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1944

From Dr John Twyford, Nailsea, North Somerset - received 6 May 2014

 

I am a Brocket Baby and from knowing this I have found a great deal out about my birth story.

 

Above is the only picture of Philip Weeden, pinned to my Adoption file, possibly taken at Brocket Hall in 1944.

My adoptive name is Twyford. Recently, whilst writing a piece for a UK Historical Society, I searched through Willesden parish records, to establish my family tree.  I established a line back to Edmund Twyford 1569, but, importantly, I also found that my birth in 1944 was not registered.  I checked with the UK GRO about the registration of my birth.  It transpires that I am a GI baby.  This information was arrived at after a long time searching official procedures concerning adoption, meeting with social workers and adoption agencies, as well as a great deal of internet browsing.  My birth mother Lydia Alice Hickmott, had an affair with an American serviceman.  However, her English husband made her chose between the GI and her 6 year old son and him.  They were Methodists and I was given my birth mother's married name, Philip Weeden, but which subsequently changed to John Philip Anthony Twyford.

I have my adoption file from Brent Council which contains the process of adoption at the end of the WW2.  This has been a profound experience for me at 69 in 2013.  My birth mother destroyed the letters from America.  She did write to her husband asking to keep the baby.  He replied that they had better part if she kept me.  She said, in my adoption file, he is such a lovely baby.  Its hard to give him up.  But, if it means my husband or baby, I want my husband. I  was such a fool.  She had a 6 year old son to think of.

My birth father came from Virginia, USA.  He did offer to marry Lydia, but only if she divorced her husband.  A war-time dilemma especially since there were at least two million US service people in Europe in WW2.  My on going family research has revealed that I certainly have close kin in Virginia and it is likely that my ancestors were Early Settlers in Virginia.  My birth mother's family came from farm labours in Kent, England.

My birth parents were:

Harry Watt Mundy b: 1908 in Stanardsville, Greene Co., Virginia, USA ; d: 1970 in Stanardsville, Greene Co., Virginia, USA

Lydia Alice Hickmott b: 11 Apr 1909 in Finsbury, Middlesex, England; m: 1934 as Lydia Alice Weeden in Islington, London, England; d: Aug 1992 in Harringay, London, England

I am: John Dr. Philip Anthony Twyford b: 6 Nov 1944 in Brocket Hall, Lemsford, Hertfordshire, England; registered as Philip Weeden, in Hatfield, Hertfordshire; adopted by Twyfords 18 Sept 1945 Epsom County Court, Surrey, England.

Importantly, I am happy to relate, that my story has been shaped out of love.  I do not wish to upset anyone with my life's tale.  Many thanks to the safety and the idea of Brocket Hall, as well as to the kindness of people.

John Twyford 1945 with my adoptive mother Nora, and then 70 years later!