Norwich man found by half-brother he never knew existed after 65 years in the dark
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
For six decades they lived little more than 200 miles apart - each totally unaware of the other's existence.
Only after Christopher Kimpton started exploring his heritage did he discover his family tree had its roots in Norwich - and the father he was brought up to believe had been killed in a plane crash had been alive and working as a forensic photographer for Norfolk Police.
That journey of discovery took him to the door of his half-brother, Peter Kimpton, after 65 years.
Their father, Harold Kimpton, had been stationed in Delhi with the RAF during the Second World War when he married Christopher's mother, Esme Betreen, who gave birth to Christopher in 1945.
When the war ended, Harold returned to his wife and son in England, leaving his second family in India.
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And it was not until 2011 that Peter, now 75, received an email from the brother he never knew he had.
'Initially I thought it was some sort of scam,' he said. 'You tend to think the worst at first. When I phoned him it became quite obvious we were related.
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'We seemed quite similar in nature and there was an obvious affinity there.
'Dad had been stationed in India when I was 10 months old. He left in March 1942, and I never saw him until March 1945. I just remember some chap turning up in a blue uniform and my mother saying 'that's your dad'.'
Harold had worked in the postal services with the RAF, retrieving lost mail from plane crashes and working logistics.
'Christopher's aunt told him she had attended a wedding ceremony when my father 'married' Esme,' added Peter. 'The circumstances of being away from home and apart from loved ones for such a long time must have been hard. It is difficult to put yourself inside their heads and think what it must have been like for them.'
Harold had never spoken a word of his secret family to Peter or his brother Paul, so Christopher's arrival came as a complete surprise.
'I had not ever known throughout my whole life we were related, so it was a completely out of the blue event,' said Peter.
'We normally speak to each other once a week for an hour or so, and just discuss the world. We have a good relationship and seem to have a lot in common. They are now another branch of the family.
'It is amazing, and just shows at any moment someone could get an email out of nowhere and realise they have a brother they never knew they had for decades. Life is full of little twists and turns like that.'
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