Miraculous tale of seven war brothers
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