Rosemary for Remembrance; Part Two the Obituary.

We all knew Mr Johnson was a gentleman, who was charming and cultured; but we didn’t know that during World War Two, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, (DFC) for his courage leadership and bravery.

Back in August I wrote about the death of a special man, Mr Johnson, you can read about him here; at the time I said in a comment that,

‘He was a lovely gentleman, I wait to read his obituary, I don’t know what his professional life had been, but I bet there will be a string of accomplishments that include service to others.’

We didn’t know about his decoration, but any one who knew him will not be in the least surprised. His family only knew about the DFC in the months before his death and it only since his death that they have discovered he was a squadron leader; he was a very modest man. His obituary ran to two thirds of a page, a rare thing in our local paper where it is not unusual for an obituary to read that the deceased ‘enjoyed playing darts and socialising’, it’s ‘dressed up’ a bit, but put it another way, they ‘enjoyed going to the pub’, (not that I have an issue in any one going to the pub, I just wouldn’t want it to recorded as my life’s work.)

His accomplishments and interests were wide, a vast list of voluntary and community roles points to a life lived to the full.

I looked through the obituary last tonight, to pick out a few words that summed him up, I was spoilt for choice.

Modest, private, deeply spiritual, calm, gentlemanly, supportive, integrity, courteous, wisdom, courageous. Not a bad check list, by which to live a life.

The writer also said, ‘Many will remember him riding his bike,while at the same time calling out a greeting and waving his stick or raising his cap!’ That imagery captures him perfectly.I don’t for a moment think that any one who ever knew him, is likely to forget him . He was some one special.

If you have come to this post in search of information on holders of the DFC, I have, as Mr Johnson was a very private man, changed his name for the purpose of this post, however he was someone that valued the importance of history, and if you wish to email me at I will be happy to disclose his real name, because we must never forget what his generation did for us.

‘There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance, pray you, love, remember’.

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11 thoughts on “Rosemary for Remembrance; Part Two the Obituary.

  1. annette

    Oh yes, I remember that story well.
    He was a perfect gentleman.
    He was heartbroken when his wife died.

    Thankyou for letting me know.

  2. His generation are getting fewer with the passing years but as you say must be remembered in future ones.
    Many were extremely modest, and it often comes as a surprise when their exploits become known only after their death.

  3. I remember my grandad letting me play with his war medals. He saw them as bits of tin.

    It was only in later years after his death that I found out what the medals were awarded for.

    He was Royal Navy and had saved colleagues during a ferocious battle with an enemy warship.

    I also found his “Mentions in Despatches” which were folded up and tucked away at the back of a cupboard.

    My grandma used to say that he never liked talking about the war as he had been in the thick of it. My grandad was a great man and I miss him.

  4. May be they didn’t see them selves as being brave, because they simply felt they were doing what they had to do, does ‘being brave’ imply a choice of action? I don’t know.
    They were brave and I don’t think we can now understand the thoughts and feelings and experiences of that generation, which I suspect is rather complacent of us.

  5. Back then, as you say, they just got with what they had to do but there’s no doubt that many of them were brave and courageous.
    I think that it’s almost impossible to comprehend what they endured, particularly when many thought that they were doing nothing out of the ordinary. We, of course, consider their actions extraordinary.

  6. kevinmillhillhill

    Oh, thank you for this one!! I have got up early to search eBay for a copy of “Reach for the Sky” If Douglas Bader could fly Sifires and achieve the rank of Group Captain, having lost both legs, I shoud think that working an ambulance with foot/ankle orthoses would be a doddle

  7. Pingback: We will remember them « Uphilldowndale

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