University of Oxford
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Laurence John Edwards (Jack) written by Rita Edwards

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 18:17 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

These are memories my mother wrote down in the late 1980s.

"Watching the VJ veterans' event on Saturday afternoon, my heart was so very stirred thinking of my late brother-in-law (Jack). He joined the Hereford Territorials when 20 years old before the break of war, was called up in 1939 and they were sent to Ireland. On leave was taken ill, and sent to hospital for several months, he was sent to R.E.M.E. to learn to drive lorries (he was very slight, only 5 feet tall).

We heard the next part of his story when he returned to England. My husband (Tom) met him off the train and did not recognise him. Jack was like a shrivelled-up old man wearing a too-big chinaq [?] hat. His story came out in bits which shocked my husband and I. He had been fighting in Burma and ordered to take tins of food and a blanket to get across the river but he and another soldier were too ill to go on and sat down by the river to die. People in a boat got them to come and were transported to India, put on a train travelling to (where we did know once). There was an accident, carriages were derailed and many were killed. At night, any man who had died was taken off at little stations and those who would not last the night.

One night, Jack had dysentery and was too taken off, but he was lucky in a way. An English doctor and his wife (the Dicks) took him to their house and nursed him back to health, only to be [?] this time. The army said they had lost all his papers and so could not recognise him.

Next, he was going up in airplanes and dropping out food parcels for soldiers still in Burma. I believe they were USA planes and pilots. He told us many stories about those days. He received a new suit when he was demobilised. He came home a broken man. All he had [?] to do anything about it. He married and had two sons. Dies."

Timothy recalls that his mother, Rita, said that one time when he was in an American plane, the engine cut out and the plane started to plummet towards the ground. The pilot regained control at the last minute and they survived.


Item list and details

1. Newspaper article from the Hereford Times 1980's about Jack and his wife Nancy. 2. 4 photographs of Jack in uniform, 1 with castle(?) in the background taken in Ireland. 3. Handwritten notes from Rita Edwards - transcript above.

Person the story/items relate to

Laurence John Edwards (Jack)

Person who shared the story/items

Timothy Edwards

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Jack was my uncle.

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID