Sunday 23 September 2018

'We received word he may still be alive' - Family's appeal to find missing Irishman after 41 years

Kevin Williams at 27. Credit: David Williams
Kevin Williams at 27. Credit: David Williams
Family photograph of a young Kevin. Credit: David Williams

Sasha Brady

The family of a Wexford man who has been missing for 41 years have issued a renewed appeal for information on his whereabouts after they received word that he may still be alive.

Kevin Williams last made contact with his family in 1976 through a postcard he sent from Sudan. The postcard arrived in Ireland on September 1 and informed the family that Kevin hoped to be in London "within six weeks".

The Williams family never heard from Kevin again.

According to Kevin's nephew, David Williams, the family discovered that he was "alive and living in London in the early to mid-2000s".

However, they have been unable to locate him or confirm whether he is still alive today.

Kevin was born in Taghmon, Co Wexford, on March 24, 1946. He was the fourth eldest in a family of five. His parents, Tommy and Mary Ellen Williams, ran a bakery and grocery shop on the main street.

Family photograph of a young Kevin. Credit: David Williams
Family photograph of a young Kevin. Credit: David Williams

He has three brothers, Dominic, Tom and Brian, and a sister, Ann. Tom passed away in August 2012, but his remaining siblings are still alive and living in Wexford.

According to the family, Kevin moved to Dublin when he finished secondary school and then relocated to London in early to mid-1966 where he applied to join the British Merchant Navy and served on the 'SS Oriana' on two round-the-world trips from August 1966 to January 1967.

"After he came back from sea, Kevin returned to London and lived and worked in the city for the next eight years," said David.

"He maintained contact with his family throughout this time, visited home, and was visited in London by members of his family."

Kevin last visited Ireland for his mother's funeral in early 1975 and later that year went travelling again.

It's understood that Kevin left London in September 1975 and hitched through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran before settling in Afghanistan for one month.

Kevin Williams at 27. Credit: David Williams
Kevin Williams at 27. Credit: David Williams

After Afghanistan he travelled to Pakistan by public transport where he stayed for three weeks and then travelled to India.

Through letters sent to his brothers, the family discovered that Kevin landed a job as a deck hand on a Greek-Cypriot ship headed for the Suez with a stopover in Sudan.

It was during this stopover in Sudan that Kevin sent his final postcard to his family.

The Williams remain hopeful that Kevin is still alive. He will be 72 this year.

David was born in November 1976, shortly after his uncle last made contact with his family, has no personal memories of Kevin but grew up with fond stories about his uncle. The family recall Kevin as a "kind and considerate person".

"They would dearly love to see him again. For a long time, we all assumed that Kevin was dead. To find out he was still alive in the 2000s, and is possibly still alive today, came as a major shock to the family, and especially to his surviving siblings," he said.

"I know that they would all desperately like to hear from him. Even if he reached out to confirm that he was alive, well and at peace, that would be of considerable comfort."

The Williams family are appealing for anyone with "genuine" information to come forward.

Those with information on Kevin Williams, can contact his nephew David at dave.williams76@yahoo.ie or visit here.

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