Christina Van Heflin was a prostitute’s child that I nearly adopted. Margo was her mum; her father was a Dutch sailor. This Mary used to look after her while Margo was out prostituting. She went to prison because she was full of Venereal disease. They reckon the whole of the Canadian camp had it by the time she’d finished!

Christina was on the pub (Scottish Stores) doorstep one day and I was married then and I took her up to the kitchen with me. A ladies vest was cut down the middle and pinned together with a safety pin; her hair was full of nits and fleas. My mum used to have a brown paper bag on her lap and comb through her hair. You didn’t have Social Services or anything like that. After that she didn’t want to go home with Mary or Margo and then I said shall we try to adopt her and then I fell for Joyce and that was it. My Mum’s sisters turned me off and said being what her mother is, she might have it in her blood and she might entice my kids into prostitution like her mother. We decided that we wouldn’t take the risk.

We knew this Christine, who was in the ATS, and she took young Christina to Stoke-on-Trent and her mother and father adopted her. She was 3 and a half. If I hadn’t had your mum I would have adopted her. She would be about 67 now.

ATS was the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War.

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