Those siblings have been apart from one another for more than 80 YEARS… But then, something extraordinary happened!

So many families have been shattered by the World Wars. These tragic tales include one by Bill Stewart and Beryl Johnson. After being torn apart for eighty years, the siblings have finally been reunited.

After the SS Iron Crown was attacked in June 1942, some 100 kilometers off Victoria’s southern coast, during the Second World War, Bill Stewart and Beryl Johnson found themselves unexpectedly orphans.

38 people on board perished in the shipwreck. “I had lost both my parents, which was shocking. Bill Stewart remembers the occasion, “I was 11 years old at the time.

The kids were already in an orphanage because their mother had previously passed away, and their father was at sea. When the kid’s father’s passing was confirmed, they were declared orphans, and Bill was placed in an Adelaide boys home while his sister was adopted.

Since no information about the other had been shared, it was thought that orphans should make a “clean break” from any surviving family members, including siblings.

Bill Stewart, 91, still feels sad when he remembers saying farewell. The two of us embraced one another and sobbed uncontrollably. I never saw Beryl again after being instructed to leave the room, the man claims.

Her brother had relocated to Sydney to start over while Beryl stayed in Adelaide.
But he never lost sight of her.

“The two of us were searching for each other but the orphanage was of no assistance. Every year, I would return to Adelaide in search of Beryl.

Beryl had similar problems.

Years of searching failed to yield any information regarding Bill’s whereabouts or whereabouts. In my head, I always imagined one day we would find one another, but I gave up and started to think maybe he’s dead,” Beryl said.

But all changed in April 2019 when the SS Iron Crown’s wreckage was discovered by the Hobart-based CSIRO research vessel Investigator. For the family members of the 38 passengers who had perished on board, a memorial service was held.

According to Emily Jateff from the Australian National Maritime Museum, “more than 50 members of the Iron Crown’s crew attended the memorial ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Merchant Navy Day.”

Kylie Watson, a distant relative of Bill’s who had gone to the memorial, was put in touch with him. Watson was also a novice at finding missing family members. She started hunting for Beryl right away, even looking through old newspaper clippings for any signs of her.

She had concluded from all of her investigation that Beryl was still in Adelaide. So they published notices in the neighborhood papers requesting that anyone who may know Beryl Johnson, formerly known as Beryl Stewart, come forward.

The same Sunday, my grandchild informed me that she had excellent news about Beryl: she was alive and would contact me in ten minutes.

Beryl recounted, “I cried when I heard Billy was alive.” “I never expected to hear that voice again; it was incredible. My life, which used to be filled with need and wanting, has suddenly returned, she said.

Last year, Bill finally made it to Adelaide to see his sister. However, they have been calling each other every day since they were reunited.

When they first met, Beryl recalled, “I couldn’t get into Bill’s arms fast enough; we just hugged one another and couldn’t let each other go.” She continued, “I love him very much, and it’s been a miracle to me that we rediscovered one another after almost 80 years.

Later, Bill recalled how, upon finally meeting his little sister, he took her in his arms, sobbed a little, and promised her, “No one’s taking you from me again.

Both of the siblings are currently rediscovering a new purpose in life. Beryl stated, “I just don’t want it to ever end now that Bill is back in my life. Every day at eight in the morning, they make sure to phone one another, and they also arrange to spend significant holidays like Christmas together.

As long as we are able, I hope we can stay in love and support of one another, Beryl stated.

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