Date added: 5 Jan 2016
By Anne Healy (eldest daughter) Extracts from my eulogy for Dad.
Our wonderful Dad, Stanley George Westbrook, was born to William and Rose Westbrook, on 29th September 1925, the youngest of three brothers. He grew up near RegentsPark as part of a large extended family, with lots of cousins, aunties anduncles. They were a close family andenjoyed many happy family parties, with lots of music and fun, and Daddy wouldoften tell us about these happy times with his beloved Mum, Dad and brothersDon and Vic, when he would play the piano accordion, or the piano, while someof his cousins played the drums, trumpet, etc.
As a young man Dad took an interest in boxing and discovered an amazing talent, becoming an ABA boxingchampion in his teens. His Dad and brother Vic kept many newspaper cuttings and photographs of his triumphs, many of which we still have today. Dad’s love of boxing never waivered and later on in life one of his favourite events was to visit the Albert Hall on a boxing night, with his ‘boys’ - Terry and John, and sons in law, Brett, Martin,and Danny, when they would hire a box and enjoy wonderful evenings of fun and hilarity, and no doubt a few cans of beer, together.
When the war came Dad, though very young, was eager to go out and protect his neighbours, and he and his brother Vic formed a team that bravely went out with stirrup pumps, putting out fires caused by falling incendiary bombs. Daddy told me of a tragic night when there were 3 of them, himself, Vic and a friend. Unknown to them, the Germans had pre-treated some bombs with a substance that caused them to explode when in contact with water. The three lads were out following a raid, and sadly their friend came across one of these incendiary bombs. On starting his pump, he was blown to pieces in front of their eyes; an event which must have affected Dad and Vic for the rest of their lives.
Dad joined the RAF, and at the tender age of just 17 was posted to Cairo in Egypt, where he worked in signals. His recount of their horrific journey on a ship travelling in convoy to Cairo makes me shiver. At one point they’d been told to stand on deck all night in terrible stormy weather, as U-boats were circling the convoy ready to attack.Can you imagine the fear felt in the hearts of those young men, including Dad who was just a boy of 17? He told many tales of those days, and we have precious photos of him taken in Egypt, one of which was on a bridge spanning the Nile in Cairo. Many years later, whilst I was working in Cairo, I found that same bridge and had a photograph taken in the same spot. Daddy was thrilled when I showed it to him.
Quite recently, in honour of his service in the RAF, Daddy was given a very special Veteran’s pin which he wore with great pride, (mum is wearing it in his honour today), as he was one of very few remaining war servicemen.We are immensely proud of his great resilience and bravery in fighting for his country at such a young age during the war.
Dad and Mum loved each of us individually and equally. Growing upsurrounded by love, praise and encouragement made us feel secure. Mum and Dad’s pride in us gave us the greatest possible start in life, and the strength and confidence we have now. They instilled in each of us strong family values, based on love and respect. This love, and our strong family bond we now pass onto our children, and our children’s children and it will continue to grow ever bigger as our family grows.
Dad lives on in each and every one of us. Our wonderful Dad is a legend in all our eyes, and for me he is also quite simply, my hero.
with my love forever, Daddy. A xx