Book of Heroes Honours Bravery of War Veterans

Book of Heroes Honours Bravery of War Veterans

The wartime heroics of Broughton House veterans are described in a new book compiled by a volunteer at the home.

Broughton House historian Owen Hammond has spent 12 months painstakingly recording the service histories of residents, starting with World War Two veterans.

He has used their service records from the Ministry of Defence, their own recollections and information from their relatives to write their stories.

The Broughton House Book of Heroes so far features five current residents and five who recently passed away.

Owen is now working on the biographies of other World War Two veterans and will then focus on those who served after 1945.

He said: “The book came about after our nursing home manager Debbie Campey asked if I would like to get involved in compiling a history of Broughton House and make a record of past and present residents’ service histories.

“I’ve always taken a keen interest in military history, so I was delighted to be offered this challenge.

“It’s an important way of honouring the debt of gratitude we owe our veterans. I passionately believe their stories and courageous deeds must be recorded and preserved.”

The Book of Heroes is on display in the Broughton House foyer.

The five current residents featured are:

  • George Simms, 94, from Manchester. He volunteered at the age of 18 to serve in the Royal Marines and was selected for service in the elite Royal Marine Commandos. George saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war during the Allied invasions of Sicily and Normandy. He was injured twice – in Sicily in 1943 and then on D-Day at Sword Beach during the Normandy Landings. He still has shrapnel in his body from that incident. In 2016, George was awarded the Legion D’Honneur by the French government.
  • Geoffrey Stott, aged 94, from Bolton. He joined the Royal Navy in 1939 at the age of 15. In 1942 he was serving on the famous warship HMS Exeter when it was sunk by Japanese warships in the Java Sea. Geoffrey jumped overboard, was picked out of the water by the Japanese navy and was kept as a prisoner of war until October 1945.
  • Ken Ashworth, aged 95, from Manchester. He served as an anti-aircraft gunner in the Royal Artillery and the Maritime Royal Artillery. Ken took part in the Allied invasions of Algiers, Sicily and Italy at Salerno, and in the D-Day landings.
  • Jim Toole, aged 97, from Salford. At the age of 17, Jim volunteered to join the 8th(TA) Battalion, the Lancashire Fusiliers. He took part in the Battle of France in 1940, suffered a shrapnel wound to a leg and ended up as a prisoner of war in Poland. In January 1945 he was forced on the ‘Death March’ but was eventually found by a US Army unit and taken in a seriously ill and weak condition to hospital.
  • Stanley Hampson, aged 98, from Horwich, near Bolton. Stanley joined the Kings Company, 1stBattalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers at the age of 20 and served during battles in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

The book also features five former Broughton House residents who have passed awayover the last couple of years – Dennis Cramp, Cyril Critchley, Eric Edwards, Ralph Jones and Kenneth Oldham.