Finders team investigates case with SAS links

The more money in an estate, the more competitive it is for the Finders Team to locate relatives, as was the case when we set out to find the rightful heirs to Eileen Holmes’ estate.

The case was one of many featured on the popular BBC1 daytime TV series Heir Hunters (series 12, episode 8).  Eileen’s estate was publicly listed on the Bona Vacantia list worth a whopping £140,000, and Case Manager Amy Moyes knew it was a race against the clock to identify and locate any heirs to the estate.

The Finders team spoke to one of Eileen’s close friends, who used to visit her every week, and she was able to provide some information about Eileen, including her maiden name, Middleton, which was a huge help to Amy and the team.

Possibility of a daughter

Amy also discovered Eileen had been married twice, and had no children with her second husband, but there was a possibility she had a daughter with her first. To confirm the daughter’s existence, Amy needed to order the relevant certificates, which take time to arrive. But to stay ahead of the competition, Amy went with a hunch, carrying on the research as if the daughter did not exist.

Eileen had one brother, also deceased and thought to have no children, but this was not concrete, so again, certificates were ordered while Amy continued her investigations, researching Eileen’s aunts and uncles and their descendants.

Paternal and maternal heirs

As there was a lot of work to be carried out, the whole Finders team jumped in to help. The paternal heirs were all half-siblings, while the maternal heirs were full siblings, meaning that their right to inherit according to intestacy laws was greater.

Amy managed to find a potential maternal heir and cousin to the deceased, who could recall her but did not know for sure whether she had any children.

In the meantime, the certificates arrived, confirming that Eileen had no children and that her brother had never married and had no children either.

Member of the SAS

Through Amy’s research she discovered that one of Eileen’s cousins—a Charles Mitchell—turned out to have been a member of the SAS during WW2, the Special Air Service, a highly trained special forces unit of the British Army formed during the Second World War as a reconnaissance and sabotage unit.

The SAS is known for its rigorous selection process, which involves physically, and mentally demanding tests designed to weed out all but the most elite soldiers. Once selected, SAS soldiers undergo intensive training in a variety of specialised skills, including weapons handling, close-quarters combat, and surveillance and reconnaissance.

Military historian Robert Palmer appeared on Heir Hunters to talk more about the role of the SAS. Charles Mitchell survived his deployments during the war, so Amy and her team researched his family to see if they could find heirs to the estate.

They discovered that Charles had four children, one of whom was found in Norfolk. She had never met Eileen but knew her brother and the experience meant that she learned more about her father’s time in the SAS during the war.

In conclusion, 18 heirs were eventually found and shared a percentage of the estates.


Finders International identifies and traces heirs to estates, property, and assets worldwide. For further information on our probate research services, please contact us via our contact page, email: [email protected] or telephone: +44 (0) 20 7490 4935