Jean Peacock (1926-2006)

wantingcaution !! this is an initial draft ... these notes are on my server for safe keeping !!




At Sherlowe 

Jean Peacock (1926-2006), was our one and only cousin, born in 1926. 

As our 'one and only' there was no doubt that Jean deserved a page of her own? Jean's first born, David and his wife Lynda took time out in 2018 and recorded their memories of the eventful and happy life of cousin Jean ... thanks!

We remembered Jean with locks & locks of auburn hair and always smiling.

We remembered David as an enthusiastic youngster, probably only 4 or 5, who regularly visited Great Aunt Eda at The Briars ... and he always loved to play with our Hornby Dublo model railway. Much more exciting than listening to 'the wrinklies' who were bent on indulging themselves with boring family gossip.


Ricky BirchJean first married Ricky Birch (1923-51), an RAF fighter pilot who was tragically killed in a 'Mosquito' accident in 1951.

Jean and Ricky had a son David.

David Richard Birch Brandon (1947-2018) was first married in Amsterdam on 2nd Feb 1966 to Mijnderdina Pasteuning and divorced in 1981. They had two children, Stephanie, born 18th August, 1966 and Marc Richard, born 30th January, 1974. Steph lives outside Los Angeles with husband Garry Edwards and daughter Lara (almost 19) and Marc lives in Borowra, near Sydney with wife Natasha and 12 year old daughter, Emelia.

In 1982 David married Lynda a Liverpool girl who was tops with family history. David and Lynda married 5th January 1982 and lived in Brighton before moving full time to the Lot Valley in south-west France in March 1998. A small stone house had been bought in 1989 and is now their permanent abode ... they have been living in south-west France for 20 years.

And in 2018 David and Lynda filled in the gaps in our memory about our one and only cousin, we felt ashamed ... many thanks and for the wonderful photos ... worth hundreds of words.

David remembered 'Pop', as George W was always known. He enjoyed vivid memories of the workshop in Carlton road and the smell of the wood shavings. David also had very clear memories of playing with our model trains ... happy memories ... and how wonderful to still have the 3-rail layout and The Duchess of Atholl engine ... somewhere under the dust in gararge at The Meister.   

Lots of wonderful old photos were still in good condition and worth hundreds of words. Not too many of Ricky, as he was killed so young on 22nd January, 1951, when David was only 3. But an amazing letter from the Ministry of Defence detailed his fatal crash and there was also his service record. Ricky was in Bomber Command and flew Lancasters and Mosquitos and was killed in low level night time bombing practice, flying a Mosquito.

David Birch BrandonDavid jotted down all his memories of his father and sent them on. More on his family history followed a visit 12 years ago back in the UK which included Northwich and Middlewich ... and 79 Carlton Rd ... and the Newton Brewery Inn. They met up with a previously unknown second cousin of David's, John Pemberton, who had fully researched a lot of the Birch family history and went to Shropshire to visit Bomere Heath, where Ricky was born.

Two wonderful photographic portraits of Ada Smallwood, aged 22 appeared. Magical.

 David enjoyed a good early retirement deal from British Airways, for whom he worked as cabin crew for 20 years. He previously had numerous different jobs, including spells with the Sussex Police and the Brighton motor trade. Aged 16 David ran away from home at the Fox and Hounds pub in Haywards Heath to the big lights of Brighton. This was a traumatic time, finding life difficult with his new step-father Squadron Leader Lewis Brandon.

We restablished contact with David through a DNA match with step sister Felicity. Tragically only a matter of days after a flow of catch up emails David died of a ruptured renal artery ... wot a bummer ...

RIP David Birch Tuesday 21st August 2018.   


Jean second married Squadron Leader Lewis Brandon (1911-) DSO, DFC & bar, an RAF navigator who wrote about his exploits in his book 'Night Flyer'. Jean & Lew had a daughter Felicity.


Felicity Ann Kemp neé Brandon (1954-) born in Nottingham and married ?? Kemp (-) and went to live in USA around 1978. Felicity had three children (at least)? Felicity Kemp has lived in America since around 1978.

In 2018 we located Felicity, David's half sister, after a DNA match on!

Felicity forwarded our Birchall family history to David & Lynda. David refused to touch a computer, so Lynda stepped into the breach.

JEAN BRANDON née Peacock
born 7th November 1926, Northwich died 4th September 2006, Chichester

Jean is primarily remembered for her elegance, poise and exquisite dress sense. She always looked as if she had stepped from the cover of 'Vogue' , and indeed, maintained a subscription to the publication well into her seventies. She was a talented seamstress and knitter and made all her own clothes. She was also a wonderful cook and catered professionally, after Lew had left the RAF.

Jean also had a good sense of fun and was modest about her talents. She was down to earth and worked immensely hard her whole life.

Jean with Mum & DadShe had a happy childhood living in 79 Carlton Road, Northwich, her grandfather, George W Birchall's home with her parents, Winifred and Bill Peacock.

Jean trained as a fashion model at the renowned Lucie Clayton's in Bond St and then worked as a model for a short period before marrying at 19, Ricky Birch, a 22 year old pilot in the RAF. The marriage took place in Northwich Parish Church on 19th December 1945 and their son, David Richard was born 19th May, 1947.

Tragically, Ricky was killed in a flying accident at Wainfleet on 22nd January, 1951 while practising shallow dive bombing attacks in a Mosquito.

Jean, now still only 24 years old, returned to Carlton Rd, as her parents were able to help look after 3 and a half year old David, while she resumed her modeling career. She photographed particularly well in hats and her face was used to launch the famous 'Kangol' beret. She worked hard and travelled all over Britain.

Whilst working in Nottingham in late 1952, a friend persuaded her to attend a party at the local RAF station at Watnall and there she met RAF Squadron Leader Lewis Brandon, whom she married on 25th April, 1953. In October the same year, David was officially adopted by Lewis Brandon. He had been married previously and had 2 daughters, Susan and Rosemary.

Jean, Lew and David all lived in an RAF house at 25, Thackerays Lane, Nottingham and on August 23rd, 1954, Felicity Ann was born.

Night FlyerThe following year, Lew left the RAF on 12th June and the family moved to Melton Mowbray to run a petrol filling station on the Grantham Rd. Jean started making meat pasties and apples pies for the truck drivers and did a roaring trade, but David was developing severe migraines and the doctor advised a move south to the coast The family moved to Brighton in 1959 after buying the Rex Hotel in Dorset gardens. Jean was kept busy cooking for guests, while Lew wrote his book 'Night Flyer'.

In around 1961, developers offered them a sum to vacate the property and they moved to Haywards Heath to take over the tenancy of the Fox and Hounds Inn at Foxhill. (another link to pubs and beer in the family!)

Meanwhile Jean's parents, Winifred and Bill Peacock, decided to move south from Northwich to join them. Winifred's father, George W Birchall, (Pop) with whom they had lived, had died around 1959 and Bill had retired from his job as a chemist at ICI. They sold the house in Carlton Rd and came to join Jean and Lew, having their own accommodation within the pub.

In the seventies, Jean and Lew moved to Bognor Regis and opened a fabric business, called 'Fabrique', where customers could choose fabrics and have them made expertly on the premises thanks to Jean's dressmaking talents. Her parents also moved to Bognor Regis ... Bill Peacock died of a heart attack in 1977, while queuing to pay the bill in the Electricity Showrooms.

The economic downturn caused the Fabrique to close at the end of the decade and resourceful as ever, they answered an Ad in 'The Lady' magazine and began a new career as live in housekeeper and chauffeur/gardener, living in several wonderful houses in Kent and Sussex. Jean's mother, Winifred, died on 29th April 1983 in a nursing home in Chichester.

Jean and Lew eventually retired from this work, but stayed in Sussex . After living in Rottingdean and Littlehampton, they moved to a retirement flat in Hove, not far from son David and his wife Lynda, both working for British Airways.

Jean worked at Liberty's in Brighton until she was 70, loving the fabric business and still running up wonderful creations from the Liberty fabrics, she was able to buy at a staff discount.

Lew died on 22nd April 2002 in Brighton, aged 90. Jean now in her seventies, sadly developed Alzheimers and died on 4th September, 2006 in Chichester, after several years in a care home close to her granddaughter, Stephanie, who was living in Bognor Regis with her husband Garry and daughter Lara.


Any corrections and additional information gratefully received contact john p birchall

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