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Halesworth veteran shares fond memories of war friend

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 November 2016

Veteran Bryan Samain, 91, from Halesworth meets Peter Winston the nephew of his best friend of the same name who died during battle in Holland in 1945. 

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Veteran Bryan Samain, 91, from Halesworth meets Peter Winston the nephew of his best friend of the same name who died during battle in Holland in 1945. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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A Halesworth war veteran has been united with the nephew of his late best friend after more than 70 years without contact with the family.

War comrade Peter Winston.War comrade Peter Winston.

Bryan Samain was an officer with 45 Royal Marine Commando when he met and served with lieutenant Peter Winston, who died in action during the Second World War in January 1945, aged 20.

By chance Mr Winston’s nephew, also named Peter Winston, saw an article on the Beccles and Bungay Journal website written about Mr Samain and it prompted him to buy his book Commando Men, which is dedicated to his comrade.

Mr Winston contacted The Journal who put the two in touch and last Thursday Mr Winston travelled from his home in Limington, Somerset, to have lunch with Mr Samain at The Angel in Halesworth.

Mr Samain, 91, said he had enjoyed a lovely afternoon with his sons and Mr Winston. “Its 70 years since I’ve seen Peter’s uncle, but from the photos, looking at him and my memory I would say there is a family likeness. We had a long talk and I filled him in with a lot of details about Peter’s wartime service with me in Holland.

“I found out much more about his sporting achievements at school in Croydon. He was captain of his cricket team and we exchanged one or two photographs.

“It was a very pleasant, happy and momentous occasion. We got on extremely well and we will certainly be staying in touch. There has never been a time since 1945 where there’s been a chance to have any contact with the family. It really was the paper that brought us together, that’s the story in my book.”

Mr Samain and Mr Winston trained together as officer cadets in the Royal Marines. Mr Winston later went on to have a remarkable adventure, which saw him parachute into France the night before D-Day. He was dropped in the wrong place and together with an RAF squadron leader he was helped by the resistance to get across France from Normandy to Bordeaux. However when he arrived he was captured by the head of the Gestapo and thrown into prison.

Mr Samain’s book describes how Mr Winston escaped, was rescued and eventually brought back to the UK, before he rejoined 45 Commando where he served until his death in Holland.

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