Schoolboy reads remembrance poem in honour of Great-Grandfather at Wasps match - The Solihull Observer

Schoolboy reads remembrance poem in honour of Great-Grandfather at Wasps match

Solihull Editorial 7th Nov, 2017 Updated: 7th Nov, 2017   0

A YARDLEY schoolboy read a war poem in front of thousands of people in memory of his great grandfather who was a prisoner of war during World War Two.

Solihull School pupil Jack Brown, aged 11, took to the field ahead of Wasps’ Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Newcastle Falcons at the Ricoh Arena to perform the Royal British Legion’s Exhortation.

The Exhortation is a verse taken from the poem For the Fallen, written by Robert Laurence Binyon during the First World War, and has become synonymous with modern-day remembrance services.

The poem reading marked the first of two matches where Wasps are supporting the British Armed Forces, which will include bucket collections for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) at Wasps’ game against Newcastle Falcons on November 18.

The 11-year-old, who shares the same first name as his great grandfather Jack Boswell, also sported his namesake’s medals from his time serving in the army between 1939 and 1945.

Boswell, an electrician who lived in Hampton Street in Birmingham, served in the Royal Artillery 57th Anti-Tank Regiment attached to the East Surrey Regiment, and was eventually captured by German troops in the Belgian city of Courtrai while trying to fight off their advances to Dunkirk in 1940.

Boswell was registered as a prisoner of war on August 8, 1940, and spent time constructing roads in Danzig, as well as numerous stints in solitary confinement for ‘writing insulting remarks’ about the Germans in his letters home.

Between 1943 and 1945 Boswell escaped the Nazis three times while working on different farms in Poland.

After being sent to solitary confinement for the first two attempts that saw him captured after a few days, Boswell finally escaped for good in March 1945 when he befriended an American regiment after escaping while travelling to Bromberg.

He had three weeks of action with them, before boarding a Dakota plane from Münster in April 1945 and landing back at Beaconsfield.

Jack said: “I wish I had met my great grandad to tell him how brave he was. This poem is my way of telling him that.

“It was great to see and wear his medals in front of so many people, and I’m really glad that I managed to read the poem as I was really nervous beforehand.”

Jack’s mum Verity Brown works at Wasps Rugby Club, who granted Jack the chance to do the reading at the game as part of a pre-match remembrance service that saw wreaths laid and a guard of honour made by Bedworth Armistice Parade’s organising committee.

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