Whalley war veteran Sam dies aged 99: tributes

War veteran Mr Sam Brearley. Photo Ben Parsons
War veteran Mr Sam Brearley. Photo Ben Parsons

tributes have been paid to war veteran Mr Sam Brearley, who has died at the age of 99.

Mr Brearley, who lived in Moor Edge, Whalley, was originally from Bacup and trained as an actor at RADA before volunteering to join up in 1940.

He fought with the 1st Armoured Brigade 2nd Division in the Allied campaign against the Germans in Yugoslavia and Greece and was captured during heavy fighting in 1941 at the southern Greek port of Kalamata.

He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner, enduring grim conditions, but helped to keep up his fellow prisoners’ morale by organising entertainments at the Stalag camps in which he was imprisoned.

After the war, he returned to Bacup, married and moved to Kent, but returned to Lancashire about 10 years ago.

He did not receive his Second World War medals until members of Clitheroe Youth Forum instigated a campaign to obtain them as part of their roll of honour project for those from Clitheroe who had died in the war.

Last November, he received the long-awaited medals in a civic ceremony at the Ribble Valley Borough Council Chamber.

Mr Mel Diack, who led the campaign to get Mr Brearley his medals, said: “It was an honour and a pleasure to have known Sam.

“Like so many veterans, he was modest about his role in the war and always said ‘I just did my bit.’

“He was a tremendous character, and I’ll always remember him for his smile and his sense of humour.”