Long-lost siblings united by Wokingham RemembersBy Jon Nurse
December 20, 2012
An elderly brother and sister met for the first time after 91-year-old Harry Hogburn defied doctors to fly to Australia for an emotional first meeting.
Harry, born Henry, believed he was an only child until researchers tracing Wokingham’s war heroes discovered he had an 82-year-old half sister.
“When I first heard the news, I cried with joy,” Mr Hogburn said. “I always wanted to be someone’s brother. My wish came true.
“It’s difficult to put into words how wonderful it was to meet my lovely sister and to find we had so much in common.”
The pair were reunited through Wokingham Remembers, which traces the lives of the town’s servicemen from the First and Second World War, after their children shared information about their grandfather Frederick Hogburn.
Wokingham Remembers researcher Mike Churcher said: “We were tracing the three Hogburn brothers who fought in the First World War and lived in Plough Lane, Wokingham.
“Not long after, I received a message from Harry’s family, saying he was the only child of Frederick. A little later I received another message from a different family, saying Nora Kazimierczak was the only child of the same Frederick. I thought, we’ve got a delicate situation here.”
Nora’s daughter, Wanda, from Bracknell, contacted Wokingham Remembers to correct facts about her grandfather Frederick’s life and asked to be put in touch with Mr Hogburn’s family who had shared information on its website.
Mr Hogburn had always been told his father had passed away in the 1920s, but Frederick had left the family home in Scotland, later remarried in 1929 and had a second child, Nora, a year later.
Delighted with the news the grandfather of three, from Scotland, set his heart on a trip to Western Australia to meet Nora.
But following a spell in hospital early this year with a serious chest infection, his doctor was unsure whether he should fly but conceded he couldn’t stop him going.
Mr Hogburn’s son-in-law Allan Mees said: “The airline’s medical team were concerned about Harry’s health and asked for further tests to measure his oxygen levels.
“The tests were carried out a few days before Harry was due to leave and his doctor was amazed at the improvement since May and suggested they were near to normal and exceptional for a 91-year-old with heart problems.”
Mr Hogburn, his daughter Shirley and son-in law set off from Glasgow on Tuesday, November 13.
Mr Mees added: “To Harry’s surprise Nora was at the airport to meet her brother for the first time, it was an emotional tear-filled meeting.
“Nora and Harry met every day to chat about their lives until it was time for Harry to say farewell and fly back to Scotland.”
Mr Hogburn added: “I am so looking forward to keeping in touch with Nora and catching up on all our lost years.”
To read more about the reunion visit www.wokinghamremembers.com