Tributes to Burnley D-Day veteran who has died aged 99

A proud D-Day veteran from Burnley has died at the age of 99.

By Dominic Collis
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 3:45 pm

Burnley Grammar School old boy Mr Charles Granville Brown, who was born in the Abel Street part of Burnley in 1923, trained as a compositor before going to war as a 21 year old, landing on ‘Sword’ beach in Normandy, six hours after the beginning D-Day.

Serving as a wireless operator, he travelled through France, Germany, Italy and finally Greece until he was demobbed in 1947.

Mr Brown married his sweetheart Margaret Eastwood whilst on leave and after the war the couple settled in Briercliffe where they were actively involved with the Sunday School and teaching children tennis.

Mr Charles Granville Brown

Their adopted son Chris said: “During this time mum became pregnant, but unfortunately had a stillbirth which was a great sadness in their lives. In 1958 they moved to Glen View Road for a fresh start, and this is where in August of 1959 they adopted and brought a two-month-old baby home, me.

“For me, dad was a hero. A true Burnley boy.

“He lived in Burnley for all his 99 years, latterly in sheltered accommodation at Townfields where he remained very independent. Indeed, I took him out for his birthday in April when he enjoyed a ‘99’ ice cream.

"He attended Burnley Grammar School where he excelled in languages and drama, after which he served his apprenticeship in printing.

Charles and Margaret

“Dad enlisted in The Royal Corps of Signals where he trained as a wireless operator. He went to war as a 21 year old boy, and came back a man with the mental scars only someone who has seen active service can comprehend.

"When I asked him why he jumped off a perfectly good boat into the hell of war, his matter-of-fact answer was ‘it was there to be done’. He then would add he could not let his family, his comrades and country down.

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“In 1987, mum sadly passed away, and dad was left without the woman he came back from war to be with, but they had had 42 happy years together. Particularly the ones after I came along!

“In 1994 he married Jean, after meeting her at one of the many tea dances they enjoyed. They had over 20 years of happiness and companionship and holidayed at their mobile home in Morecambe.”

The couple settled at Townfields where they lived happily there until Jean sadly died in 2010.

Chris added: “Before Jean died, dad had been contacted by the Blind Veterans Society, as by this stage his sight was rapidly getting worse.

"They proved to be an invaluable support to him, providing specialised equipment and giving him the chance to take holidays at their centre in Llandudno. “Dad really enjoyed his visits, and they were especially supportive of him after he lost Jean.

“Over the last few years dad’s health had deteriorated but he liked to remain independent and was still making his soups and casseroles. He had found the time of Covid and all the restrictions very difficult, and had said it felt like he was in a prison without bars.

“Dad was a very straight man but someone who was not afraid to show his emotions. A very good person.”