Moving moment for mason’s descendents at memorial

Ted and Colin Brown at the town's war memorial EMN-141111-093416001
Ted and Colin Brown at the town's war memorial EMN-141111-093416001

Descendents of the stonemason who created Market Rasen’s war memorial were on parade at Sunday’s Remembrance event in the town.

Dressed as a soldier of the First World War, Colin Brown had travelled from his home in Durham to take part in the parade.

And as he turned the corner of Union Street to see the town’s memorial, he admits it was a very emotional time.

“It sent shivers down my spine the first time I saw the memorial,” said Colin. “It was an incredible experience standing next to it - very emotional.”

Colin is the great-grandson of stonemason John Brown - known as Jack - who worked for Scupham & Son.

Jack was tasked with mounting the cross on its plinth and sinking the names and inscription into the marble with lead.

And when it came to the fallen of the Second World War, it was Jack’s son George who 
added the names.

Joining Colin at this year’s parade was his father Ted, who returned to live in the area earlier this year.

“It is nice to see the Remembrance Parade supported the way it is,” said Ted, who served in the RAF for 24 years and, as an officer cadet, was part of the Coronation procession in 1953

“I spent 18-months as a stonemason under my father George and would have perhaps continued if I hadn’t made the grade as a pilot.”

And the RAF connection continues, with other descendents of Jack Brown - Ian and Calum Dowse - taking part in Sunday’s parade as members of Market Rasen ATC.

POW returns to honour fallen comrades

Stonemason John (Jack) Brown was one of the returning ‘Sons of Rasen’.

Private Brown had fought with the 2-5th Lincolns and spent 19 months as a prisoner of war.

He was captured on April 11th 1917, along with 80 others of his battalion at Hargicourt.

They were marched more than 14 kilometres to Maretz, where he spent two months working behind German lines.

From there, he was transferred to Munster and then on to Minden and later to Oplanden.

During his time as a prisoner, he worked in the camp bread store, on the railway and, for his final three months of captivity, at his trade as a monumental mason.

Private John Brown was the first of Market Rasen’s repatriated prisoners to return home.

He arrived - via Rotterdam, Hull and Ripon - on November 27, 1918.

The Market Rasen Mail interviewed Pte Brown on his experiences for that week’s edition - November 30.

The transcript reads as follows:

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Pte J Brown, of the 2-5th Lincolns, on his return home after being for nineteen months in the hands of the bally Hun.

He is the first of the Market Rasen repatriated prisoners of war, and we hope that others will soon follow him.

Pte Brown was captured on 11th April 1917, with eighty others of his battallien, at Hargecourt.

They were marched over fourteen kilometers to Maretz, and for two months he was kept working just behind the German lines, the British shells falling about three hundred yards from them.

At this place there were 200 more British prisoners who had been captured the November previous, and they were in a sorry plight. Their rations at this time consisted of only one round of German bread and one ladleful of cabbage water per day.

While there Brown counted himself lucky to get a commando on a ration dump, his work being in the bread store, where he was allowed to eat what scraps he could get hold of, but was not allowed to take any out. This was to be deplored, as several fellow prisoners working at the dump outside were practically starving.

The Huns seemed to make a dead set against the Britishers, and their high spirits, despite their trying vicissitudes, was something the Hun could not understand and for the most trivial offence they shot our gallant lads.

One man belonging to the Lincolnshire Regiment stepped about four yards out of the ranks to pick up a cigar end and was shot at once by a sentry.

Whilst working at the bread dump, to which they had 4 miles to walk, they were served each morning with coffee made from burnt acorns and oats, and a round of bread.

With others Brown was subsequently transferred to Munster, the journey occupying two nights and three days in cattle trucks, in each of which were 39 men.

But for the food received from the British Help Society they would all have been starved to death.

After a week at this place they were taken to Minden, where the food conditions were slightly improved, although Brown had to go into hospital through nothing but starvation, and was lucky to have the attention of a Canadian doctor.

He subsequently got out on a working commando, working on the railway.

At this time parcels were getting through regularly, and the boys divided up amongst each other both food and clothing.

Brown then got to a laager at Oplanden on the Rhine, and during the last three months of his imprisonment he worked at his trade as a monumental mason.

There were 400 Allied prisoners at this camp. They were all naturally overjoyed when the Armistice was declared, and they were sent by special train by the lieutenant in charge to Fredricksfeld, and after remaining there two days subsequently got to Zevenaar in Holland, and from there on to Rotterdam, Hull, Ripon and home, which he reached on Tuesday.