Eastenders actress June joined at the tender age of 17 and completed her basic training in Balloch, Scotland before joining the WRENS
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Iconic soap actress June Brown, who died at the age of 95 She was a national hero both on and off screen.
The veteran actor known and loved for playing chainsmokers point cotton at BBC soap East of She spent her life fulfilling many unexpected roles – not the least of which was serving in the armed forces during World War II.
The Suffolk-born television icon was evacuated to the Welsh village of Pontyates in Carmarthenshire during the Second World War.
Towards the end of the war she served as a young woman in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS) and was stationed in Scotland.
June joined at the tender age of 17 and completed her basic training at Balloch.
But Brown was less than impressed with her new surroundings — despite having spent her childhood with unimaginable losses up to that point.
June never got over losing her big sister Marise when she was just eight years old, three years after the death of her brother John Peter.
She told the Scottish Herald in an unearthed interview in 2013 that she “had no desire to return to the beautiful shores of Loch Lomond – it would bring back too many unpleasant memories.” Scrubbing floors at five in the morning! I just wasn’t used to it.”
The treasury had hoped to train as an aircraft mechanic, but instead became a cinema operator.
June had the grueling task of showing the horrific newsreel films coming out of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
She was hired for the job as she was the only projectionist in Ardentinny in Argyll. “It was extremely shocking for an 18-year-old girl. We were a very innocent generation,” she said previously.
She was stationed in south-east England before being sent back to Scotland at the end of the war.
Here she fell in love with the handsome sub-lieutenant Colin Parsey.
They became lovers and saw each other occasionally during the conflict, at one point staying together as husband and wife in a small hotel.
“That was pretty common during the war as you might not see the other person for some time. There was no certainty during the war.”
Despite her unsavory job and the apparent circumstances, Brown previously shared how she had a good war.
She was spared lovesickness, perhaps for the first time in her life after such a tragic childhood.
“It’s awful to say, but I’ve never lost anyone. I had so much fun,” she remarked.
She discovered acting while in the Navy and won a place at the Old Vic Theater School in London after the end of the war.
There she met her first husband John Garley – unfortunately he took his own life in 1957.
The following year she remarried Robert Arnold and the couple were together for 45 years until his death in 2003.
Their four-and-a-half decades together were far from quiet, as they had six children together in just seven years – although their second daughter, Chloe, was born prematurely and sadly died.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/how-june-brown-helped-war-26634614 How June Brown helped the war effort by joining the Royal Navy in World War II