Since 1931 On the 11th day of the 11th month, on the 11th hour, we pause in reverent remembrance to honour the sacrifices made by those who served in WWI, WW2, Falklands, and Iraq. At this time of year, we remember and thank all the brave men and women both past and present, who fought for our freedom and died while serving our country at war and peacetime.

As part of the work that we do here at Finders International, we are very fortunate to be in a position where we are sometimes able to reunite families and help them connect their family trees as well as find solace in the answers to long-standing questions.

On this occasion of national significance, we would like to reflect on past cases in which we were able to have an impact on positively.

 

Hero’s family reunited with WWI Medal

 

In 2016 Finders International worked with Merseyside police to locate the serving family of  WWI soldier, Corporal Francis Mitchell, from Yorkshire, and reunite them with his Victory Medal after it was found in Liverpool on June 6, 2014.

Francis Mitchel served as a Corporal with the Lancashire Fusiliers during the war and was among the soldiers to receive the Victory Medal.

Speaking to Eastern Daily press in 2016 Mr. Mitchell’s granddaughter Freda Powell said, “I received a surprise phone call about the medal on Remembrance weekend, which of course was very fitting, – We are very grateful to Merseyside Police and Finders International for all their efforts in achieving this for us.”

Daniel Curran of Finders International added, “It’s not every day that we get a request from the police and we were keen to help solve this mystery and return the medal to its rightful guardian.”

Eastbourne war hero 

 

At Finders, we are well known for reuniting families and building family connections. In the case of Douglas Knowles, a WWII veteran who was 91 when he passed away in early 2018 with no known family, Finders International was successful in tracing more than 50 relatives throughout the UK and a couple living in Australia and Canada. Without locating the family members and probable beneficiaries, these family members would have otherwise never found out about their relationship to Mr. Knowles and wouldn’t have been able to attend the funeral. These families will have now become beneficiaries of Mr Knowles’ will.

“It is a sad case, indeed, when families are not aware of each other. Ideally, we would have liked to have worked on the case earlier so that some of the relatives could have attended the funeral and paid their respects. We find next of kin in 98 percent of cases within 24 hours, so time is always of the essence. – More than anything else the majority of his relatives were really interested in learning more about their family tree, which I am putting together for them – Camilla Price, Case researcher.

 

Military Veteran

In 2016, John Redvers Barrett passed away, and initially, it was thought that there would be no relatives to attend the funeral as it was reported that Barrett had no known next of kin. After a plea was issued online via social media, up to 100 people attended the funeral.  Finders International came on board the case in the hopes to trace any remaining family of Mr. Barrett. Through extensive research, they yielded incredible results and were eventually able to uncover his family history.

Born August 7, 1928, John was enlisted into the West Yorkshire Regimental Band in 1942, aged 14. The research unearthed that John was, in fact married three times and had at least five children: three from his first marriage and two from his second. He then married a third time aged 60 and lived with this last wife until her death in 2018.

Lesley Wilson, a daughter from his first marriage who lives in York, said: “I didn’t know that my father had actually married again. I had no idea that I had two half-sisters. It was a complete surprise.” The half-siblings have never met, and until now didn’t know of each other. Danny Curran, Finders International, said: “We have now put all the siblings in touch with each other, and they are planning a family reunion in the new year.

Danny added “Occasionally in our line of work we are able to bring long lost family members back together. When that happens it’s a real privilege – one of the most satisfying aspects of our work.”

As a military veteran, his coffin was draped with the Union Flag in line with his request.

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