01/02/2018

Search for long lost army pal ends in sadness

A baker’s search for a Bristol army pal he had not seen for 60 years has ended in sadness.

Peter Mawer sent a Christmas card to “Somewhere near Bristol Zoo” looking for “Aky Akulina”. 

His story was published on the Bristol Zoo Gardens’ website and then appeared in the Bristol Post.

Retired Bristol sailor Terry Wootten read it and realised it was his cousin Michael “Aqui” Aqualina.

Michael was born in 1939, the same year as Peter, and when they were billeted just outside Bristol with the Army Catering Corps they became friends.

Like his dad, Michael worked for British Rail as a cleaner and shunter in the yards at St Philip’s Marsh in Bristol.

But sadly Michael, who had a sister, Margaret, and a younger brother, Roger,  developed Crohn’s disease and he died in 2009 aged 71.

Terry, a sailor for 26 years, said it was a great shame that Peter’s search for Michael had ended sadly.

But he said he was pleased to have been able to help identify him.

He explained that Michael’s grandad was Maltese which is where the surname Aqualina came from.

Terry, 78, said: “He was a tall man and he always talked very quickly. He looked old to me but I expect that’s because I was young.

“Curiously they said at his funeral that he was the inventor of the circular crossword.”

After hearing the news Peter, who established Mawer Family Bakery in Hull, said: “I am sorry to hear that he passed away.

“He had come into my mind quite a lot over the years. I just thought I would try to get in touch”

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