During WWII, a 5-year-old boy named John White and his 6-year-old brother Fred were evacuated from their home in London to a village in Rayne. The pair never saw their parents again and eventually gave up tracking them down. However, 72 years later, John’s friend discovered the location of their mother’s grave. John decided to visit the site and noticed it was nicely kept. Therefore, he assumed someone still living was taking care of the grave and decided to leave a note for the individual. Little did John know that one note would lead him to a family that he never even knew existed, which included three long-lost siblings.
The Braintree and Witham Times reports that John White was evacuated from London in 1939 at the age of 5 and would never see his parents again. The boy was relocated during WWII with his older brother Fred. The pair gave up hope of finding their parents after the war and assumed they had died or didn’t want to speak with them. However, 72 years later, that would all change.
“I’d always just believed that she must have been killed during the blitz. There were a lot of bombs that fell on Edmonton, so my assumption was that she’d died then and that was why Fred and I had never heard from her when the war finished.”
According to the Daily Mail, a friend offered to trace John’s family history and discovered new information about John’s long-lost family, including the site of his mother’s grave. It was noted that after the boys were evacuated, their father had passed away from septicaemia. Their mother, now a widow, remarried and went by the name of Ivy Hodge. The friend discovered that Ivy Hodge was buried in the Edmonton cemetery and John decided to go visit his mother’s burial site.
After arriving at the grave, John says he was struck by how well maintained the area was for his mother. He even noticed a rose bush that appeared to have just been watered. Therefore, he decided to leave a note at the grave in an attempt to contact whoever was caring for the site.
“I found the grave and I noticed it was nicely kept. At the bottom of the grave, there was a rose bush and it had just been watered. I wrote a letter and put it in an envelope in a freezer bag, saying ‘Read me’ and put it under a vase.”
In the note, John provided his phone number and explained that Ivy Hodge was his mother. Shortly after leaving the note, John received an unexpected call from a half-sister he didn’t know existed. He learned that he actually had three half-sisters by his mother’s second marriage. John, who is now 86 and a great-grandfather, says he remains in touch with two of his half-sisters Kathleen and Marina. He says they speak often and plan to meet up again next month.
[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Hulton Archive]