records have helped build
a picture of June's father, the heir hunters are finding
the rest of the family harder to pin down.
If they've moved around a lot and the born so early on,
then it's really hard to find out whether it's the right family or not.
The people that you're talking to are not going to know
about their grandparents' families, necessarily.
They've had to go down the generations until they found
distant cousins on both June's mother's and father's sides.
With no luck contacting beneficiaries on the phone,
Mike has sent travelling researcher, Dave Hadley,
out on the road, to see if he can locate them in person.
Dave is tracking down a cousin on June's mother's side of the family.
Best case scenario is that they give us some information
about his brothers and sisters, and also sign an agreement with us.
And the worst-case scenario is that the competition have
already got there before me.
Heirs can play an important role in helping to confirm the team's
research, and to fill in any gaps in the family trees.
But if Dave doesn't manage to sign of any heirs,
all the team's work is for nothing.
And after a brief meeting, it's time for him to hit the road again.
Well, that was a great result.
Erm, I've just seen the heir, he's confirmed all the information
that we've got, he's given me quite a bit of information about his
brothers and sisters, and he's agreed to sign an agreement with us.
So, one down, six to go.
Following directions he's just been given, Dave is on his way to another
cousin on June's mother's side, who fortunately lives very nearby.
There's no reply at the address,
and I can't confirm that she lives there, so I'm going to ring
the office now, and see if they can do a little bit of research.
Dave gets through to case manager, Mike Pow, and explains where he is.
Yeah, that's the one I've been knocking at. There's no reply.
I don't know whether you want to get a letter out to her.
I'll leave an enquiry letter through the letterbox.
Er, I've got a telephone number, but, you know, there's no reply
at the door, so there's not much point in ringing the number.
Mike has been able to confirm this cousin, and that Dave
is at the right address.
Dave leaves a note, and then it's back on the road to the next name
on his list, a cousin once removed - again, June's mother's side.
Right. Well, I just had an interview with a very nice lady.
She's confirmed that she is an heir to our deceased.
She's quite elderly, so I've left an agreement with her,
so that she can discuss it with her daughter.
She's given us quite a bit of information,
but it will help us to confirm the research we've got is correct.
So, after this last-minute success, Dave is ready to go home.
I've had quite a successful day.
I've managed to see two heirs and spoken to a third one.
Located a fourth one,
and I've just got a couple more to see in Tonbridge, tomorrow.
So, all in all, it's been a good day.
The following day, Mike Pow is on leave,
so it's up to fellow manager, Jo, to pick up where he left off.
I've just spoken to Dave Hadley, to see
where he'll be going today, to make sure that everyone is seen
who can be seen, to keep everything up to date.
Since yesterday, the team in the office have managed to find
several more names to add to Dave's ever-expanding list.
I doubt that I'm going to be able to get round to all of them today.
But I'll do as many as I can.
He's on his way to a daughter of one of June's cousins.
Right, well there's no answer at the address.
I know that they've sent a letter out to her,
so I'm not going to bother putting anything through the door.
Dave's hoping to have better luck with the next heir on his list,
who's a cousin once removed.
Finding a parking space, yeah. It's a nightmare.
Yet again, no reply.
I'm starting to run out of time, now. So, on to the next one.
I would hope to have somebody signed up by now, but you can never tell.
He has high hopes of signing up the next potential heir,
a cousin on June's father's side of the family. But he's hit a snag.
That road's closed, as well.
Oh, wow. I can barely get into Pembury.
Dave finally finds a way through, and after arriving at the house
and introducing himself to potential heir, Karen Hunt...
-Thank you, please come in.
-Thank you, very much.
..he gets down to business.
-Now, did you get our letter today?
-I did, I got it this morning, yes.
-Have you had a chance to read it, or not?
-I've read through it, yes.
I'll ask you a few questions, it'll save you
-then having to fill in that questionnaire.
-Right, OK, yes.
It'll confirm that we've got the right person.
How many children did your parents have, including you?
-There's four, four girls.
-Was your father married more than once?
-And was your mother married more than once?
Dave is able to confirm the team's research, and is satisfied
that Karen is an heir.
It's a very unusual thing.
You hear of it happening to other people, that they get
in contact, people saying there's relatives that have left them money.
But, you obviously don't ever think it's going to happen to you.
It's strange, knowing that there's somebody out there that
you didn't really know, that you were related to,
and nice to know that, at the end of it, we'll get a nice extra
bonus of a little bit of money, or something, which is really nice.
Well, I'm really pleased with that.
She's given me some information which is really useful,
but, more importantly, she's agreed for us
to help her with her claim, and has signed an agreement with us.
So, I'm really pleased with the result,
and I think now, it's time for a well-earned lunch.
It's been a successful visit for Dave. And, a few weeks later,
the team have finally been able to wrap up all their research.
This was quite a complicated case for us due to the fact
that there was so many people who looked to be involved,
because we knew from both sides of the family, there was
going to be quite a few aunts and uncles.
We've managed to come down through quite a lot of generations to finally
find 40 beneficiaries who look to inherit about £63,000 between them.
So it was a nice one for us to sort out for them.
I think it makes you realise with the family that you don't
see that often, that you really should make more of an effort.
The team find themselves in a frustrating search for heirs on a huge family tree and spend days out on the road trying to track them down. While on another case, the investigation into one former civil servant's £160,000 estate reveals her role in the political manoeuvrings of Howard Wilson.
Plus details of unclaimed estates where heirs still needs to be found.