Dunkirk film sparks memories for Barcombe’s oldest resident

Oldest Barcombe resident Bert Norbury was born in 1916
Oldest Barcombe resident Bert Norbury was born in 1916

The oldest man in Barcombe has reminisced about the day he was reunited with his brother after the Dunkirk evacuation, inspired by the recent film.

Bert Norbury, who is 101 years old, remembered finding his younger brother Stanley in 1940 after watching the film at the Uckfield Picturehouse – his first cinema trip in 50 years.

“The film was very moving,” said Bert, who found his brother – evacuated from France on a barge – safe at Portsmouth. “Seeing him again was the most emotional time of my life.”

Bert was born in Chatham, Kent, in 1916 and served in the Royal Horse Artillery before working as a mounted police officer in London. He later ran The Chalk Pit pub, Offham, with his wife Hilda, taking over The Royal Oak in Barcombe in 1968. Bert cared for Hilda, who suffered dementia, until her death in 2014. The couple were happily married for 71 years.

Bert has three grandchildren, Tracy, 49, Phillip, 47, and Robert, 32, and great-granddaughters Leanne, 21, and Emma, 17.

“He is a man of few words,” said his daughter Christine Hills. “A perfect gentleman and politeness personified.”

Son-in-law Mike said Bert still occasionally enjoyed painting and playing the piano. “I find it fascinating,” he said. “I don’t know any 100-year-olds, let alone 101.”