Wigan brothers reunited after 83 year separation

Peter Moore (left) and older brother Francis, aged 102, have been reunited after 83 years
Peter Moore (left) and older brother Francis, aged 102, have been reunited after 83 years

Two Wigan-born brothers have been tearfully reunited - after more than eight decades apart.

Peter Moore had always known he had older siblings from his father’s first marriage and from whom he had been separated when only three.

Peter Moore with his long-lost brother Francis, and the latters wife Eve, aged 95, and their daughter Carol

Peter Moore with his long-lost brother Francis, and the latters wife Eve, aged 95, and their daughter Carol

But he never gave up hope of finding out what became of them.

And it was thanks to a chance conversation between two other relatives in the 86-year-old’s family that he discovered his eldest sibling Francis was still alive - at the grand old age of 102!

And now the pair - who live hundreds of miles apart - have been hurriedly catching up on lost time and filling in the family history gaps since going their separate ways in 1935.

A phone call from a nephew in Stockholm and a relative in Suffolk led to Peter Moore being introduced to his only surviving sibling Francis, who is now 102.

Former export director Peter had no memory of his big brother, as they were separated when he was only three years old.

But he has promised to keep in touch with Francis, after they staged a reunion where the older of the pairing now lives, in Portsmouth.

“He’s still as sprightly as you and me - I wish I had him around to do my gardening with me,” said Peter.

“It all started with a couple of telephone calls, one from my brother’s son, Matthew, in Stockholm, and another from a chap called David Pooley, who was also related to me.

“David asked me if a I was a Moore, first of all, then he said he had some good news as my brother was still alive.”

The tale of the two brothers is tinged with tragedy, as their father, Albert Edward Moore, a respected dentist in Pemberton, died aged just 38 in May 1934, after complications following his contracting laryngitis.

Francis, along with Bernard, Margaret and Barbara, were the children of Albert Edward and his first wife, Lilian Dawber, who died in 1929.

Within two years Albert had married Mary Pilling, which resulted in the births of Peter and later George.

While Peter and his brother moved with their mother to Southport, Francis and his three siblings from Albert’s first marriage were looked after by relatives in Wigan.

Peter said: “I did ask my mother, from time to time, what had happened to my brothers and sisters but it used to upset her so I left it.

“She was left with six children at the time and there was no such thing as social security in those days.”

While his second-youngest brother was finishing his schooling then starting out as an office boy for BICC, Francis was serving with the army in Egypt, Palestine and Singapore.

Peter, who now lives in Bridge Trafford, near Chester, is also well-travelled, having worked for BICC across the North West and undertaken postings in Dusseldorf and the Far East before his retirement.

Before the phone calls which put the final piece of his family jigsaw in place, Peter and wife Phyllis had been making their own enquiries about his father, who is buried in Ince Cemetery.

He was told originally that Albert’s last resting place was a pauper’s grave, which he found hard to believe as Albert had his own dental surgery in Pemberton at the time of his death.

But after ordering a headstone, to put matters right, it was later discovered his father had actually been interred with his first wife Lilian, where an impressive black marble tomb still

stands.

“It’s a beautiful grave, which we visit every year so we can put flowers down. I used to leave a little note, each time, just to see if anyone else went there, but we didn’t hear anything back,” said Peter.

“I’m very happy that we’ve found out a little bit more about my father now and I’ve got a brother who I never really knew existed.”