Ian Bremner (C1 1937-41)
Ian was born in 1923 in Brasted, Kent, and grew up at Thatches, the thatched house built for his parents on nearby Brasted Chart by his maternal grandfather. His younger brother Christopher was born four years later, with Treacher-Collins syndrome, a rare calcium deficiency which required a great deal of medical care, special schools, and one of the earliest ‘portable’ hearing aids the size of a large briefcase full of batteries!
At 8, Ian was sent to Pinewood boarding school, followed by Marlborough College. It was at Marlborough College that he learned to love music, singing in the choir and playing the trumpet in the orchestra. He left Marlborough in 1942 at the height of the war, but because he had obtained a place at Trinity College Cambridge (like his father), National Service was postponed, and he spent two years at Trinity, studying mathematics to start with and then switching to Engineering. Here too he followed his father by rowing for Trinity, and was able to develop his musical talents, on one occasion singing in the Cambridge University Musical Society at Kings College under the direction of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
On graduation in 1944, he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a ‘Probationary Temporary Electrical Midshipman RNVR’, specialising in ASDIC. Following initial training in Gourock, he was posted to the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla in charge of the maintenance of all the ASDIC sets. Although he was officially attached to HMS Myngs, the flotilla leader, in practice he spent most of the time on HMS Zephyr. When he left the Navy in 1947, by now promoted to Lieutenant, he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Supplementary Reserve (RNVSR). He has maintained a lifelong interest in the ships of Royal Navy. Ian taught himself to sail while in the RN, and afterwards bought a 10 ft ex-RN dinghy.
Ian and Dinah were married at Sundridge in 1949, and after a honeymoon in war-torn Brittany moved to a flat in the Old Brompton Road in London, where Ian worked at Shipping World, and Dinah was a physiotherapist at St Thomas’s Hospital. In 1950, son David was born and Richard was born in December 1952.
Ian retired from journalism in 1985, and started a new career as a smallholder at Green Hayes Farm, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire where he and Dinah expanded the flock of sheep to a maximum of about 70 ewes on the 32 acre property, and built a major extension on to this property, the original part of which has been dated back to 1610–1630.
From 2005, Dinah began to suffer from vascular dementia, gradually losing more and more memory. Ian looked after her with infinite patience, unaided and never needing a break. In 2011 his son Rick came to live with them and in 2012 Dinah was moved to the West Eaton nursing home. Ian continued to visit her three times a week until she died on 6 September 2018, a month after their 69th wedding anniversary.
Ian continued to take an active interest in all his family affairs despite decreasing mobility and thoroughly enjoyed his 99th birthday party on 6 June 2022. He died peacefully on 26 July 2022.
To read more about Ian’s life, please visit the Bremner family website.