My dad John and his cousin Paschal lost contact with Paschals older brother Noel in 1962, he was aged 23 and they just 6 & 18. Although cousins my dad, Noel & Paschal were more like brothers. The boys came to live with my dad as young children after both their parents died within a year of each other. As Noel worked as a Radio Officer on the BP Oil Tankers, he was always away for periods of time, so the boys felt nothing different when he left on this occasion. They didn’t realise that they would never see him again. There were no postcards from far flung shores, as had previously come from each new country Noel anchored in. No word at all. Time passed and everyone moved on with their lives. “Uncle Paschal” went to live in England. My dad stayed in Ireland and had his family. Years passed, Paschal eventually moved back to Ireland. He and dad decided to try to find out what had happened to Noel. They contacted all the agencies they knew of for help including BP Oil Companies, The Salvation Army etc, even a TV programme that specialised in finding family members. They received no replies, except from BP Oils stating that all employee files were confidential. Each road taken was a dead end.

Then in 2016 I told my dad that I would help in the search and came across this organisation. We had little information to give them, just Noels birth name (as Noel was a nick name), his date of birth, the fact he worked in BP Oils as a Radio Officer and 1 old photo of him with his football team.

The Reunited team got on the search and everything seemed to move at a fair pace. Within a few months they advised of a possible lead. Then after another short while they confirmed that they had found Noel. Unfortunately the news was not quite what we’d hoped for, as Noel had passed away in 2007. Although the boys could never be reunited they did find out about Noels life, his hobbies etc and were delighted when his good friends forwarded on a recent photo and copies of Noels passport and Australian citizenship papers.  Some of his old shipmates recalled great stories of their time together for us and although it was sad for dad and Paschal, they finally had an answer to their question and could fill in the missing pieces.

By Karen O’Brien Hynes

John Christopher O'Brien & Team Tolka Park

Noel (Front Row 2nd from left)


As an only child growing up in working class 1970’s Scotland things were tough, with no father on the scene it was that bit tougher. Mum didn’t talk about a chapter of her life that didn’t work out. I grew up with snippets of information.. dad was an American…..mum had BEEN to America!!   I was BORN in America.

It all sounded very exciting, but the reality was I grew up in a one parent family thousands of miles away from a father I never knew, with a burning desire to confront him, even though it should have been obvious he didn’t care. Not one letter or enquiry proved that much.

Fast forward to 1988 when I went to the US in search of the long lost Da.. Turns out he had died in 1980, he had been married 4 times and had fathered 4 (known) children.. of which I was the 4th!!  Wow, I had MORE family.

I have to say, many people throughout my life have heard my story and have declared they would find my siblings but with no success and the years were now flying past. However a chance conversation led me to a member of the Reunited Team. Amazingly their determination, doggedness and hard work brought me the news that they had found my half brother Earl but sadly, our 2 half sisters had both passed away in childhood. The amount of information I suddenly knew was mind blowing. Earl and I are now in regular contact and hope to visit with each other in the not too distant future. I can never thank these guys enough or recommend them highly enough for what they have given me.