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Single British War Medal
Edwin John Egerton Bracken’s life seems to be a life well lived, born 12 March 1882 in Florence, Italy. His father William Bracken an artist was born in Calcutta and his mother Marie Delboutin a Parisian.
He was schooled in Sicily, Switzerland and Brighton and completing his studies at Wellington Collage.
He was fluent in French and Italian.
The next we hear of Edwin is as a Trooper in the Natal Mounted Police 5.12.01 as Trooper (No2734) but noted as seeing no active service during the period 1901-02.
(QSA ribbon worn on the picture while serving in the Denbighshire Hussars) and a return to England and a commission in the Denbighshire Hussars from 1903-1904 leaving to marry.

Sadly I have no knowledge of his life from here to WW1.

Commissioned in 1915 to the Loyal North Lancashire regiment and transferred to the West African Frontier Force during the Cameroon campaign serving with the 5th Nigerian Regiment.
He was invalided in 1916 due to varous tropical diseases.

We find him next transferred to the British Intelligence Mission to the Italian GHQ up to Caporetto and then to Rome until 1917 on the transfer of British troops as Captain and i/c Padova and forward area commandant and Railway Transport Officer.

On the armistice he stayed as liaison office in Rome until 1920.

His brother Robert John Bracken served as a Lt Colonel winning the DSO, (R. Welsh Fusiliers and M.G. Corps).

After the war and until 1935 he worked in tourism in Italy and it colonies including the Catholic travel Bureau. He is noted as working in Algeria, Morocco including the high atlas.

In 1935 we find him in Aswan Egypt as a draftsman working on the dam.

On the outbreak of WW2 we see him writing to the great and good to be re-employed in the army while working at the Gibraltar evacuation centre (1940-42) and back in the UK in 1942 as an Interpreter at the Italian POW camp at Tarporley Cheshire, eventually being commissioned into the Pioneer corps 16 July 1943 “Capt. Edwin John Egerton BRACKEN (260895) to be 2nd Lt. 3rd March 1943, at the age of 61.
Sadly the war was to finish as War Subs Lt. E J E Bracken (260895) re-granted the rank of Capt on ceasing to be employed 9th July 1944.

The letter below also states he was awarded the 15 Star.

I can confirm he died in 1949 in Surrey aged 66
If anyone has any further details I would welcome them..


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Very nice indeed. Nowdays it is easier to "get around" like that, but you really had to be an adventure stud to do it back then...

When i read things like that it reminds me of one of my favourite poems..

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.


And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.


He has failed, he has failed; he has missed
his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.

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Hi, Chris,

Can you give us the author / title of the poem, please?

Best,

Hugh

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Thanks, Chris, should have known it. I have a copy of his "Rhymes of a Red Cross Man" from my father.

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Love the poem, thanks for sharing!

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