Mirac­u­lous tale of seven war broth­ers

Macclesfield Express - - SCHOOLS NEWS - STU­ART GREER

THE amaz­ing story of pa­tri­o­tism and sur­vival of one fam­ily dur­ing the Sec­ond World War has been re­vealed.

While so many Mac­cles­field par­ents lost chil­dren in the war, all seven sons of Wil­liam Burgess fought for their coun­try – and re­turned home.

The story of their ser­vice dur­ing the six year con­flict made front page news in the Mac­cles­field Times in April 1942 where the pa­per her­alded the ‘brave’ Burgess boys’ con­tri­bu­tion as an ‘out­stand­ing ex­am­ple of fam­ily pa­tri­o­tism’ and ex­pressed its hope for a ‘joy­ous fam­ily re­union at the close of the war’.

Now, as Mac­cles­field marked the Armistice Day, more than 73 years later, that ‘joy­ous re­union’ has been con­firmed by Pam Bower, the daugh­ter of one of the war hero sons Wil­fred.

Wilf, as he was known, left his job with Cas­tle Shoe Com­pany to serve as a gun­ner in the Royal Ar­tillery in France and Malta.

Pam, 64, of Re­druth Av­enue, said: “I only have a few sto­ries of dad’s role in the war. He was in­volved in the evac­u­a­tion at Dunkirk.

“He said while he was queu­ing in the wa­ter to be res­cued he heard a man be­hind him say­ing how des­per­ate he was to get back to his preg­nant wife.

“So dad let him go in front of him in the queue, only to see that boat blown up in front of his eyes.

“He lost some of his hear­ing from his role as a gun­ner and also spent some time guard­ing Ger­many POWs.

“One prisoner carved dad a wooden box which he brought home from the war. For the rest of his life he kept his tools in it.”

Wil­fred’s broth­ers all served their coun­try in the war.

Ray­mond was a gun­ner in Wil­fred’s reg­i­ment and served in the Mid­dle East, while Den­nis left his job at Bar­racks Fab­ric Print­ing Com­pany to join the Royal Navy.

Wil­liam was in pri­vate in The Royal Pioneer Corps and an­other brother, who Pam only knows as R L H, served in the Welsh Reg­i­ment.

Al­ban was a butcher be­fore he served with the York and Lan­cashire Reg­i­ment, while Philip was in the Royal Army Med­i­cal Corps.

An eighth son, Dou­glas, stayed in Mac­cles­field to help run their fa­ther’s win­dow clean­ing busi­ness but did his bit serv­ing in the Home Guard.

Pam, a care as­sis­tant at Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal, said: “It’s a shame I don’t know more of their sto­ries, but the fact that they all re­turned home alive is quite amaz­ing and very spe­cial when so many other fam­i­lies in the town suf­fered tragedy and loss.”

●● Pam Bower and a news­pa­per cut­ting fea­tur­ing her fa­ther Wil­fred and his six broth­ers

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