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Father and son reunited after 70 years

PUBLISHED: 08:57 09 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:59 30 June 2010

A Norfolk war veteran has been reunited with his first-born son after 70 years - thanks to his granddaughter tracking him down on the social networking site Facebook.

A Norfolk war veteran has been reunited with his first-born son after 70 years - thanks to his granddaughter tracking him down on the social networking site Facebook.

Now frail and living with his second wife Margaret in a care home, George Mumby had last seen 71-year-old Terry as a baby before he went off to fight in the second world war in Italy and North Africa with the Sherwood Foresters Regiment.

Following the failure of his first marriage to Irene, whom he had met while stationed on Guernsey, her parents had become the child's legal guardian on the island.

George, 98, who lived in Ludham, near Great Yarmouth, and worked as a gardener into his 80s after coming out of the army, went on to have three more children but never got back in touch with Terry.

It was only a New Year's Eve impulse of his granddaughter Sophie, 23, that finally brought about a surprise reunion.

Sophie, of Cremorne Lane, Norwich, said: “I am quite involved with my grandparents and it came up in conversation that my granddad had a son with whom he had lost contact.

“I pestered my dad for the name and looked on the internet without finding anything. But it was on New Year's Eve, as I was preparing to go out, that I had the idea of doing a search on Facebook.

“Seven Terry Mumbys came up and, although it was a long shot, I sent a message to each one. The next morning, when I had woken up with a hangover I was astonished to have received a message back saying, 'It's me.'”

Sophie, a support worker for people with learning difficulties, discovered that the retired computer manager living in St Peter Port, Guernsey, had been trying to track down his father for years.

Arranging a visit to the care home in Ingham, near Stalham, she was careful not to talk about it to her grandfather in advance as he is frail and she did want not to confuse or upset him.

She said: “I took Terry along and explained who he was, but he knew straightaway. My grandfather was delighted and described it as the best day of his life.”

Sophie, who will be visiting her uncle in Guernsey later this month, said: “My parents slate Facebook but this shows the good side to it.”

Terry, who has since visited Norfolk again and also got to know two of his three “lost” siblings, Maribel Beaumont, 49, of Ludham Road, Catfield, and Sophie's father, Clifford, 63, of Potter Heigham, is keen on modern technology and has been on Facebook for three years.

He said that, after being evacuated with his grandmother from Guernsey to Bradford during the war, they had quickly lost contact with his father; the last communication had been a letter sent in 1943 which he still had in his possession.

Terry, who also lost contact with his mother when she emigrated to South Africa, said: “I did not know he had remarried and certainly did not know he had more children.”

He said in the early days of the internet he had done a Google search to find his father, but it had only thrown up a Mumby playing rugby league in the north of England.

“There is so much animosity surrounding Facebook at the moment, but look what it has done for me,” he said.

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