A brother and sister from Ireland are appealing to Three Towns residents to help them solve a family mystery.

Brendan Parkes and Joan Brennan visited Ardrossan last week after finding out their paternal grandfather James Parkes is buried in the cemetery at Sorbie Road.

The siblings from Athlone, along with their spouses Mary and Michael, visited local libraries during their short stay to try and trace what happened to James.

They know that James, who came from Belfast, was on a ship called the HMS Perth before he died in 1915. Somehow, he came to be buried in Ardrossan, but no one in the family knows why.

Even more puzzling, James’ grave, which lists his profession as ‘fireman’, appears to have been visited, leading the siblings to wonder if they have any relatives in Ayrshire.

Brendan said: “His wife and children were at home in Belfast. Did he come over here with the intention to bring his wife and children over? Did he have to enlist? We don’t know.

“He’s got MMR after his name and we don’t know what that is.”

Joan added: “It was great we found a grave that had a headstone.

“We’ve got a lot of unanswered questions we would love to have answered, like is there any other family there?”

Brendan and Joan wish to thank the young woman who overheard their conversation on the train from Glasgow to Ardrossan and helped them find the cemetery.

Joan added: “A young girl – she was only 17 – overheard us talking about the grave and said, ‘come on, I’ll show you’. That was very kind of her.”

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