Celebrate VE Day heroes says Lanes director and combat dealer Bruce

Lanes Group plc director and Combat Dealers TV star Bruce Crompton has appealed for everyone to not let the Coronavirus pandemic stop them remembering the VE Day heroes.

Extensive plans to mark the 75th anniversary of the Victory in Europe during World War Two on Friday 8th May have been cancelled because of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.

But Bruce, who is the Lanes Board Director responsible for the company’s Rail Division, said that should not prevent us all remembering the sacrifice made by millions of servicemen and women and civilians to bring the war in Europe to a close.

He added: “Sadly, the planned events, many involving the last few veterans and family members still with us, won’t being going ahead. It would have been a fitting and timely tribute to those who served, but who are getting fewer in number every year.

“But we can’t let Covid-19 beat us. I would ask everyone to spend two minutes on Friday remembering those who gave their lives and suffered during the terrible conflict of World War Two. We’re having a tough time now with Covid-19, but it’s nothing compared with what they went through.”

Bruce will be marking VE Day on the TV. He is appearing in a special VE Day edition of his Combat Dealers programme at 8pm on the Discovery Channel.

The programme, which records Bruce’s passion for military history and memorabilia, is so popular on the international TV channel that eight other episodes of Combat Dealers are being shown between 8am and midnight. Fellow Lanes Rail Director Huseyin Ibrahim, who supports Bruce’s military memorabilia work, also features in the shows.

Bruce explained: “For the VE Day special, I hosted a party for WW2 veterans and their family members and get to hear their stories. What they experienced, both the veterans and their relatives on the home front, was truly humbling. I learned so much.”

Bruce, aged 63, experienced his own battle for life last year as a result of a serious parachute accident while preparing for another major WW2 anniversary – 75 years since D-Day, the Normandy Landings.

A former member of the British Parachute Regiment, he took part in a training jump in Holland and landed into a tree – then fell 42 feet to the ground, causing multiple injuries that nearly cost him his life.

After weeks in intensive care and major operations, Bruce is still on the road to recovery, but is back working for Lanes – from home during the lockdown – and is proud of the company’s contribution during the Coronavirus crisis.

“Our drainage and utility teams are key workers and Lanes is delivering an essential service and I’m proud of every one of them,” said Bruce.

“They’re keeping sewers flowing and, on the London Underground, carrying out emergency maintenance, so people like NHS personnel and care workers can get to work during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Covid-19 has, in many ways, brought out the best of British in many of us, and has created some unlikely, such as Captain Tom Moore, the 100-year-old WW2 Army veteran who has raised nearly £33m for the NHS by walking around his garden 100 times.

Bruce said: “Captain Moore is an unbelievable hero. I think the man’s phenomenal. He fought in tanks in Burma which, in the tropical heat, is a superhuman thing to do. Now he’s brought the nation together at a difficult time and brought out the best in all of us. Fantastic!”

Bruce, himself, is supporting the Clap for Our Carers campaign which encourages people to go out and clap for health and care workers every Thursday night at 8pm. He is promoting the campaign’s t-shirts, available through Kindred, which raise money for the NHS charity Together.

Most of all, thought, Bruce has not lost his huge passion for military history and his own personal hero, Winston Churchill.

This is epitomised by his pride in saving Winston Churchill’s bath from the scrap heap. The bath was discovered, decades ago, as Lanes teams were clearing out a former WW2 command post at the now disused Down Street underground station in Mayfair.

“It turned out to have been one of Sir Winston Churchill’s underground bunker headquarters along with accommodation. Among the items to be cleared was a bath from his personal bathroom where it is likely he smoked a cigar and drank a glass of Champagne which is what he is known to have done while having a soak.

“Fortunately, it was removed in one piece and, before being skipped like everything else, we chose to salvage it to keep alive the memory of, in my humble opinion, of our country’s greatest leader.”

Bruce will definitely be remembering the VE Day heroes on Friday. He might even be doing so in Churchill’s bath.

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