Tuesday, 6 April 2010


A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to be left a collection of war letters written by my father, J.W.N. Broom detailing his experiences in the RAMC during WW2.

I am in the process of writing a book based on those letters, `Onward Christian Soldier' which I plan to have published on the 100th anniversary of his birth on 7th July 1916. I thought it would be helpful for other people with an interest in the subjects and issues raised in his letters to be able to read extracts from them, and to feed back to me any comments they feel may be necessary or useful.

John was from Colchester, Essex and was one of 6 siblings, the other 5 being girls. He was the son of William George Broom, a master tailor, and Florence Neville. The family lived at Morten Road in 1939. His sisters were named Iris, Marjorie, Pansy, Joan and Stephanie. William had served in the trenches in WW1 and the family were churchgoers, attending the Railway Mission on North Station Road.

John had chosen to serve in the RAMC for conscientious reasons, and the first 9 months of his army life detailed his basic training at Beckett Park, Leeds. Subsequent to that he was posted to 7th Light Field Ambulance, undergoing further training in Whitby, Aldbourne in Wiltshire and Groombridge in Sussex before being sent to North Africa in May 1942. His unit were part of the 7th Armoured Division, the renowned `Desert Rats'. They returned to the UK in January 1944 before moving to Normandy in June 1944 and taking part in the great push through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany before the final victory in 1945. John stayed in Germany until being demobbed in February 1946, 6 years after enlistment.

Previously unseen, the letters provide a unique insight into a journey through Britain's `darkest hours' from a strongly Christian perspective.

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