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Mercury letter helps reunite long-lost brothers

Sorry, this video asset has been removed.

Watch Brian Croft revisit
his home town and find out about the reunion.

by Graham Tutthill

Two former Deal brothers have been reunited after 60 years
apart, thanks to the East Kent Mercury.

George and Brian Croft were separated when they were very young,
and lost contact with each other.

George, now living in Coventry, wrote a letter to the Mercury in
February asking if anyone could help him track down his long-lost
brother and mentioned a couple of names of relatives.

One of the newspaper's readers recognised the name of their
step-brother, Robert Hayward, now living in Dover, and alerted him
to George’s appeal. He was able to contact Brian in Germany, and
now the brothers have been reunited.

It was as a result of family bereavements that George and Brian
were split up. They were both fostered and lived in Gladstone

When their foster mother died in 1944 her daughter wanted to
adopt them both. But as she had only just got married, she was only
allowed to adopt one.

Brian was chosen and George was taken into care, going to a
children’s home at Manston.

"That was the last time I saw him," said Brian. "About 20 years
ago I tried to find out where he was, but because of the Data
Protection Act I wasn’t able to, and I had to give up."

Brian lived in Sandown Road and Canute Road in Deal and attended
Deal Secondary School.

He served in the Merchant Navy and the army, spending most of
his time in Germany where he married a German girl, settling
between Hanover and Hamburg.

As chairman of his local branch of the Royal British Legion, he
came to England last month for a conference in Eastbourne.

Then he travelled up to Coventry to meet George, his wife,
children and five grandchildren.

"It was a very emotional time," said Brian. "You just don’t know
how it is going to go. As soon as I saw him I knew he was my
brother. We are still very much alike."

They found they have both collected model cars and stamps, and
they both like whisky.

And then it was down to the serious business of catching up on
60 years of news.

It turned out that at one time George was working at a trade
fair in Hanover and was just 30 minutes from where Brian lived.

Now George is planning to go to Germany in August to see where
Brian and his family live.

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