DAVID RICHARD BROWN
Born Guernsey 1929
Died Oldham, Lancashire 1942
A collage entitled 'From Our Garden, L'ancresse Bay
and Guernsey Harbour'
The mail boat 'Isle of Guernsey'
David Richard Brown died in 1942 during soccer practice for his school team in Oldham, Lancashire. He had been evacuated to Oldham Hulme Grammar School, England, from Amherst School, Guernsey, along with many others, when Hitler's troops occupied the Channel Islands. David, it seems, was a quietly spoken boy with a love of sport, but the only time he was truly happy was when his thoughts turned to home. He would sit in his bedroom for hours at a time staring out at the unfamiliar streets, with their terraced houses and soot-clad chimneys, whilst sketching the sea and sunshine of his beloved island.
One of my most treasured possessions is the quaintly-titled 'Brush-Drawing Book' (above) issued from the County Borough of Oldham Education Committee for the use of local schoolchildren. Poignantly, David's homesickness was reflected in his sketches.
My favourite is a 'collage' ( though I doubt if he knew what the word meant at the time) of three sketches entitled 'From our Garden,' Lancresse Bay' and 'Guernsey Harbour. ' Other pages depict the Isle of Guernsey, the mail boat, as it was affectionately called by islanders, that regularly travelled from Guernsey to Southampton or Weymouth before the war. Then there is the touchingly titled 'A corner of our bungalow' and a 'A goal' , a more upbeat sketch depicting a triumphant Guernsey footballer hitting the back of the net.
My late father Harry Brown, a freelance journalist, wrote prolifically throughout his life, yet never himself recorded the impact on the family of his brother's tragic death.
My grandmother, very occasionally, would reminisce about her younger son, but then her face would cloud over and the words,all too soon, would die on her lips.