My Birth Fathers Family
Finding my birth father and getting in touch with his family has been one of my life changing experiences and one which took place 59 years after I was born.
Although I won't be writing specifically about any living relatives, I would like to explain how our meeting came about and the things I found out about my father which possibly made me who I am.
Having traced my birth mother in 2006, together with two half sisters and three half brothers, and found out the circumstances of my birth, I was happy that I had achieved the original goal I had set myself. During this journey, I discovered that my birth father had died almost exactly a month before I found my birth mother. My gut feeling was that to announce my presence could cause friction in his family as they would probably not have been aware of my existence.
How strange is fete ? I knew my grandfather was William John Spence Anderson and that he had died at Tobruk after being taken POW during WW2. I also knew he was a baker and that he served with the Royal Army Service Corps. Over the next couple of years I discovered some amazing facts surrounding him and his death which led me to believe that in all probability his family may not know where he died or where his body lay. It was only after finding out the truth and knowing that someone was organising a memorial ceremony to be held at the spot that I decided I had to tell his story to his living relatives.
Quite coincidentally I had previously been corresponding with the 3 x great grandson of Robert Learmouth Sandeman who lives in France and who I had contacted as background to the Anderson Clan. He put me in touch with my second cousin once removed who lives in Holland, who still had cousins living in Crieff, and it was one of these cousins who was instrumental in putting me in touch with my father's other children. By this roundabout route, on 9th January 2013 I sent the only tangible photo I had of my father (see right), which my birth mother had given me, to show it to my siblings who gave him permission to let me have their email addresses. It was on 25th January that I sent an email to one of my half sisters and five hours later made First Contact. Over the next few weeks I had dozens of emails with her and other siblings and aunts. I was thrilled they all welcomed me into their family which was more than I could have expected.
As far as is known, nobody was told of my existence even though the photo's my birth mother gave to me show they were seeing each other in July 1955 after my birth and adoption. It even transpires that my birth mother went up to Crieff for Hogmanay (believed to have been December 1954) and was taken around to meet the relatives and neighbours and introduced as (presumably) Bill's girlfriend. My birth mother even has a photo of one of his living sisters, although they can't remember the circumstances of how she came by it. Whether Bill told his wife about me is unknown.
My decision to contact the family was especially rewarding when I learned that my father had two sisters still living and who were not aware of the circumstances of their father's death. A few months later in June 2013, one of my grandfather's daughters went to Italy with her daughter to take part in the memorial ceremony to commemorate her father and the hundreds of POW's who died in the friendly fire accident at Orvieto. It was heart warming to be told that she felt at last she had been able to grieve for her dad.
My other aunt, who lives in Australia, had applied for her fathers war records some years ago but she said there was "no indication that he died on a bridge. Just missing presumed killed and no specific date. I had hoped for more answers to the life long wondering."
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