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The Great War, also known as the First World War, saw many Brandon lads leave town to go and fight the enemy, some were career soldiers who saw action immediately, some volunteered as patriotic fervour swept the nation at the outbreak of war, while conscription compelled others to go later. Those who remained in town faced an uncertain future with a lack of manpower to staff the saw mills, farms and factories. Toward the later stages of the war starvation and disease threatened their very existence. In this archive you can read about the experiences of those men killed in the fighting and who are listed on the town’s war memorial. You can also read about the experiences of those in town.
At the outbreak of war, on 3rd September 1939, one local was overheard saying, “Well, I hope its not as bad as the last one!”. While it is true that Brandon lads were less in the firing line than those in the Great War, mainly on account of Britain being pushed out of Europe within a year of war, the lads nonetheless featured in every theatre of war, from Europe, to Africa, to Asia; and in the skies, on the seas and on land. However, with the enemy possessing more modern weapons, Brandon found itself a target of enemy action on more than one occasion. Brandon also saw an influx of visitors, from soldiers training in the area, some billeted with residents, to children evacuated from London.
Korean War (1950-53)
The Korean War erupted just a few years after the end of the Second World War, at a time when Brandon lads were automatically enlisted into National Service. Sent to the other side of the world, they were often young and inexperienced in what was to come. Today the war is largely forgotten and so it is right that I remember their stories here. One of the lads never came home and his name was belatedly added to Brandon’s war memorial in the 1990s.
Although this tragic tale is not related to Brandon, it occurred just a few miles away and cropped up in the early stages of my research, leading me to correspond with the evacuee’s family and visits to the National Archive to find out more stories. I even laid flowers at the London cemetery where she is buried. This site is dedicated to the memory of six year old Patricia Cupit.