How we use Cookies

Twins reunited after spending 77 years apart

The pair set a record for the longest time for separated twins to be reunited

Matthew Gush
Ann Hunt and Elizabeth Hamel, twins separated for 77 years.

An Aldershot woman, who did not know she was a twin until she was 77 years old, is now on the look out for information about the father she never met.

Ann Hunt and Elizabeth Hamel met for the first time last month, setting a world record for being the longest time for separated twins to be reunited.

Divided by an ocean, a continent and a lifetime the pair had finally found each other and with this accomplishment Ann is now searching for her father.

Samantha Stacey, 43, Ann’s youngest daughter, said: “At the moment all we know is that mum’s birth father had the surname Peters and he was in Aldershot in 1935.

“We do not know if he was stationed in Aldershot, but we have consulted army records to find out.

“It might be unlikely that we find anything, but you never know.”

On February 28 1936 Alice Lamb gave birth to the twins in Aldershot Cottage Hospital.

After the daughters’ biological father – enlisted in the military – was not present for the birth or raising of the girls, single mother Alice reluctantly attempted to find better families for both daughters via adoption.

Alice, who worked as a domestic cook, found Ann a home at five months with a family who raised her in Aldershot.

She went on to marry and have three daughters of her own.

'Over the moon'

Elizabeth, meanwhile, stayed with Alice after she could not find parents to adopt the scoliosis-stricken child.

She was raised in Hemel Hempstead and eventually joined the Women’s Royal Navy Service, met her future U.S. Navy husband in Malta and moved with him to Oregon, where she raised two sons.

Samantha, who lives in Aldershot, enjoyed investigating family trees, so in 2001 Ann asked her to find out more about her birth family. It was the start of a long and frustrating process.

Also, not knowing Alice’s age made it quite hard to know when to start looking – they assumed she had been very young when she got pregnant, but in fact she didn’t have the twins until she was 33.

Samantha placed adverts in the newspaper, looked up electoral rolls and searched online forums.

Finally, in 2013, there was a breakthrough.

They knew that Alice had got married at the age of 49 to a George Burton in Chester and had a stepson, Albert.

Although Albert had died, they eventually tracked down his son, who said that Alice had a daughter in the US. That was how they found out about Elizabeth.

Ann and Elizabeth met for the first time in Los Angeles on May 1.

“I was over the moon, I could not speak,” Ann said. “I had to pinch myself because I realised, I have got a sibling, a sister.

“It is so wonderful, I am not on my own any more. I have got no words to say. I am so happy I have Elizabeth.”

Ann believed it was meant to be. Both sisters have lost their husbands – both named Jim – so the find was a real comfort.

Elizabeth said: “I am 20 minutes older than my sister. It is the kind of thing twins often say, but in this case every detail is new and exciting.”

Anyone who has any potential leads on their father is asked to leave a message online .

 

Journalists

Pete Bryant
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Laura Nightingale
Yateley Reporter
Natalie Garland
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Fergus McEwan
Community & Schools Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
Full newsroom contact details
Tell us what's happening in your area