Our Forces

Three short stories: Lou Godwin (Royal Air Force) , Harry Thompson (Army) and Tony Broughton (Navy) 

According to Tony Broughton 'They just did a job.'


Lou was born in 1925 near Southend-on-Sea in Essex, with lovely parents, he was just 15 when war broke out and watched the ‘Battle of Britain’ overhead, with planes being shot down and crews parachuting down and he knew he wanted to fly.  

Joined the Air Training Corp and at 18 he was accepted by the R.A.F. For Air Crew training and he elected to go for air gunnery. . After a lengthy course was promoted to Sergeant and posted to Kinloss where he joined an experienced Lancaster crew as Rear Gunner, their previous Rear Gunner having been lost.

As Rear Gunner Lou flew to many targets, mainly in Germany until the end of the war.

When the war ended in 1945 he retrained as a Pay Account Clerk. Having previously been promoted to Flight Sergeant he was then reduced to Sergeant on becoming Ground Crew. He was then was shipped off to Cairo and the Canal Zone to complete his service. Returned to England in December,1946 and posted to Wattisham in Suffolk where he met his future wife Jeanne who was a WAAF. He was married in May,1947 and went on to join the Essex Police Force. They had two sons




Harry joined the Green Howards as a 2nd Lieutenant when he was 20 in 1943. Never got to see action in Europe but was preparing to the Far East (Burma) in 1945 when the war there also ended. Harry didn’t really fancy it anyway ‘they shot at you from the trees.’

After the war the Government trained Harry to be an Accountant whilst he was held in Reserve. He never practiced it.

He saw action in the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya from 1953 where he single handily defeated the enemy backed up by his regiment.

He again saw action in Borneo 1962 where his regiment were deployed to put down the rebellion there.

Overall Harry served in 30 odd countries much of the time accompanied by his Wife who did not mind the travelling. He retired at 60 as a Brigadier after 42 years’ service.





Tony served in the Navy from 1941 – 1946. He was in Motor Torpedo Boats in the Mediterranean. Saw lots of action which involved sadly the loss of friends. Had a bit of brush with an Italian Cruiser which sank one of their boats, Tony’s small boat sent a torpedo into the stern of the Cruiser and put it out of action for the rest of the war (a lucky shot according to Tony). Apart from taking on enemy ships Tony’s MTB squadron saw further action in the landings at Sicily.

VE Day was spent in Egypt, of which not much was remembered just an alcoholic haze.

Tony finished in 1946 as a Lieutenant and the RNVR which became the RNR (Royal Navy Reserve). Final words from Tony ‘We were not heroes, we just did a job.’ Enough said. 

Lou Godwin