Sgt Julian (Jack) Waring Reid
Soldier and fervent anti-fascist
Julian (Jack) Waring Reid was born 20th September 1918 at 162, Nelson Road, Whitton, Twickenham, where he lived until his 17th birthday when he decided to join the International Brigade to fight the fascist forces of General Franco in the developing Spanish civil war. Hailed a hero for his bravery in rescuing a fallen comrade under heavy fire, his distraught parents were desperate get him home. So much so, that they wrote to the then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who arranged for a meeting with the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, who organised the underage volunteer’s repatriation.
With the spread of fascism fast threatening peace in Europe, Jack joined the Army Reserve Militia in July 1939 and was posted to the 27th Field Regiment. He became a spotter in November 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force with the 75th Field Regiment Royal Artillery. A spotter was responsible for concentrating the maximum firepower onto the enemy lines, and therefore a prime target.
Jack narrowly escaped death during the evacuation of Dunkirk when his rescue ship was torpedoed. After fighting in North Africa, he was one of the first to survive the D-Day landings, going on to see action in Holland and Denmark before the capture and occupation of Germany. Throughout all of these adventures, Jack put his good fortune down to his lucky carriage clock, hand painted with all the places he had been and which he carried with him everywhere.
In January 1946, however, just four days before he was due to return home, Jack forgot his lucky clock and was killed by a freight train on a railway crossing In Germany. He was 27 years old. His grave was never visited by his remaining family and its exact location was forgotten until 27th September 2017 when his nephew James Rand along with his brother Peter celebrated their late uncle's birthday by reuniting the carriage clock next to his gravestone.
The carriage clock and related ephemera attaching this article have been donated to The Twickenham Museum by James Rand.