Leicestershire man’s ‘shot in the dark’ search for Irish father

By David Hennessy

Chris Hall, a 67 year old man from Leicestershire is looking for his Irish father.

All Chris knows of his father is that he was Irish and was in Coalville, Leicestershire in 1954.

When Chris’ mother Phyllis Mary Wilks, who was known as Mary, told his father that she was pregnant, he returned to Ireland and never made contact again.

‘Mary’ raised Chris and would later marry another man and have more children.

Chris says he was not alarmed to learn the man he thought was his father was his stepdad as he was only a child.

But since his mother passed 20 years ago, he has started to search for his birth father to find some answers about where he came from.

Chris told The Irish World: “It’s difficult because that’s all I know about him.

“When she told him she were pregnant- she’d be about 17- He went back to Ireland.

“I don’t know whether his parents sent him back or he was old enough to go back on his own.

“I don’t even know if he’s still in Ireland or whatever.”

Chris resolved to try and find out who his father was in the last five or six years.

“It was suggested that I find him.

“I contacted the newspaper (Irish Times) in Ireland, I contacted the radio, I contacted the television. I asked my bishop if he would go and have a look.

 

“I’m a bit conflicted because he left when she needed him, so he couldn’t have been a very good father.

“I don’t know the situation with him at the time but also, he’d be in his 70s or 80s. He could have a family of his own.

“I don’t want to barge in saying, ‘Hello dad, I’m your son’.

“I’d like to know who he is.

“I’ve got a stepdad and I thought he was my real dad. She told me that he wasn’t when I was about 12.

“And being a kid, it didn’t really bother me.

“But now over the past few years, I’ve been thinking about finding him.

“In a couple of years’ time I’ll be 70.

“It’s just a shot in the dark.

“He would be in his mid to late 80s, my guess.

“I’d like to ask him, what went wrong? Why did he go?

“At that time it was a bit taboo that you got somebody pregnant.

“You either stay or you run. He ran.”

“He may have passed away but he could have some family that recognise something.”

Chris’ mother Phyllis ‘Mary’ Wilks lived in Leicestershire all her life.

Chris was born on 7 December 1954.

From school, Chris would join the British Army and be sent to Northern Ireland on two occasions, Derry in ’73 and Belfast in ’75.

He came out of the army at the age of 21 and since then has worked in security, mining and factory work.

He moved to London from Leicestershire in 2011.

Now semi- retired, he now teaches carpentry.

“I don’t know his story, I don’t know how old he was.

“If he was the same age, 17. He was probably working.

“I like to solve puzzles. And this is the biggest.”

If anyone thinks they have any information, they can contact Chris on christopherhall324@gmail.com or call 07931443951.