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Mr Ken Lindup

07 October 1919 - 26 February 2014

Kenneth James Lindup was born on the 7th October 1919 in Chirk, North Wales and lived in the small village of St. Martins in North Shropshire, one of six brothers and 2 sisters.

Ken left school at 14 and went to work with his father Joseph and older brother Joe Jnr down the coal mine at Ifton Heath. Ken didn’t like working down the pit, his only real liking at the time was football, he played for several local teams and was good at the sport, he was so good he was spotted by a local scout and was invited for 2 trials at Everton Football Club.

On the 9th August 1938 at the age of 18 Ken was so keen to get out of mining he joined up with the Coldstream Guards and became Guardsman 4033653 Lindup, which kicked his football career into touch. After basic training he was billeted at Chelsea Barracks and was involved with most of the ceremonial duties around London. Changing the guard at Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace, Kensington Palace, Clarence House and the Bank of England to name a few. In 1939 he even trooped the colour on the King’s official Birthday.

At the outbreak of WW11 Ken was on manoeuvres on the Salisbury Plains when they were called back to barracks and within a few weeks they were in the thick of it. In May 1940 during a skirmish with the enemy at Louvain on the Albert Canal, Ken was shot in the thigh and ankle. With this injury Ken was transported back to England for treatment, fortunately for Ken this little diversion caused him to miss Dunkirk. The family always joked that he was a pain in the arse.

After a few weeks recuperating at home in St. Martins, Ken received a telegram ordering him to report back to barracks. On arrival at the barracks he was told he was going on a 6 week cruise. This cruise entailed dodging submarines in the Atlantic, rounding the Cape and ending up the Suez Canal at Port Tufik somewhere in the back of Egypt. This was the start of Ken’s Africa experience.

At first he was given the role of personal driver to a Major Wadilove and had to drive him in a 3-ton Bedford truck from Cairo to Tel Aviv in Israel. He was there for 6 weeks; he said it was a good holiday considering. After his little holiday Ken went on to join the 3rd Battalion into battle in the dessert and was eventually taken prisoner of war on the 29th June 1942 by Rommel’s Afrika Korps during the Siege of Tobruck. He was held prisoner by the Italians first in Maserati and then around the Ancona region in northern Italy. He and other prisoners were put to work in the fields planting rice; they planted acres of plants but with the roots bent upwards so they wouldn’t grow. Ken told his family that this was his war effort.

When Mussolini capitulated they woke to find all the guards had gone, so they all scattered and tried somehow to get back to England. Ken and 3 others made it close to the Swiss border but were caught by the German Gestapo. They were transported to Stalag 11A, a punishment camp at Magdeburg for four months (the worst one Ken said) and then to Stalag 11B at Falling Bostal, near Hannover. After a few weeks they were put to work in the Herman Goering steel works, but refused to work. Again they were sent to another punishment camp at Algermission, near Hildeshiem on black bread and water rations supplemented with boiled potatoes once a week for 6 weeks. During work parties Ken along with some of the other prisoners tried to escape several times but were always recaptured after a short while and punished. Being modest he said it was more to break the boredom than anything, but we all think there was more to it than that.

When the Russians eventually started to push though Eastern Germany, the Germans were absolutely petrified of them and the prisoners were forced marched for several weeks to get away from them until the Americans found them and liberated them. David, his son said “How could my dad have done all this?”.

On arriving home he was asked by a friend in the guards (also a POW) who lived in the next village to let his family know how and where he was. Ken then met his friend’s sister, Jeane Ward. Jeane became the apple of his eye and they married in 1945. Ken and Jeane settled down to married life in the village of Gobowen in North Shropshire and had 2 children, Anne and David.

Ken had a job driving a wagon for a local transport company, before taking up the stewardship of the Gobowen Working Mens Club. After several years they took over the stewardship of the Royal British Legion Club in Newtown, Montgomeryshire.

In 1965 they took over as Licensees of the Half Way House pub in Caergwrle, North Wales, but unfortunately that didn’t work out and Ken, Jeane and David move to Birmingham to temporarily stay with Kens sister Eunice in Stirchley, Birmingham. Ken started work as a security officer at the Joseph Lucas factory in Shirley and worked there until he retired.

Kens wife Jeane passed away suddenly in 1998 and was a great loss for him, but his family were so proud of him coping with Jeane’s passing. The following year he was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and following major surgery to remove some of the bowel he made a full recovery.

In 2012 Ken was finding it difficult looking after himself at his little flat in Shirley and after a short illness and a spell in hospital, he moved into the Royal Star and Garter Home in Solihull on the 4th April 2012, where he has been well looked after. In fact David and Anne couldn’t have found a better place for him to spend his last years.

During Ken’s life he had to endure some awful experiences but he did so with fortitude and he remained a gentleman till the end. He was kind, funny, modest, loving, loyal and brave. He loved a joke, but woe betide anyone who upset him, he would stand his corner or anyone else’s if he thought it necessary. In addition to his 5 grandchildren Ken also had 3 great-granddaughters and a great-great-granddaughter.