Artist's family secret revealed after 40 years

A Bridlington man who has waited all his life to find out who his father is has finally got the answers he’d been looking for.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 4:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 5:00 pm

Peter Horsefield, of Bempton Drive, was born in Sheffield in 1945. His childhood, he says, was “a mixture of grey and horrible violence” due to the verbal and physical abuse he and his mother were subjected to at the hands of the man he thought was his father.

“I always got more beatings than my mother did and I realise now that it’s because I wasn’t his,” said Peter.

“There was always suspicion in the family because I was born seven months after they got married and he wasn’t around when my mum got pregnant because he was in Canada with the RAF.”

When Peter turned 19 he began travelling all around the world, doing various different jobs, from making musical instruments to working as a chef, to earn a living. This, he says, was something his father’s family never approved of and never fully understood.

After his return, at the age of 36, the local artist found out through a letter from his mother’s husband that his real father wasn’t him but rather an Australian soldier who came over to England during World War II. Despite feeling “utter relief” at the discovery, Peter spent nearly 40 years not knowing the identity of his real dad, something that was only revealed to him in the past few weeks.

“A few years ago I started hearing about these DNA tests that people were doing and they were coming up with all sorts of amazing discoveries about their past so six to seven weeks ago I took £90 out and did a test and after five weeks I got the results.”

The day after submitting the test, Peter was contacted by a second cousin of his from Australia who, after hearing his story, told him she “had a hunch” about who his father was.

Raymond Gavin Crisford, a member of a Mosquito fighter squadron in the Australian Air Force, met Peter’s mum Marjerie Horsefield in East Anglia before the end of the war. Sadly, he was shot down during an air operation over Germany on March 15 1945.

Peter explained: “At the time my mum was in the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) and during the last week of the war, morals went out the window so I’m not the only one in this position.

“A month after my father was killed my mother married a man she was engaged to and it turns out that my dad was also married to somebody else in England.

“They were both unloyal but at the time you couldn’t really blame them because they might not be alive the next day.”

After finding out about his past, Peter said he feels “blown away”. However, things have now started to make sense.

“I always got on really well with my mother’s side and my grandad was like a father to me but with the other side I never felt comfortable. I was always reminded of how different I was, it was obvious that there was something about me that was bothering them.

“Once I found out my mum’s husband wasn’t my father everything fell into place but there was still a huge hole in my sense of self and now I feel like it’s been filled.”

After chatting to his second cousin Vicki, Peter is now planning to visit Australia in the new year.