Brett. JH. Major 11th Suffolks. Cambridge
One would normally think that soldiers would be relieved that they have avoided danger, but Joe Brett, apparently, was forever haunted by the fact that he was on a training course on the 1st of July when many of his friends were casualties, and his company went into battle without him.
His son wrote the following about him:
After the war JHB found work with a company in Belfast initially and later worked as a statistician with Vauxhall Motors with whom he stayed until retirement, latterly becoming the export manager in London.
My parents married in 1917 after which he returned to duty. My mother went with the Lucas family (E.V.Lucas the writer) to run a home for evacuee french children at Chateau de Betancour (no longer exists) near Paris.
JHB had studied medicine at Cambridge but did not get far enough to be able to take it up afterwards. He had to find work and soon had a young family.
In the 1920s he had an extended episode out of work with suspected TB plus bouts of depression. There were various trophies in the attic including a Mauser rifle (handed in during WW2) and a bayonet and shell cases, used as umbrella stands.
During WW2 he joined the Home Guard with the rank of Lt Col. He was virtually silent on the WW1 years. His belt “Sam Brown” is in the family.
There are no letters or written records in the family. He did say that he probably survived only because he was withdrawn for training at the time of the Somme offensive.
Date of creation27/10/2016
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