Real Name: James "Jimmy" White
Case: Lost Father
Location: Alconbury, England
Details: Forty-three-year-old Northampton dress shop manager Janet Parker O'Regan is searching for her father, James "Jimmy" White, who was an American soldier stationed in Great Britain during World War II. Janet is one of the more than 10,000 "war babies" from World War II; they are British children fathered by American soldiers. During the war, Janet's mother, Rosa Parker, worked at a military base. Her job was to change American dollars to pounds for the GIs. She was engaged to marry a British captain. Then, she met Jimmy, a technical sergeant for the Army Air Corps. He asked her to help spend the money she had just changed for him.
The two began a relationship, often going out for walks and to dances. After a few weeks, Rosa broke off her engagement to the British captain. She was unaware that Jimmy was married. However, this was apparently common with American soldiers. They tried to "live a lifetime" in a few short weeks, since they feared being killed in action and never being able to enjoy life again.
About a year-and-a-half after Rosa met Jimmy, she discovered that she was pregnant with his child. She then learned from a friend that he had a wife and baby daughter in the United States. Rosa was devastated and she decided to stop seeing him. She never fell in love or married again. Janet was born on June 17, 1944. Jimmy went back to the United States after the war ended in 1945.
While growing up, Janet was told by Rosa that Jimmy had been killed during the war; Rosa did this because she was ashamed of his other family. However, when Janet developed breast cancer in 1984, she decided to tell her that Jimmy did not die in the war. After learning the truth, Janet began her search. She uncovered her birth certificate and learned of her father's name. However, when she tried to access military records on him, the government refused her request.
Heir hunter Josh Butler helped in Janet's search for her father. He had a few clues to work on: Jimmy was in the Army Air Corps, stationed at Alconbury; his father had been an Episcopal priest in the United States; he was born in 1917 and came from the Northeastern United States. Josh searched through records from the Episcopal church but was unable to locate Jimmy White. He then discovered a photograph in Life Magazine, showing a soldier named "James White". The photograph, taken in 1943, showed the soldiers from Alconbury. Rosa looked at the photograph and was certain that it was not Jimmy. However, Janet wonders if her mother is telling the truth about it.
Since her cancer diagnosis, Janet felt she had two goals to accomplish: beat the cancer and find her father. Fortunately, she has since beaten the cancer. Now, she wants to complete her other goal of locating her father. Janet wrote a letter addressed to her father's family, which stated: I do not want anything financial or material from you. If you have nothing, then you can come here and I can take care of you. I don't want to hurt you. If you don't want to have contact with me, just send a photograph, and I won't pester you again. It's not having anything at all that hurts.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the November 9, 1988 episode.
Due to the controversy surrounding the affair, Janet's case was never re-aired and excluded from Amazon Prime episodes.
Results: Solved. Janet's father and his other children were located as a result of the broadcast. However, his children were upset because their father's wartime affair had been shown on national television. They then threatened to sue NBC because of the reveal. It is not known whether Janet was reunited with her father or his family, but based on their reaction it seems unlikely.
- English war babies search for American fathers - April 9, 1987
- War babies on quest to find fathers - April 12, 1987
- Aging English 'war babies' intensify search for fathers - April 12, 1987
- Britons Search For GI Fathers - May 21, 1987
- When no heirs are apparent - November 17, 2002
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Janet O'Regan