How do we begin to sum up this amazing Husband, Dad & Grandad. Well, let’s start at the beginning, he was born on 13th February 1925 in Boreham Wood, an only child.
Brian joined the Royal Navy in 1942 at 17 putting his age up a year to 18 as all his friends were a year older and he didn’t want to be left behind. He was part of Mediterranean Fleet based in Alexandria Egypt, he served on minesweepers and rocket ships.
Although common among war veterans he did not talk about his service we know he was involved in operations near Sicily and the invasion of Southern France which led to the ultimate liberation of France, for this he was awarded Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur by the President of France on the 19th October 2015 of which he was incredibly proud.
After the end of war, he followed his mother and father’s career path by going to work at ABPC film studio, later to become EMI Elstree as a trainee in the camera department.
His first film as a solo camera grip was the iconic The Dambusters in 1955, many major films followed such as Ice Cold in Alex, Lolita, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Railway Children, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Empire of the Sun, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Memphis Belle, Never Say Never Again, TV series such as The Saint and many more projects too numerous to mention.
These assignments involved travelling all around the, world to exotic locations such as Bora Bora, India, Kenya, China, The Bahamas and even including an eight-month period living on Antarctica shooting Forbush and the Penguins, John Hurt’s first major role which Brian later described as a load of rubbish or words to that effect!!
He loved telling stories about the many films he worked on throughout his, long career. During this time, he met Dennis Fraser, Jim Dawes and Tony Rowland who remained firm friends throughout his film career and when he retired. They were all pivotal in forming the Grips Branch and he was so glad he attended his final Annual Veterans Lunch on the 13th May 2023.
He married his wife Joan on the 1st March 1952, starting their married life in Boreham Wood. When their two children Stephen and Lyn were young, they moved to Wheathampstead and then to St Albans. Stephen and Lyn have nothing but happy memories of their childhood especially their holidays in Dartmouth, Devon. Brian and Joan were happily married for 63 years and Stephen & Lyn were immensely proud of their Dad and how he coped on his own when their Mum, passed away on 4th June 2015. Lyn also wanted to acknowledge the support her father has given, with her ongoing battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
Brian adored his granddaughters Bonnie and Milly. He took a keen interest in their schooling and university degrees, and loved hearing about Bonnie’s travels around the world and Milly is currently in Indonesia as part of her University studies therefore travelling is definitely in the genes! It always made his day, when they telephoned from their home in Sydney, Australia.
Brian loved his sport and enjoyed watching horse-racing and he was a life- long Arsenal supporter and was even moaning from his hospital bed that they had thrown away the 2022/23 Premiership title! He also followed Borehamwood’s football results having played for the club after the war.
He kept up to date with current affairs, was an avid reader of books, he was still driving his VW Polo locally at 97 years of age and using his exercise bike at home on a regular basis.
All the family will miss Brian very much and will remember him with great affection. Stephen and Lyn feel very lucky to have had such a great father, and to hear such wonderful sentiments said about him from his many friends and neighbours has been a great comfort to them.
The Dam Busters 1955
Ice Cold in Alex 1958
Mutiny on the Bounty 1962
Man in the Middle 1964
The Railway Children 1970
The Tales of Beatrix Potter 1971
Mr Forbush and the Penguins 1971
Star Wars 1977
The Muppet Movie 1979
The Empire Strikes Back 1980
The Dark Crystal 1982
The Wicked Lady 1983
Never Say Never Again 1983
Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom 1984
Empire of the Sun 1987
Memphis Belle 1990