Cancelled train, and friends lose touch for 50 years
9th of June, 2011
RAF veterans reunited thanks to 192.com
Two RAF veterans lost contact for 50 years when a London train cancelled, ruining a crucial rendezvous between the teenagers since their cold-war service in Germany.
Speaking half a century after the botched Shepperton to Waterloo service, Brian West, now 74 from Norwich, recalls how in 1956, he had hoped to reunite with his forces room-mate, Gordon Love.
"Gordon lives in Scotland but was in London to do a course. We had arranged to meet in Waterloo, but when my Shepperton train was cancelled it was hopeless. There was no way of getting in touch in those days, and there was about two trains a day."
Mr West tried in vain to trace Gordon, even journeying up to his home-town in Kilmarnock. "Love's not a common surname, I thought, so I hoped I might find him," said Mr West.
"I looked everywhere; the telephone directory and even at the local Police, but I had no luck," he added.
Fifty-three years later, Brian's breakthrough came when he contacted World War Two veteran Robin Brown. Mr Brown specialises in reuniting lost friends by tracing them on 192.com, utilising the site's edited electoral roll and births deaths and marriages data.
"I found Gordon Love within two weeks of searching for him. 192.com really is an excellent resource for me," Mr Brown, 84 said.
Dominic Blackburn, Product Director of 192.com said: "We are delighted to have helped Gordon and Brian reunite. 192.com has 700 million records including over 20 million records from the edited electoral roll, which are excellent for tracing lost friends and family."
After Mr Brown passed on Mr Loves's contact details, Brian finally rang Gordon in 2009, getting through to his wife, who said Gordon would return the call.
"When Gordon rang back, the first thing he said to me was; "You're the stroppy bastard I used to share a room with," said Mr West. "He hadn't changed at all. All those years, and it was like we had never been out of touch. When we met I recognised him immediately."
Brian West was a stationed as postal clerk at an RAF fighter base Fassbers in 1955. "The base bordered the iron curtain, said Mr West. At night I would do sentry duty and all I had to protect Europe from the Russians was a pick axe handle and whistle."
In 1956 Mr West moved to a base in Burgen Treich, where he shared a room with Mr Love who looked after the camp's rations. Mr West remembers how the local Germans where still angry about the war.
"You had to be careful when outside the camp, it wasn't uncommon for service men to get beaten up in pub toilets," he said.
192.com heard about Brian and Gordon when Robin Brown alerted the website of the successful reunion. This is one of the hundreds of reunions Mr Brown organises every year, thanks to his expertise in using the 192.com people-finding directory.
192.com Limited evolved from UK Info disk, when BT's Directory Enquires were made available on a CD-Rom. 192.com bought the domain name 192, the old code for directory enquiries and became the UK's most awarded online directory, helping find people, businesses and places for four million users every month. On 192.com, users can search almost 700 million records including free directory enquiries, electoral roll information, local business records, interactive mapping, aerial photography and property reports. 192.com has won best online at the 118 Tracker awards for the past seven years and was described at as 'the site that changed the web for ever' by Net Magazine. 192.com has launched i192, a free app for iPhones supplying free directory enquiries.
For more information contact the 192.com Press Office.