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Thomas Burke OBE

Discussion in 'WWII Era Obituaries (non-military service)' started by GRW, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    From The Guardian.
    "My father, Thomas Burke, who has died aged 94, was born into a close-knit but poor family in Stepney, east London. His father was a dock labourer, and his mother brought up five children. His early life was enhanced by joining Broad Street boys' club, one of the Highways Clubs managed by John Hoare, a much-admired and intellectually gifted Quaker who had been a conscientious objector in the first world war.
    Tom had to leave school at 14, taking labouring jobs to boost the family finances. Hoare's invitation to him in 1940 to go to Spiceland Quaker training centre in Devon, to prepare for relief work, was a big turning point for Tom. His belief that there is that of God in everyone – one of the central Quaker testimonies – led to his absolutist position as a conscientious objector and imprisonment for a year. He worked to alleviate the suffering of people whose lives had been severely disrupted by war, taking provisions to those sheltering in bomb shelters and running a rest centre in Stepney at the height of the London blitz. He joined the Friends Relief Service to work in postwar Germany among refugees and displaced people. "There was much rebuilding to be done," he said, "not just of bricks and mortar but of confidence and hope for the future.""

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