Wow! What a week I've had. If you read last week's blog post, you will already know about my very special WW2 identity bracelet finds. This week's blog is about what happened next! So, as always, get that kettle on, get those feet up and let me tell you about how a WW2 wartime identity bracelet find inspired me to track down a Romford girl’s descendants.
Now, I've had a few WW1 and WW2 pieces in my time, so you could say I have some experience in this area, however, I had never seen an air raid identity bracelet like this before, let alone two!
Research suggested they were worn by children who were not evacuated from cities during WW2 and they were designed to help reunite children with their families if they were separated, injured or worse, during an air raid.
Both identity bracelets are inscribed with the person's name and address. So, I began thinking, wouldn't it be amazing if I could track down these people and reunite them with their respective bracelets. And that is exactly what I set out to do!
I began with the bracelet belonging to Mollie Hercock of 63 Pretoria Road, Romford. I did some digging online, through various different ancestry sites, looking at things like Census and Voters Lists, and Birth, Marriage and Deaths.
I found out that Mollie was born in 1931 - meaning she would have been only seven or eight years old at the outbreak of war. In 1956, Mollie married a Kenneth Eric Lucy, and their marital home was on Victoria Road in Romford. However, I learnt that both Mollie and her Husband, Kenneth, had sadly passed away, Kenneth in 2010 and Mollie in 2017. So my search turned to finding any living relatives. Unfortunately, this is where my search hit a brick wall and I'd gone as far as I could, or so I thought...
But then I had the idea of reaching out to some news outlets in the Romford area. So I contacted the Romford Recorder, giving them some background to the story and providing them with my findings so far, along with some photos of the bracelet, in the hope they might run a story on it. They came back to me straight away and said they'd be happy to run a story to help me with my search. The following day, they published their article, which you can read here
It wasn't long before I started receiving messages, one of which came from Romford local, Claire Davis, who had seen the article in the Recorder. She explained that she ran a Facebook page which helped to find people's long lost friends and family, and that she had managed to locate one of Mollie's sons. She said his name was Trevor Lucy and that he now lived up North. She passed my email address on to him so that, if he wished, he could contact me.
I didn't have to wait long. Minutes later, Trevor emailed me! We had managed to track down one of Mollie's sons! What a feeling! I exchanged a few emails with Trevor, giving him a bit of background information and filling him in on my search. He explained that whilst he grew up with his brother Nigel, Mum (Mollie) and dad (Kenneth) in Romford, he moved to the Midlands in 1989 and he was now living on the edge of Nottinghamshire.
I asked Trevor a few questions about his Mum, Mollie, and he also very kindly sent through some photos of her, which really brought the whole search to life. I asked if he would be okay with me writing a blog post about my search, which he agreed to, and I got his consent to include the transcript of our chat and the photos he had sent over.
So, here is what Trevor had to say:
Q. What was your mum like as a person?
She was a lifelong member of Trinity Methodist Church in Romford, and sang in their choir until falling numbers meant it ceased.
She and dad met through the Romford Red Triangle amateur dramatics society, who put on stage musicals twice a year which were always well attended during their week-long runs.
For a long time she was a member of Havering Singers, another choir, which joined with other choirs at Thaxted Church once a year for a public performance.
She could also play the piano (and did for many years accompanying services at the Church), but would always say she wasn't very good.
I'd say she was typical of the age, believing she was meant to help and serve others without much complaint herself. She adored her parents, with her father dying fairly young, which resulted in her mum coming to live with us, something mum loved.
She was very caring, not only raising my brother and me, but she worked as a lunchtime supervisor (dinner lady) for 30 years or so at Mawney Primary School, the school that she, her dad, my brother & I all attended. In the latter years she kept an eye on her aunt until the aunt went into a nursing home aged 103.
She was married to my dad (Kenneth Lucy) for over 50 years and I'd say they were happy throughout.
Q. Did your mum ever talk about her life as a child during the second world war?
Not really, or not much that I can recall. I believe she was sent to her Aunt's in Southwell for a time.
Q. How do you think your mum would have reacted to being reunited with her bracelet?
Emotionally. She was quite the sentimentalist. To be honest, I'm surprised it ever left her possession.
Q. How does it feel for you to now be in possession of this bracelet?
Pleased. I didn't end up with very much that was really personal to mum and this is something very special.
I then posted the bracelet to Trevor on Friday (16th) and he received it on Saturday (17th). He sent me an email to thank me and included this photo of himself with his Mum's bracelet.
At this current time I think we're all desperate for some happy news and I hope that this story has provided you with just that. Chatting to Trevor and seeing photos of Mollie have really brought this identity bracelet to life and I'd be lying if I said it hadn't brought a tear to my eye. It has been so lovely to hear about Mollie's life and I'm just so very pleased that her bracelet is now back where it belongs, with her family.
I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped in this search, in particular the Romford Recorder for running a story on it and Claire Davis for tracking down Trevor. In fact, I'm still receiving emails from people who knew Mollie, all of them saying that she was well known in the area and describing her as a lovely person. I'd also like to say a big thank you to Trevor and I wish him and his family the very best for the future.
Well, that's it for this week folks! I hope you've enjoyed this story. My attention will now turn to the other identity bracelet. I will, of course, update you on that one as and when there are developments.
So, until next week, stay safe, keep buying those antiques and keep spreading that Source Vintage love!
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