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We also have comments from some of the family of the air crew - click here to view them.
Craig : Thanks for getting back to me. Please feel free to add my comments to the guest page. It's nice to read the diary and hear Floyd referred to as Brownie. It is somehow comforting to know that he had some pals while he was there. It was nice to hear about them meeting up for a few drinks before the Canadians came home although I'm sure they were trying to erase some memories.
My son is a public school teacher here and teaches children aged ten and eleven. Every year on remembrance day he takes Floyd's photo and prisoner of war documents to class and teaches them about his grandfather. Jeff now will use some of the information from the diary to give them further understanding
Thanks again for all the work you have done to tell the story. If you ever come across anymore info on Floyd were would greatly appreciate it.
I just happened to find your information on the computer by chance. My father-in-law was Floyd Mervyn Brown who is one of the prisoners listed in your article. Floyd died 18 years ago and was a very good family man. He never spoke of his war experiences but it was obvious that he had experienced some very rough times. Floyd always thought of his family first never wanting for things himself. The information you provided in the article was very helpful to my wife and the rest of the family. Hearing some of the experiences he would have gone through helped us to understand Floyd much better. I always had a great deal of respect for Floyd but the information you provided made me respect the man he was even more. We are still living in Canada. Floyds family all stayed and grew up in London . Thanks for everything.
Many thanks for creating the website commemorating your father’s experiences in World War II. I googled your father’s name today while working on my account of my own parents’ experiences during the war. I didn’t really expect to find anything and was thrilled to find your father’s account, which I’ve read with great interest and admiration. Both my parents were from Beamish, and both lost their homes there during a bombing raid in1942. They renovated Russell House, next door to The Poplars, in the early 1970s. I’d wondered about the terrible forced march endured by your father after hearing about it from my mother, Audrey Lumley, and recording it in the extract below:
In January 1943 Audrey was sent to Sparsholt, a former agricultural college for young men which was now used by the Women’s Land Army The college was six miles from Winchester and, during her month there, Audrey met up with David Scott, a boy from Beamish. David’s father was undermanager at one of the Beamish collieries, and the family lived at the Poplars, next door to Russell House. Audrey was having a coffee one evening at the YMCA in Winchester with a group of fellow students when she looked up and, to her amazement, saw David walking towards her. He was equally astounded to see her. They met up a couple of times more – on one occasion for reconstituted eggs in a café – before Audrey was posted to Buckholt Farm near Salisbury. For a while they kept in touch by letter. David was in the RAF, and became a flight engineer in a bomber crew, the rest of the crew being Canadians. His plane was shot down, and only David survived. He was taken prisoner. When Audrey saw him after the war, he didn’t tell her that he was one of the many prisoners who had had to undergo a forced march in terrible conditions in the final stages of the conflict. It was his mother who told Audrey’s Auntie Lyn about it.
My Mum (still alive, aged 92) worked on Hunts’ farm at Buckholt until the war was almost over. Unfortunately, none of David’s letters to her have survived. Mum’s Auntie Lyn was Evelyn Lumley, who owned the bakery in Beamish with her sister Florrie. They made wonderful cakes, and I’m sure your father and grandfather would have enjoyed them over the years! I grew up in Beamish, in a house overlooking the bombsite. My father, George Draper, was the same age as David, and served in the Royal Navy (DEMS) from 1941. I’ve found it fascinating to trace his travels and very moving to read the few letters that have survived. Fortunately my father took photos, which add so much more to the story.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Beamish. I acquired the attached photos from the Beamish Museum archive – from my Mum’s account, your father’s home is the porched building on the LHS in the first photo. My connections with Beamish go back a long way, so this has been the focus of a large chunk of my family history. I’ve attached two photos of Beamish Station, as both your father and grandfather would have seen many comings and goings there. The third photo dates back to the early 1900s when my great grandfather, Robert Lumley, was stationmaster there (from 1903 to his death in 1910) – and I think the portly figure at the centre of the photo may well be him. David must have been so traumatised by his terrible experiences, and I wonder how much my Mum was aware of this. I expect a great deal was unacknowledged at the time as so many had had shattering experiences. My Mum talked about the war all through my childhood – as well as the losses of the bombing, she also lost her eldest brother at sea – and this must have provided some sort of therapy.
With best wishes
What a remarkable story...just incredible. And of course, utterly tragic..he lost all of his crew.
Thank you for sharing what must have been an intimate and private portrait of your Dad. He was typical of his generation and while it took the horrors of a World War for them to shine, they did so brightly...I'm going to read more of this over the weekend.
Take care and thanks once again.
I saw your ad in the Airdrie Echo (Alberta, Canada) and thought I would check out your websiste. I'm always interested in hearing about what soldiers go through - good, bad & everything in between - and I'm so glad I checked your site. It was really interesting. Your Dad sounds like he was a terrific and interesting man.
Stumbled on your site via the Nanton Lancaster Society page that is only about an hour from where I live.
I will have to read this AFTER work but so far it is an impressive site. Very clear, interesting and well laid out. Will get up early Saturday morning, put on a pot of coffee and read the diary before the house wakes up!
hi craig im not computer friendly but that was brill reading on a subject i am really interested in. well done!!! neil sandars [ians bro]
Very nice work and extremely interesting to read. Best regards from Germany, Martin
Thank you Craig for this tribute to David and his courage throughout his life. He was a real hero to both you and me, and it is pleasant to know that he will be remembered in this way.
Best Wishes, Susan.