Richard Harry Brockway WOII – REME

By Steve Brockway, Harry’s son, and Les (Chang) Cable 45B.

Harry, as he was known sadly passed away on Good Friday (18/04/2014) after a long illness. Harry joined the Army as a boy soldier and trained at Aborfield Army Tech School (Boys).
He served in The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) and following tours of duty in Colchester, Blandford, Egypt, Blandford again, Bordon, Malaya, Scotland (Clackmannan) Bulford and finally Blandford for a third time. He demobbed having risen to WOII. He served the Army for 22 years and then the RN for a further 9 years as a First Tier Manager. He was engaged in Logistical Support for The Fleet (RNSTS) based at Portsmouth Naval Base prior to his retirement back home in North Dorset (Shaftesbury & Gillingham) with his wife Hazel.

Steve Brockway.

Richard (Dick) Brockway 45B

Dick Brockway was a mate of mine from September 1945, in B Coy, Room C4. Unusually, we were given a long weekend pass in November 1947. It being too far for me to travel to my home in Devon and Dick being a good lad he invited me to spend the time with him in Shaftesbury, Dorset. During that weekend and after a few beers we were involved in an ‘altercation’ with a couple of ‘Chunkies’. At the local police station afterwards we had to make a statement, it took some explaining as to why we were wearing REME badges etc, when our Army address was A T S (Boys). The local ‘Bobby’ said that he found it confusing, so wrote it down as we told him. The incident was not reported to Arborfield, thank goodness.

On passing out in 1948 our paths went different ways, and we lost contact. Fast forward 50 years and by now I was living in Weymouth. Our daughter ran a business in Gillingham, North Dorset. One afternoon in 1989 she asked me to pay some money into the bank in Shaftesbury, my first visit since 1947. Returning to the car park I saw three men in conversation, speaking in the local dialect.

I looked at one of them and I thought he looked like Dick Brockway. Then told myself not to be so stupid – I was seeing what I wanted to see. Anyway, having got into my car I got out again and asked the man if his name was Brockway. He looked at me warily and said Yes. ‘Good God’ I said you and I were in Boys service together.

‘Oh No, that was my brother he said – are you Chang Cable? It was my turn to be surprised, – it seems I was part of their family folklore!

Anyway it turned out that Dick was living only half a mile from my daughter, so from then on I was able to visit him and his wife, and we kept in contact.

Sadly, for the past four years he suffered from bad health, but always put on a cheerful face when we did get together.

I was fortunate in being able to attend the funeral with his family. There were two of us wearing REME ties that day.

Les (Chang) Cable 45B B Coy.

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