family tree

Anglia Research traces family of World War II veteran following international appeal

Sometimes it’s about more than just a job.

The team here at Anglia Research demonstrated their people tracing expertise by locating the next of kin in response to an international media appeal.

You may have heard a little about this fascinating tale on either the BBC or more prominently in The Sun. The back story is that Flight Sergeant Peter Brown, believed to be a member of the “Pilots of the Caribbean” who fought in World War II, died alone in 2022 in London aged 96 with no known family.

Westminster City Council issued an appeal for mourners to attend the planned public health funeral as no relatives could be traced. Councils take on the responsibility for the funerals of people who have died intestate within their boundaries where there is seemingly no one else willing or able to make arrangements.

Fortunately, The Sun picked up the council’s appeal for mourners, and over a series of articles their campaign to give the RAF veteran a send-off worthy of his life story captured the imagination of the public. Some significant public figures gave their support to the campaign such as the Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Due to the campaign, the council became inundated with requests from people wishing to pay their final respects, and the funeral arrangements were subsequently upgraded. Peter Brown will now be given a full military funeral hosted at the RAF’s 1,000-year-old church in London with six hundred mourners expected.

Brown’s story had gone around the world. Yet still no family had been found.

Enter our team of research experts… We spotted the appeal and quietly went about undertaking research into Peter’s family.

?????! The local knowledge of those connected to our Jamaica office proved to be invaluable as we located living relatives, some of whom are now planning to attend the funeral. So, it is great when the research we undertake can help give back a little bit of dignity to the deceased, with the family given the opportunity to pay their final respects.

What a story – the funeral is now due to take place on 25th May 2023 at St Clement Danes church, the Central Church of the RAF, in Westminster.

This article was submitted to be published by Anglia Research as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

Read more stories

Join over 6,000 wills and probate practitioners – Check back daily for all the latest news, views, insights and best practice and sign up to our e-newsletter to receive our weekly round up every Friday morning. 

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.