Brandon, Suffolk, has always been a strategically important point in East Anglia. Since the time of the Vikings coming up the river to the addition of the railway in the 19th century, Brandon has offered links from the fens into East Anglia. During WW1 the railways station saw men and equipment pile into, and out of, the town. Brandon lads went off to war and their letters home give an insight into how they fared. Back home in Brandon the residents endured hardship but through it all kept going. When the men returned home to a "land fit for heroes" they found it was far from that. In fact their frustrations led to the Brandon riot of 1919. When the Second World War was declared Brandon people said "I hope its not as bad as the other one" and this is apparent in the interviews with those who lived through that time. Again Brandon lads went off to war but back home there was the Black Out, Home Guard, troops billeted in and around the town and rationing. But Brandon had already seen all this in the 'Great War' ...


The ‘Great War’, or more commonly known as the First World War. Lives and deaths of Brandon lads in the fighting, including excerpts from their letters. Details of Brandon families in the town, men arguing against being called up, court cases against those accused of breaking the blackout, Volunteer Training Corps, what was happening in Brandon every month of the year and a whole lot more!


Second World War. Brandon’s Home Guard including its secret guerilla army – the Auxiliary Unit, plus details of our lads fighting in the war. Going to the movies at the Avenue cinema, rationing, court cases, blackout. Transcripts of interviews with Brandon residents who lived through the war, including first hand eye witness accounts of when the school was machine-gunned by a German bomber, plus lots more!


Korean War. This is the latest addition to ‘Brandon at War’. Brandon’s war memorial lists the name of one Brandon lad who was killed in this conflict. There are also others who served in the forces or lived in the town, during those years. This project is still very much in its infancy, and the race is on to record their memories.


Over the years I have accumulated much research of the town during wartime. If you are interested in some booklets that I have printed about that research then this page has them all. “1914-1918, The Men On Brandon’s War Memorial” (2014), “Brandon at War – Memories of the Second World War” (2015), “1919 Brandon Riot – When Gentle Was Not So Gentle” (2016)


... and my love of Brandon's social history.

eing Brandon born and bred I have always had an interest in the town's heritage, especially its social history. In 2001 I began researching Brandon during the Second World War, thinking it would be a project to see me through the summer. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of that research was chatting to Brandon people who lived in the town. Their accounts gave me a real insight and fuelled my interest. As the website took form people from far and wide added their own accounts, some serving in the Forces during war. My interest then turned toward Brandon during the First World War, this research has held my interest over the past few years and researching the social changes during that time has been a real eye opener! Over the past three years I have been forunate enough to get some of my research into print with proceeds benefitting charity. This 'summer project' continues to take me on a journey of discovery, with me eyeing my next projects - researching Brandon during the fifties and cataloguing old photographs of Brandon, Suffolk. I hope you enjoy my website. Darren Norton

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