It is with a very heavy heart I write this letter. My brother Frank died today on March19th after bravely fighting cancer for nearly two years and believe me he never complained once.
Frank was born in 1936 and like me was brought up in a working class environment, of which he never forgot. He had a happy childhood throughout the war years and left school when he reached his fifteenth birthday.
Frank did not have a trade and worked in the Cooperative Grocers in Barrow until his call up at the age of 18 for national service in 1955. When Frank was a young boy he had to have an iron on his right leg to straighten it up, but like other things those years it failed and he was left with a limp.
He never tried to duck his way out of the call up and it baffles me how he was given grade 3, which would not happen in this present day. Frank was called up to do his national service with the Royal Army Medical Corps at Crookham Barracks, Fleet near Aldershot in April 1955
Frank was also left handed, so one can imagine with the limp and being left handed he must have taken a lot of stick. With Frank it was water off a ducks back, because he could take whatever was thrown at him. When his training was over and incidentally they kept him off the passing out parade, because of his limp etc. He had a choice of going to Epping Forest or Egypt. Frank chose Egypt, because he would get three weeks embarkation leave.
He went to a camp in Fayid near the Suez Canal has a Nursing Orderly. He was there three months before sent onto Cyprus. The Cyprus we know now is a great holiday destination but not then. The Greek Cypriots wanted self-rule and they went about it in murdering British Servicemen in order to try and get it.
Frank served at camps in Limassol, Four mile point Famagusta and Nicosia. He had a few narrow escapes along the way. Quite a number of British Soldiers were badly burned while on patrol against the EOKA. When this happened Frank was sent as an orderly to the Military Hospital in Nicosia. What he had to do with the lads who were badly burned affected him all his life. He wrote about this in his other short stories on my Blog
Frank was demobbed in 1957at the age of 20 and put his army life behind him. He later met June Gordon who he courted and married and they had two Children Gail and Neil. Just like himself he gave them a happy childhood. Eventually they married and he became a proud grandfather of three boys, James, Nick and Jack. Not forgetting his son and Daughter in laws John and Jevonia.
I could go on for evermore, to me he was the best brother and friend one could wish to have. Believe me readers; there is one thing I am certain about. I am going to miss my big brother Frank terribly, for the rest of my life.