A FORMER German prisoner of war is searching for a kind Wirral family he befriended more than 50 years ago.
Eighty-nine-year-old Bernhard Focks was captured in World War II and was held in Crosby between 1946 to 1947. While staying here he got to know the Lillia family from Bebington.
On Christmas Day prisoners were allowed out to attend church, and families invited each one back for Christmas dinner, which is how Bernhard met the Lillia family and their friendship grew.
The father was Norman Lillia, his daughter was called Ailene and she was born around 1923.
The family’s last known address was at 5 Arnot Way in Bebington. A letter was sent in 1988, but was returned to sender.
On behalf of Bernhard, his daughter Wiltrud Focks got in touch with Bebington Family History Group to try and track the family down. Now the Wirral News have been asked to help.
Wiltrud said: “I hope readers will be able to help me find out something of Ailene Lillia and her family as they treated my father so extraordinary well.
“He is still full of words of appreciation and affection for them.
“Unfortunately he lost contact. I wrote a letter to the address in 1988 but it was returned to me as unknown.
“I believe Ailene married Dennis Moore and moved. Maybe she isn’t alive any more.
“But my father would like to find out what became of her and her family.”
From May 1943 to February 1946, Bernhard was a prisoner of war (POW) in America. He was then shipped to England where he arrived in Liverpool in March 1946.
In August 1947 he boarded a ship and returned to Germany from Leicester.
Leader of the history group, Bob Wright, added: “Wiltrud contacted me with this moving letter to help search for the family.
“I did look in the phone book but couldn’t find anyone with the name ‘Lillia’ .
“I carried out some research on Ailene and have found that she had married a Dennis Moore in 1956. But as Moore is quite a common name it would be impracticable to try them all in the phone book.
“It would be great news to be able to give Wiltrud more information on what became of the Lillia family. I do hope that readers will know something and can help.”
If anyone has any information and can help trace the Lillia family, contact Bob on 334 6345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org