Reunited again after 70 years

A Newtongrange woman was reunited with the boy she looked after over 70 years ago, just before she passed away recently.

Margaret Peacock (nee Gardiner) was about 15 years old when she arrived at Mugdrum House in Newburgh, Fife around 1940. She gained employment with an army captain and his family at Mugdrum House, looking after ‘Master Robin’ and forming a very close bond.

She returned to Edinburgh and joined the Land Army as a teenager, when she met her husband, late local councillor for Bonnyrigg and long-time manager of Easthouses Boys’ Club- Joe Peacock, whilst he was a soldier on exercise in the Borders. Margaret married Joe and moved to Newtongrange, where she resided ever since.

A black and white photograph (above right) resurfaced several times over the years and Margaret spoke fondly of ‘Master Robin’ describing him as “a wee Winston Churchill” and wondering what had happened to him. The photograph was rediscovered a few years ago whilst her son, Joe Peacock, was researching his Great Grandfather’s military involvement. So Joe’s challenge for the last year or so was to try and trace Robin.

He said of his search: “I can’t stress how important it was, I wanted to find Robin for my mum before it was to late.”

Internet searches revealed a Robin Melville b1938 was the child in the photo, a former RAF pilot and latterly a Court of Session Lawyer before moving to England on remarriage. But the trail dried up at 2003 when he last resided in Wiltshire.

So Joe emailed a local paper there who printed his letter ‘In Search of Robin’, and this resulted in tracing Robin who was now living in Lochearnhead back in Scotland.

He was only to happy to meet up again with Margaret and on August 6, over 70 years apart, they had a very happy reunion at Margaret’s home in Newtongrange.

Joe added: “We didn’t tell her right away once we tracked Robin down. We met him first in July, then drove straight down to Newtongrange to tell her.

“We arranged for him to come down to her Suttieslea Drive home in August.

“She was desperate to meet him, she used to go on about him a lot. She had got on so well with him all those years ago.

“They spoke for about an hour and half to two hours and they had a nice time meeting up again.”

Sadly, on September 28 at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after a short illness, Margaret passed away peacefully aged 87. Her long-awaited reunion with ‘Master Robin’ having taken place just in time.

Robin had hoped to see her again and was at the funeral to say his goodbyes, but remains in touch with Joe and hopes to meet up again with the family soon.

“It was a miracle she survived so long,” added Joe.

“She went into hospital in January with double pneumonia and disease of the lungs, we all thought she was gone, but she made a recovery.

“We are glad they met in time, he is a very nice, politely spoken man.”

Margaret is survived by five children and their respective families.