“It came in low, flying down the Thetford Road, over Market Hill and off down London Road. It was so low people recall seeing the pilot’s face. As it passed over Market Hill, the German Dornier 17 bomber fired off a machine gun … TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT. Bullets hit the ground, around Brandon children on the playground during their lunch break, close enough for some adults to be hit by flying stones. It was a miracle no one was killed.”
Brandon, Suffolk, during WW2, was a town of about 2,600 residents and employment centred around agriculture (farming and timber). It is a border town split between Suffolk and Norfolk. Hundreds of men, mostly serving with the Suffolk Regiment, left the town to fight in the war. Some like Bert Catchpole enlisted early as a territorial to defend their homeland from Nazi Germany, but found themselves captives of the Japanese Imperial Army at Singapore. Other servicemen saw action at Dunkirk, Dieppe Raids, D-Day, Arnhem, along with the battles through the Middle East and Italy. Then for the first time, Brandon men saw wartime service in the air, mainly with bombers of the Royal Air Force. Through my research I have been fortunate to speak to people who were in Brandon during the war and record their memories, sadly many are no longer with us, their memories are here too. Some memories are of those evacuated to the town. The links below will show you what life was like for the men women and children of Brandon, serving their country or living at home in the town.
These links tell the story of those men who went to war and died (Memorial names), Brandon residents and visitors to the town during WW2 recall their memories of wartime (Memories of Brandon), the groups and committees set up to administer control in the town (The Town), what life was like for residents during wartime – rationing, scandal, etc; (The Times) and stories about certain residents (The People). The final link shows photographs of some of those people I have uncovered during the course of my research (The Faces).