War evacuee reunion for first time in 70 years

PUBLISHED: 12:06 02 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:47 03 May 2013

June Hale and Mary Penelhum in front of Mary's former home. Picture: Wiltshire Times

June Hale and Mary Penelhum in front of Mary's former home. Picture: Wiltshire Times


In a nostalgic reunion, a World War II evacuee met the daughter of the family she stayed with for the first time in more than 70 years.

June Hale, from Barking, was re-united with Mary Penelhum, at Mary’s childhood home in North Bradley in Wiltshire.

The 80-year-old lived with Mary and her parents for around two years during the war. Although the two girls grew close the pair lost touch when the conflict ended.

In March she appealed for help in tracing the family in the Wiltshire Times and was delighted to hear from Mary’s sister Judith Belcher, 70, who was born after the war.

Mary’s family no-longer live at the house in North Bradley but the current residents gave the ladies a tour around the building during their reunion on April 28.

June said: “I wish I had come back sooner. The whole family was so welcoming. Mary and I had a good chat, it was lovely.”

Mary, 81, said: “My mother and father really liked her when she stayed here.

“It was really nice catching up and we’ve exchanged addresses and phone numbers, so hopefully we’ll meet again.”

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