A DUNKIRK veteran who recorded the story of his bravery for his family will be remembered with a guard of honour at his funeral.
Gerald Browne, known to his friends as Gerry, died peacefully at his home in Broom Street in Great Cornard earlier this month. He was 93.
His account of the Second World War, handwritten for his family, tells the story of how he served in the Royal Artillery as a Lance Corporal and fought German troops through Belgium before seeing action during the famous evacuations of Dunkirk.
“It is quite poignant – it makes me realise that I was one of the lucky ones as my dad came back,” said his daughter Lynda Lunn, who lives in Oak Road in Great Cornard. “So many didn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t have been here.”
Mr Browne’s story tells how on May 10, 1940, he awoke to hear “heavy firing from AKK guns and it was all systems go”.
He describes in detail the dive-bomb attacks and confusion of fighting at night, before his return journey under fire to Dunkirk, where he waited for two days to be evacuated by boat.
“One ship took a direct hit down the funnel, then there was a massive explosion in the bowels of the ship,” he wrote.
Speaking about the account, Mrs Lunn said: “It really shows what they went through. “When you read it in his handwriting, it brings it all home.”
Mr Browne arrived safely back in England but returned to action two days later. He also fought in France on D-Day in 1944, but was injured approaching a gun position.
During his recovery in Burntwood Hospital, he met Marjorie, who he was later married to for 66 years until her death in October.
The couple had three children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They moved to Great Cornard in 1982 after Mr Browne also served three years in the Korean War from 1950.
“He was a jokey sort of chap,” said Mrs Lunn. “He always had a twinkle in his eye.”
Mr Browne was a standard bearer for the Dunkirk Veterans’ Association in Leicester, where he worked in insurance after leaving the Army, as well as in Bury St Edmunds, and regularly visited war memorials across France and Belgium with other veterans.
His funeral will be held at St Andrew’s Church in Great Cornard on Thursday, May 31, at 2.30pm, when members of Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds Royal British Legion will provide a guard of honour in his memory. Family flowers only, donations to the Royal British Legion.
PROUD DAUGHTER: Lynda Lunn’s dad Gerald Browne (pictured left), a Dunkirk veteran who died earlier this month, recorded his memories of his time serving his country for his family.
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