Hollywood star Jane Russell's son back in Londonderry

Jane Russell on the set of the Outlaw
Image caption Russell married three times and adopted three children

The adopted son of the former Hollywood star, Jane Russell, has visited Londonderry to be presented with his biological mother's birth certificate.

Thomas Waterfield was back in the city for the first time in almost 60 years.

His biological mother, Hannah Kavanagh, gave him up for adoption after leaving Springtown camp in Derry to live in London.

Mr Waterfield described the visit as "overwhelming".

He said life after his adoption in 1951 was "blessed", with a mother who was not only very famous, but also very grounded.

"There was never a dull moment, that's for sure," he said.

"As children, mom would take us down to the studio.

Wooden huts

"We'd run around and meet all the people and see all the props. It was kind of like a Disneyland."

Jane Russell was one of the most popular Hollywood sex symbols of the 1940s and 50s and spent her life campaigning on behalf of families trying to adopt.

Springtown camp, now known as Springtown industrial estate, was an American navy base during the Second World War.

It was a collection of tin and wooden huts, which, after the Americans left, was squatted in by a number of families who at that time had been living with their parents and in extremely cramped conditions.

Willie Deery, author of Springtown Camp From the Inside, grew up in the camp.

He said it was "thousands of miles" from the Hollywood lifestyle.

"Back then it was harsh, but happy. We had very little, but again, we had everything," he said.

Thomas Waterfield said that he would treasure the memories of his visit to Derry.

"I have lots of memories of my son coming over and meeting his biological family, and reading about the history and the struggles over the generations," he said.

"That's what I'd like to take home."

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