'Found at last' How we tracked down the family of WW2 soldier
One of the most rewarding parts of being a journalist is when you can help people unravel mysteries that so far they've struggled to solve.
In the case of teenage soldier, Anthony Taylor-Hurst, it was down, in small part, to a bit of detective work, and in large part to the power of television.
In January, I spotted an article on the internet appealing for help in tracking down Anthony's living relatives. The 19-year-old was one of five British soldiers killed when their tank hit a mine in the village of Kutenholz in northern Germany on 1st May 1945 - just days before the end of the Second World War.
Last year, villagers created a memorial to the men who were liberating their country from Nazi tyranny. Overseeing the project was an amateur historian Debbie Bülau. She had found relatives of four of the tank crew, but Anthony's family remained elusive. All she knew was he came from the Nottinghamshire town of Mansfield Woodhouse. She was on a mission to find them in the hope there could be someone there to represent Anthony at the memorial's dedication in May.
I did a bit of digging on a family history website and discovered a woman in Somerset who appeared to be researching the Taylor-Hurst family. I messaged her and explained my interest. She got in touch and told me there was a connection - her son's wife was related to Anthony's mother. Her son also contacted me to say he was aware that Anthony's brother Jim had had at least two children.
With this encouraging information, I set about filming a news report for our programme in the hope it could uncover those elusive Taylor-Hursts. I interviewed Debbie Bülau and went to Yeoman Hill Park in Mansfield Woodhouse where there is a First World War memorial bearing the name of Anthony's uncle William Taylor.
The report was broadcast on 23rd February and the result was more than I could ever have expected. That evening, ITV News Central received an email from a woman who had watched the programme and believed her husband Granville (aka Grant) Taylor was Anthony's nephew. Remarkably they live just a few minutes walk from where I'd filmed in Yeoman Hill Park.
This week we filmed with Grant and his three sisters Patricia, Rose and Suzanne (Anthony's nieces) and brought them face-to-face on a video call with Debbie Bülau who had been searching for them since November. Debbie was also able to see a photo of Anthony for the first time. It was a joyful moment.
The family now plan to travel to Germany for the dedication of Anthony's memorial. They have also agreed to give a DNA sample to see if they are a match for human remains found when villagers in Kutenholz unearthed parts of the tank in which their uncle died.
Anthony's living relatives always knew they had a war hero in their family. What they now know, though, is that strangers in a foreign land also see him that way - and that, they say, is deeply humbling.