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Memorial for Wisbech band of brothers

PUBLISHED: 13:15 21 March 2011

Colin Malkin

Colin Malkin

Archant

A new housing development in Wisbech will be named in honour of four brothers who died during the second world war.

Their nephew, Colin Malkin, has been campaigning for recognition that one family lost four sons in the war and the new homes, off Railway Road, will be known as Bruce Close.

Bruce is the only surname to appear on Wisbech War Memorial four times – remembering the deaths of Arthur (known as Jock), George, Reginald and Thomas (known as Jack).

The campaign was stepped up after November’s Remembrance Day service when Fenland Council’s vice chairman, Michael Humphrey, was asked to take particular note of the Bruce names on the memorial at the time of wreath laying.

He took up the cause and Mr Malkin, of West Parade, has thanked him for managing to secure a deserved honour for the brothers.

Thomas, a married man, was killed at Dunkirk in June 1940, his brothers Arthur and Reginald were killed in Normandy in 1944 and George died on HMS Jaguar in 1942 after it was hit by U-Boat torpedoes.

Arthur, a corporal in the 1st Royal Norfolk Regiment was killed in 1944, aged 21, in Normandy and is remembered in La Delivrance War Cemetery, Douvres, Calvados, France. He was married with a son. George, Leading Cook on board HMS Jaguar, died in 1942, aged 36, and is commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent. He was married and had three daughters and a son.

Reginald, a married man, was a sergeant in the 1st Royal Norfolk Regiment and died in 1944 in Normandy and is buried in Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery, Calvados, France.

Thomas, an Able Seaman aboard HMS Worcester died in 1940 aged 29 and is commemorated in Dover (St James’s) Cemetery. His widow remarried another brother, Eric, after the war. She was said to have fallen for him because he looked so much like Thomas.

They were members of a large Wisbech family who lived in Russell Street, the sons of George and Ada Bruce, who had three other sons and two daughters.

Mr Malkin says there were very few families to have lost four sons during the war and he had long thought there should be a permanent memorial to the Bruce brothers.

He has visited his uncles’ graves in France and said: “I remember playing with them when I was a very young boy and I also remember the effect news of the deaths had on my grandmother – she never got over the shock.

“All my granny got was a telegram, nobody ever came to see her.”

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