George Housego MBE (4 Mar 1921 - 25 Feb 2015)

Funeral Service

Location
St Johns Church Layhams Road West Wickham BR4 9HJ
Date
16th Mar 2015
Time
1pm
Funeral Director
F.A. Albin & Sons

Burial Details

Location
Beckenham Cemetery Elmers End Road Beckenham Kent BR3 4TD
Date
16th Mar 2015
Time
2.30pm

Funeral Reception

Location
The WarrenCroydon RoadHayes, BromleyBR2 7AL
Date
16th Mar 2015
Time
4pm

In loving memory of the late George Housego who sadly passed away on 25th February 2015

Richard Brown wrote

George dedicated much of his life to reconciliation and to helping fellow FEPOWs, wives and widows and it is fitting that in recognition of his service to the Far Eastern Prisoners of War Association he was awarded the MBE.

I had the pleasure of knowing George for a few years through the London FEPOW Club, COFEPOW, the Java 1942 Club and NFFWRA and I watched him representing the FEPOW community at the Poppy planting at Westminster Abbey and speaking at Canterbury Cathedral.

What always struck me about him was that he was always cheerful, optimistic and looking forward. He was even cheerful when my wife and I visited him just a few weeks before he died.

It’s sad that George will not be there to see it, but the London FEPOW Association flag is proudly displayed at St. Martin in the Fields church in Trafalgar Square, and it will be seen by over 900 people when the special service of Remembrance is held on 15th August this year – the seventieth anniversary of VJ (Victory over Japan) Day.

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  • I had the great pleasure and honour of working with George at Lambeth Council. I run a collection for his retirement leaving. The funds gathered was huge and it reflected his great popularity.You touuched my life greatly and you were a significant gift in my life. VERY FUNNY MAN, yet tough as iron. RIP George!!

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Richard Brown wrote

George dedicated much of his life to reconciliation and to helping fellow FEPOWs, wives and widows and it is fitting that in recognition of his service to the Far Eastern Prisoners of War Association he was awarded the MBE.

I had the pleasure of knowing George for a few years through the London FEPOW Club, COFEPOW, the Java 1942 Club and NFFWRA and I watched him representing the FEPOW community at the Poppy planting at Westminster Abbey and speaking at Canterbury Cathedral.

What always struck me about him was that he was always cheerful, optimistic and looking forward. He was even cheerful when my wife and I visited him just a few weeks before he died.

It’s sad that George will not be there to see it, but the London FEPOW Association flag is proudly displayed at St. Martin in the Fields church in Trafalgar Square, and it will be seen by over 900 people when the special service of Remembrance is held on 15th August this year – the seventieth anniversary of VJ (Victory over Japan) Day.

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Amanda Johnston wrote

I first met George at the London FEPOW Club reunion in Cliftonville several years ago. We sat in the hotel bar, where we had a couple drinks and he shared many of his memories of the Far East. I saw him many times after that, again at Cliftonvillle, but also at the Falcon in Stratford-upon-Avon, at the Japanese Embassy in London and at the Cenotaph. He was a lovely and gracious gentleman with a superb sense of humour - always cheerful and friendly. May he rest in peace.

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Graeme Elkington wrote

By David Tucker


I first met George when I was commissioned to create a series of animated portraits of veterans by the Not Forgotten Association.

I had arranged to meet seven veterans at the Union Jack Club back in December 2013, where I conducted interviews and took photographic studies for me to paint from.

It was here where I met George.

George arrived toward the end of the day and by then we had already recorded a number of fascinating interviews. As a portrait painter, it is natural for me to observe people’s characteristics as a way of finding out about that person. I will always remember the smile on George’s face, the gentle handshake and the kindness in his eyes when he entered the room.

Little did I know of the life those eyes must have seen, until I sat down and began his interview.

My sound recordist and I sat there listening as George begun to tell his story of his time as a Japanese Prisoner of War. We sat transfixed with his truly astonishing, yet harrowing, experiences. He spoke with such matter-of-factness, but I could see the emotion was sat just behind his eyes.

We must have sat there three times longer than the other interviews and yet I felt we had only just scratched the surface of George’s story. I remember an immense feeling of privilege and honour to have met him when I finally shook his hand to say goodbye that day.

In the following weeks whilst painting George, I would listen back over his interview. My children often sat with me listening and asking questions about the man I was painting.

I am glad my own children got to learn about George and hope his experiences lives on into another generation and will never be forgotten.

They say the window to someone’s soul is through the eyes and this I believe to be the case with George.

A man who had seen the darkest side of mankind and in the same breath, the strength, courage, camaraderie and kindness to survive it.


Thank you George

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Graeme Elkington wrote

George Housego Tributes

Neil:

We are here today not to be sad, but to celebrate the life of George Housego MBE, who without doubt, was the most inspirational man I have ever known.

He was a great mentor to me in particular. I will always remember his smile, his humour and his compassion. He had a charismatic quality that will live with me forever. George was a true father figure and a fantastic granddad.

He would often joke about his age, saying that they lost his birth certificate when he was young and that he was much younger than he actually was. George was never afraid of dying, as he had faced that many years ago during his truly incredible experiences in the second world war in the Far East.

When I was young, and when George first came into the lives of me, my mother and my brothers, I would make cups of tea at the weekend and for my reward I would get 30p a cup. I would make sure he drank lots of tea….

He was very loyal to us all, although one of his favourite phrases was ‘don’t let your mother know’ about some of the things I got up to as a teenager. This was borne out of a concern not to cause more stress than necessary to my mother in bringing up three boys.

I remember in particular our caravan trips to All-Hallows and trips to Devon and Cornwall. I recall him being so proud of his new car at the time – it was like being driven around in a roller coaster. George would indicate around bends, park five feet from the pavement and leave the car unlocked, but that was George.

He is my hero, my inspiration and my friend - God Bless George.



Graeme:

My father left my mother when I was ten. After a few years of sadness and worry, she started going out dating again. After meeting some completely unsuitable friends, my mother had the great fortune to meet this man George.

He would prove to be the one to take her out of her gloom, make her smile again and then spend the next 35 years continually making her laugh.

George brought fun and happiness to our home, as well as showing me practical things that a boy of my age needed to learn from a father, as well as some terrible card-tricks. I greatly appreciated and learnt from his friendship, his kindness and his tolerance.

He taught me many important things to do with buildings and construction. He gave me a steer towards the profession I have been in ever since, this is despite the experiences he and I shared when I was let loose as casual labour on building sites where he was the site manager. Health and safety concerns have changed immensely since those days and I can vouch for his well-worn, favourite phrase ‘don’t let your mother know’…..

George shared with our family over the years his memories of his experiences as a young man and as a prisoner of war in the Far East, which horrified and astounded us in equal measure. Over time we appreciated his fantastic sense of humour, his solidity and strength of character, which we realised had got him through those awful times. He did not forget but his forgiving nature, his positivity and humility had played a great part in enabling him to deal with them.

In later life, George enjoyed enormously his visits with my mother to Buckingham Palace, Lloyds of London, the Cenotaph, the Arboretum and numerous other places where he was involved with the British Legion, the Not Forgotten Association, FEPOWS and COFEPOWS. He visited Japan and the Far East and was involved with Reconciliation groups, leading to the award of his MBE.

He also in recent years shared his war-time experiences with primary schoolchildren, visiting schools to talk about his own personal history. When he visited my own daughter Emma’s school, all the children in her class were moved to write to him afterwards as they were so amazed and inspired to meet a man who had actually lived through that time.

This selflessness, his generosity and love will continue to inspire us all. He was a true father to me, a perfect granddad to our girls and we will all miss him.

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William Seakens wrote

In addition to being the Chairman of the London FEPOW Remembrance Social Club, George Housego M.B.E was also the Chairman and a Trustee of the Far East Prisoner of War Charitable Trust. For many years George has done unstinting welfare work for FEPOW's. George will be greatly missed.

Fellow Trustees
Far East Prisoner of War Charitable Trust

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Claire Herdman wrote

My dearest friend June,

Am sitting here thinking of George with a smile. What a wholly lovely lovely man he was, that calm and reflective manner, the way he had to instantly make you feel at ease and as if you'd known him for years. But Im smiling at remembering that chuckle of his, his sense of humour, his constant sense of fun and adventure, his love for life and people. A true gentleman through and through and a real pleasure to know him. My family and I will be thinking of you both on Monday. With love always, Claire xxx

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Margaret Martin wrote

Dear June, We remember George with great fondness. He epitomised the FEPOWs with his quiet dignity. The Java FEPOW Club salutes him and we will be thinking of George, and you on Monday. Love Margaret xx

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June Elkington wrote

To my George
Thank you George for the wonderful 36 years we have spent together.

All my love from your June xxx

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  • What a fabulous tribute.

    Posted by Claire on 13/03/2015 Report abuse
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