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Benjamin Ferguson

Benjamin Ferguson 1927 - 2005

It was a short while after the September 'live' auction at our all-day meeting we heard that Ben had been taken into hospital although we had no indication as to the reason or to which one. It was early November that our Secretary received a call from Ben's brother David to say that Ben had a brain tumour the prognosis of which was bad - it was incurable and he was not expected to live beyond a few months. We were therefore surprised to find that he was at home in early January 2005, but later learnt that having been told there was no cure he had discharged himself and returned home to be in familiar surroundings. It was with great sadness that we heard that Ben died on Sunday 27th February.

Benjamin Ferguson, to give him his full name, was born in Edinburgh on 3rd May 1927. He was the eldest of three (his sister Ella was born in 1929 and brother David was born in 1934). Ben and Ella were raised by an aunt and David by a foster mother when their parents died tragically within three months in 1939. Ben's interest in things military was shown in his early pre-teen years when during these hard times he cut and coloured armies of paper soldiers. At Larbert Central School he was awarded the "Dux" medal for his scholastic achievements.

Ben's working life began at the age of 15 in the office of Carron Ironworks in Falkirk. The company was famed in the 19th century for cannons - Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory, was equipped with the famous "Carronade" naval gun (also known as the "Smasher") - and in the 20th century for making Britain's famous red telephone boxes and post boxes. But after a few months he moved and found employment in the General Post Office (GPO) at Falkirk. Towards the end of the Second World War found Ben in the in the Army serving with the Royal Engineers (Postal Section). His service with the Army Postal Service took in such places as Algeria (where he arrived on 4 May 1946 and closed the last British APO there - APO S.401 with datestamp FPO 601 at HQ Army Troops North Africa on 8 October 1946); then Italy, Austria, Trieste and Pola in 1947 (this latter location with 13th Infantry Brigade FPO with datestamp FPO 748) before moving with the Brigade to BAOR from where he was demobilised. In his early twenties at the end of his military service in 1948 he returned first to Falkirk then to Edinburgh Post Office. He later moved to GPO Headquarters in London and it was in London that he met and married Cynthia in 1957; they had no children. They stayed for a year or two in Ebury Street, Victoria, London SW, before moving to the suburbs of Wimbledon. In 1969 Ben joined the Civil Service and worked at the Home Office (latterly in the Prison Service administration) for some 18 years where he reached the grade of Senior Executive Officer by the time he retired.

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