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Paul Stuart Brailsford

Paul Stuart Brailsford of 12 Linebrook Rd, Ipswich has “crossed the bar” and sailed into safe harbor at age ninety-six.

Born in North London, England during the Great War, Paul’s father was a dentist, his mother a concert cellist who lived to be 109.  Paul was sent as a young boy to England’s most famous and harshest naval training school aboard the Training Ship Mercury, where boys were given numbers, slept aboard in hammocks under one blanket to endure the cold mists of the Hamble River.  Drills were often held barefoot, scantily dressed, while standing on coal cinders.   The Head of School, assigned him his number and said, “Boy 5426, we will make you or break you.”   T.S. Mercury graduates went directly into the British Navy or the Merchant Marine.

Paul started at $75 a year in a four year apprenticeship with the British Tanker Company delivering gasoline to Europe. He immigrated to New Zealand and reached the highest grade, Master Mariner, licensed to sail any ship in any sea.  Inn 1943 Paul was ship’s Master in an enormous convoy to supply Gen. MacArthur’s force invading the Phillipines.   In the Battle of Leyte Gulf under Kamikaze attack,   Paul experienced the horror of war, and, like most of his generation, vowed to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”(U.N. Charter)

After 18 years at sea commanding banana and sugar ships, tankers, and cruise ships all around the globe, Paul came ashore, or as he said, “swallowed the anchor.” In 1949 he married the talented writer and artist Frances Wosmek and raised two children, Brian and Robin, in Beverly Farms.  In 1959 their family was chosen in a scholarly competition as the All American Family for Massachusetts, and was in the top 10 in the later national completion.   He worked in sales for several companies before forming Brailsford Associates, where he invented, or was first to introduce, many innovations to the fishing industry.

Paul’s passion for life was apparent in his poetry, love of Greek music and dancing, public speaking, painting, and most visibly in his intense efforts on behalf of peace and justice.  In 1990 he was founding President of the Samantha Smith Chapter 45 of Veterans for Peace, a national organization of veterans whose goal is the abolition of war, as the only means to avoid the ultimate nuclear catastrophe.  In 1990 Paul was invited to Moscow as the guest of World War II Soviet war veterans and in 1991 was part of a delegation to Havana, Cuba.   He was part of huge gatherings annually at Fort Benning, Georgia, the training base for repressive military forces in Latin America.  After the U.S. attack and invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 Paul helped found the North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice.

Paul used his lifelong ability to write compelling prose, as a writer of many Op Eds and Letters to the Editor.  He has spoken passionately and persuasively in countless public assemblies and forums and always held high the hope of a world beyond war.  In fair weather and foul, on bright days and dark, Paul became a widely known figure on the North Shore, both controversial and popular.  He has been “no summer patriot, but truly a winter soldier.”  (Thomas Jefferson)

In 2005 Paul invited 70 friends to be his honored guests at a dinner dance beautifully served and offered by the 1640 Hart House in Ipswich.  Congressman John Tierney attended with his wife and addressed the celebration of Paul’s 90th birthday saying,

I can think of no one who has worked longer and harder to promote the ideals of peace, justice, and nonviolence than you have, Paul. Veterans for Peace has become a strong voice on the North Shore in search of peaceful solutions to global conflicts.  You have been tireless in your advocacy and relentless in your pursuit of justice and democracy throughout the world.”

Paul, after two marriages, is survived by his son Brian, a marine surveyor of East Boothbay Maine, and daughters, Robin Brailsford, a public artist of Delzura, California, and Melanie King, flying with Delta Airlines, of Seattle.   There are many nieces and nephews in England.

Paul has been an active member of the North Shore Unitarian Church in Danvers, where a celebration of his life will be held on Saturday May 12 at 10am. All are warmly invited, reception to follow. Arrangements by the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name may be made to Veterans for Peace, c/o 1 High Street, Ipswich 01938 or the North Shore U.U. Church, 323 Locust Street, Danvers, MA 01923.

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