Oscar "Brum" Thurling

Author: Sandra Copas
Date published: 22/04/2017
© Sandra Copas

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©Sandra Copas

Oscar “Brum” Thurling                                                                                  (grave: W23)

Oscar was known as “Brum” through his adult and working life because he came from Birmingham. He was the second son of Oscar and Agnes Mary, nee Scollay.

He attended Acocks Green Senior mixed school where he received the education he was so proud of and never ceased to praise. Apprenticed to Midland Electrical Manufacturers, he became a machine Tool Setter. During the war, despite his being a reserved occupation, he volunteered as an Air Gunner in the RAF and survived various crashes. It was while flying bombers that he met the actor Clark Gable: Gabby to his friends. When aircrew were no longer needed, he volunteered to drive supplies around the Middle East, from Tripoli and over the Sinai Desert to the Gaza Strip and on. At the end of the war he met his future wife, Cynthia Mary Copas, in the Sergeants Mess, 51 MT Company, by the Bitter Lakes. They married at St Nicolas Church, Newbury on 29th. August, 1949.

 They lived in Rugby, where Brum served as a policeman and they planned to sail to Australia. However, they bought a huge, old house in Swan Street, Kingsclere instead and spent over 15 years restoring it. He was a talented carpenter, cabinet maker and also worked as an electrician.

 In the early 1970s they fulfilled a dream of living by the sea, running a B&B and the Post Office stores at Mawgan Porth in Cornwall and working as a baker at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel, where he was known for making melt-in-the-mouth croissants.  Cooking was a hobby: bread making and grinding spices for curries and pasta. He also enjoyed music and reading.

Brum died in 1996 and there was an investigation into whether his illness was attributable to working with asbestos at the time of the construction of the Didcot power station. 

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