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Romford bombing family reunited following 29 year search

PUBLISHED: 09:40 06 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:20 06 May 2016

John Brooker traced long-lost family members after reading the Recorder. Photo: John Brooker

John Brooker traced long-lost family members after reading the Recorder. Photo: John Brooker

John Brooker

A man's 29 year search for long-lost relatives was brought to an end after he read the Recorder's coverage of Havering's worst war time air-raid.

Mandy Lewis, celebrating her 50th birthday, has been reunited with a long-lost family member. Photo: Mandy LewisMandy Lewis, celebrating her 50th birthday, has been reunited with a long-lost family member. Photo: Mandy Lewis

Upon reading the two-page feature in our April 15 edition, John Brooker, 69, of Stockton-on-Tees, realised two of the Essex Road bombing victims Maud Limehouse nee Brooker and Ernie Brooker, were the siblings of his father Charlie.

“I started my search in 1987,” John said. “I knew a bit about it but the article filled in many gaps.”

“I didn’t know that Joan Limehouse was about. If I had a couple of years earlier I might have been able to speak to her.

“But I have tracked down my dad’s family through the Recorder.”

Joan Limehouse, Maud’s eldest daughter, survived the devastating bombing after going to the chip shop to buy a neighbour’s dinner.

She returned to find her entire house destroyed and immediate family dead, but lived to raise a family of nine children.

Joan, who died in 1996, is survived by her children, 20 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.

Having nearly abandoned his long search, John has now been put in touch with Mandy Lewis of Barnstable Road, Harold Hill, Joan’s youngest daughter.

Mandy said: “Speaking to John has been lovely and his sister Margaret in Australia and I have been emailing.

“He has sent me photos of nanny and grandad Brooker, my mum’s maternal family.

“It would mean the world to see what my other aunties and uncles looked like.”

Both John and Mandy are now searching for Mildred Brooker nee Sudders, the wife of Ernie – who was blown 
into the wood yard at the end 
of Essex Road during the tragedy.

Her father is believed to have owned the fish and chip shop in North Street, Romford, many years ago.

Mildred and her daughter Lorraine are thought to live in Hook, Hampshire.

Contact Ann-Marie at the Recorder on 02084773892 with any information.

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