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Page updated - 06 December 2005

 

Gerald Browne

 

Gerald Stanley Edmund Browne was born in December 1918 at Herne Hill in London. At the age of six he moved to Clapham where he spent the rest of his childhood. On leaving school Gerald had a job with H & M Rayne of Bond Street, a shoe shop that made handmade shoes for the rich and famous including the late Queen Mary. It was Gerald’s job to carry the boxes in a taxi to Buckingham Palace and wait in the servants quarters whilst a lady assistant was ushered into the royal presence to do the fitting.

 

At the age of twenty he joined the Army in May 1939 at the Artillery Barracks, Woolwich and his twelve-year army career began. At the outbreak of war he was sent to France where he was one of the fortunate to be rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk in June 1940, evacuated by one of the little ships which crossed the Channel to rescue as many troops as possible.  Gerald was also on Sword Beach at 7.30am at the start of the D Day landings on the 6th June 1944. The Korean War was the next time he was on active service.

Gerald's Medals

(For description, see Note below)

Gerald and his wife Marjorie, who celebrated 60 years of married life this year, met when he was unlucky enough to have a lorry run over his foot. Marjorie was a nurse at Burntwood Hospital, near Lichfield, who helped his recovery, and they have been looking after each other ever since. The couple have three children and eight grandchildren, one daughter in Barnsley, a son in New Zealand and another daughter in Great Cornard, which is why they moved here in 1982.

 

After his army service Gerald took a Carpentry and Joinery Course at Wolverhampton before working in the building trade, then he got a job at the Ordnance Factory in Donnington, Shropshire where he remained for ten years. It was the skill he learned here which enabled him to make several pieces of pretty occasional furniture that grace his lounge to this day.

 

On leaving Donnington he became an Insurance Agent, gradually working his way up to Assistant Manager and then Manager.  He stayed in this employment for twenty years and took early retirement in 1980. Gerald and Marjorie have travelled many miles touring with their own caravan.  They saw the Allied War Graves at Arnhem on their first trip and have been to Portugal, Spain, France and Belgium since then.

 

There can be no doubt Gerald has witnessed many sights in his life which, thankfully, the rest of us have been spared and this is probably what has made him the charming and unassuming gentleman he is.  Our lives today are what they are because of men like him.  Thank-you Gerald.

 

Interview by Doris Rowland (Cornard News) – 04 Nov 2005

Note:

Top row (6) from left

1939-45 Star / France & Germany Star / Defence Medal / Victory Medal / Korean War Medal / United Nations Medal

 

Bottom row (2) from left

Dunkirk Medal (France) / Belgium Medal

 

Background - Jacket

Dunkirk Veterans Association