Memories

THE LAST HEROES

This Remembrance Day, as we remember the fallen and salute those men and women who have served and continue to serve their country during times of war, conflict and peace, I honour my Uncle, who celebrated his 100th birthday on July 31, 2020, and served with distinction in World War II.

Uncle Brandon is the last of our family and of his generation to have seen conflict.

As a surgeon in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Captain Brandon S. Lush, MD, saw active service among heavy fighting as the Allied Forces pursued the Axis across North Africa and up into Italy.

Capt. Brandon Lush, MD, at the British Military Hospital, Ferozepore, 1945

Captain Lush was wounded in action at the ferocious Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, among 55,000 Allied casualties, with German losses estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded, which effectively ended his frontline service. In 1945 he ran the British Military Hospital in Ferozepore, Punjab, India.

He was awarded The General Service Star 1939-45, The Africa Star, The Italy Star, The Defense Medal and The Distinguished Service Medal, with Oak Leaf (Mentioned in Despatches).

I was fortunate to be able to visit my Uncle and two of my cousins (limited by the rule of six), while on a visit to UK in October, in a brief gap between my own self-isolation in quarantine and an imposed new lock-down. He still lives in his own home, although now with full time care, and I was delighted to find him looking amazingly well and as conversational as always. He was thrilled to show me his 100th birthday card from Her Majesty The Queen.

Those of us who are lucky enough not to have had to endure conflict can have no idea of the horror and stress of wartime. For much of his army service, my Uncle was at the sharp end, performing life saving surgery in what the Americans would call a MASH unit. Later, he had a long and distinguished career as a doctor in England. I feel privileged to have had my Uncle as a role model and to have known such a kind and thoughtful man.

Along with the very few surviving veterans of WW II, he is indeed the last of our heroes.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

Featured image: The WW II medals awarded to Capt. Brandon Lush, MD

This is Nigel’s 292nd blog on Gentleman’s Portion. The SEARCH function at the top works really well if you want to look back and see some of his previous stories, including:  AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN, 11 November 2019; THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD, 11 November 2018; THIS WAS THEIR FINEST HOUR, 11 November 2015; and WE WILL REMEMBER THEM, 10 November 2014.

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