Sunday, December 02, 2018

Three children went missing in Paddington in 1965

Embed from Getty Images

A striking photograph, particularly when you read the caption:
24th May 1965: Two boys watching constable Jim Green skin diving in the Grand Union Canal during a search for three missing children.
A bit of googling reveals the story behind this image and that it had a happy ending.

An article on Independent R's - a Queen's Park Rangers fan site - reveals who the children were:
As a child at the time, I remember my parents and other adults talking about the children that had gone missing. A six-year-old boy, Michael Leigh, Juliana Adebona a seven-year-old and her three-year-old brother David from Errington Road, had simply disappeared while playing out in the street. 
In those days it wasn’t unusual for very young children to be outside the house alone. The local streets and bombsites were our playground and the older children kept an eye on the younger ones. 
As the days went by there were all sorts of rumours about the missing children, and few thought that they would be found alive.
But they were:
On the south side of Warlock Road, (W9), there was a row of 4/5 houses that were slums, but had recently been refurbished by the Council. The houses were ready for occupation, but had stood empty for a few weeks. 
A man walking past the houses thought he had heard a noise, so he opened the gate of one of the houses and went into the yard. He looked at a row of rubbish bunkers and heard a noise from inside one of them. He opened the door and discovered the three children inside, barely alive, but alive. ... 
The houses were empty. The bunker door could only be opened from the outside. I think the children had crawled into one of the bunkers and the door had shut behind them. The police assumed that the houses had been searched, when in fact they hadn't. 
In his book, ‘Nipper’ Read, who arrested the Krays, said that he was involved in the search for the children. As a result, he insisted that in any further police searches, buildings that had been searched should be clearly marked with chalk.

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