Many Thanks to the New Milton ADVERTISER and TIMES for this excerpt Dated 9th October 1999 No 3722.
A NEW MILTON man, who enjoyed participating at steam fairs and rallies with his collection of melodeons and harmonicas, has died at the age of 76 from heart failure.
Cyril Brownen, of Manor Road, Died suddenly last week, leaving behind seven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was the youngest son of William, a carpenter, and Lettie, who lived at" At Last", on the corner of Station and Lymington Roads. His siblings included Dorothy, Arthur, Joan, Kathleen and Frieda.
Educated at New Milton Council school, Cyril left at the age of fourteen and worked as a delivery boy for Sharlands the greengrocers in the town. He later drove vans and lorries for many firms throughout his life. These included Wellworthy at Lymington, where he worked as a long-distance lorry driver, often going away for two to three weeks at a time. He worked for them twice; once for a period of thirteen years, the other for some seven years, and remained there until retirement.
During his working life he also was a milkman for a number of years, for Lightfoot's Dairies, Hordle, and Fulfords, Old Milton.
In 1942, when he was eighteen, Cyril joined the Navy, despite originally hoping to be chosen for the RAF. He was told by someone that if he volunteered early, he could get into the service of his choice. Cyril had visions of working on aircraft, but they put him in the Navy,
so years later he would joke that instead of seeing blue skies, he saw only the dark, dingy, depths of the engine rooms!
He served for five years and served on HMS Duke and the battleship HMS Revenge as a stoker. While in the Navy he went to South Africa where he visited Mombasa. there, he became a despatch rider, which nurtured his love for motorbikes.
Whilst still in the Navy, Cyril married his first wife Lilian Hill in January 1946. During this marriage, children Trevor (53), Gordon (51) and June (48) were born. In March 1965, Cyril married Alma Gallon at Lymington Register office, and they had children Glen (44), Dean (40), Adrian (35),John (29) and Tracey, who died in 1969 when she was only two. In later years, some sixteen grandchildren were born, as well as some great-grandchildren.
In 1947, Cyril moved to his home in Manor Road, where he remained until his death One of his many jobs after the war included driving tipper trucks which contained bomb rubble from Southampton. He also worked as a road sweeper for the council for a while, and drove coal and gravel lorries. He continued working as a lorry driver until his retirement.
Cyril will be remembered by his family and friends for his great love of gardening and how he always grew his own vegetables. He also loved anything mechanical, and enjoyed tinkering with engines and other pieces of machinery whilst in his shed or garden. He was known for making items in wood, including bird boxes, and miniature tables and chairs.
In the early 1950s, Cyril became one of the first in Manor Road to have a motorcar. He had two an Austin and a Morris Ten ,and he would hire them out. Cyril had to obtain special permission from the council to have a double gate, in order to accommodate the vehicles!
Whilst in better health, he often enjoyed taking walks, especially to Barton cliff top, and he used to comment on how much the cliffs had shrunk since he was a boy. He would tell people how he remembered playing football on an open field by the cliffs, where now the sea is. He also loved the Forest, in particular the gravel pit at Longslade Bottom.
Cyril, who owned some stationary engines, had a great passion for steam fairs and vintage rallies, and for many years would regularly attend them throughout the country and locally. In later years he took to playing his instruments at the events, in order to raise money for charity, in particular St. John Ambulance, of which he was a great supporter. He often used to joke about himself when he attended these events in his old Transit van, and described himself as an "Old age traveller!"
Through this, Cyril made many friends within the music circle, and the amateur music evenings, which he used to help run for a couple of years at New Milton Scout Hut, also meant he accumulated friends.
Many people remember Cyril's motor bike antics, which left people convinced he was as "mad as a hatter", due to the speeds he reached, and the risks he took. He used to boast about reaching speeds of over 100 mph along the A35, during a time when there was less traffic on the roads, and would often visit family members when his bikes got hot, to allow time for them to cool down. After the war, he helped to organise motorbike racing with his friends at Holmsley Aerodrome, and scrambling with road bikes at Longslade Bottom gravel pit, where some remember his wild driving, in an era well before "hells angels" and "rockers" were invented. He always took an interest in motorbikes, and followed all the associated sports, including T.T. and grass track racing.
In the later years, Cyril suffered badly from arthritis and bronchitis. His nephew Roy, who lives locally, took to helping him with his daily chores such as shopping, and chopping firewood.
Interment was took place Friday the 8 th October 1999 at 2.30 pm, at Hinton Park woodland burial ground. Attended by over 60 Mourners.
Reporter Lorna Brownen of the A&T (Granddaughter).