Wartime military messenger turns 100th birthday this month
A POULTRY farmer who became a military messenger when war broke out will celebrate his 100th birthday this month. Alec Brown, who lives at Highcliffe Nursing Home, will be joined by family members and fellow residents to mark the occasion on December 27. Home manager Tracey Millar has organised a vintage tea party for Mr. Brown, who has lived at the Stuart Road property since April. Mr. Brown was born near Chelmsford in Essex. After leaving school at 14, he went to work on his father's poultry farm. He later took over the management of the farm and ran it until he was called up for national service in 1940. His experience of riding motorcycles led to him being enlisted as a despatch rider in the Royal Corps of Signals. Mr. Brown married Mary in 1943 and the couple had two daughters, Diana and Rita.
Mrs. Millar said: “Alec's family recounts that one of his assignments was to lead part of the US Army down through South Wales to Cardiff docks prior to their embarkation for the D Day landings. “He recalls bringing the centre of Cardiff to a complete standstill while he held up traffic at each junction as he led the long column of tanks, trucks, Jeeps and hundreds of troops through to the waiting ships.” Soon after D Day, his regiment was sent to India to join forces with the Bombay Signals and in the summer of 1945 they were making final preparations for the invasion of the Japanese mainland before the dropping of the atomic bombs ended the war. He then returned to poultry farming in Essex.
However, in 1970 his entire stock of 5,000 chickens was wiped out by fowl pest, leaving the business in ruins. Putting his carpentry skills to use, Mr. Brown began working for a company making windows and doors. He rose through the ranks to become production manager and stayed with the firm until his retirement. In 1982, he and Mrs. Brown moved to Barton on Sea. Mr. Brown continued to live there alone following his wife’s death in 1984. He looked after himself until breaking his hip in a gardening fall at the age of 96.