Appeal for mourners for Horsham World War 2 hero

The Royal British Legion is calling on people to attend the funeral of a Horsham World War Two veteran.

Donald Wilfred Puttock, who served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, died on December 7 last year, aged 93.

Don served in Normandy during the Second World War, and was a member of the Royal British Legion from 1948.

But before Don died he feared who would organise his funeral as he didn’t have any close family, according to Royal British Legion Horsham branch chairman Nigel Caplin.

Don Puttock, pictured by an American Half Track - a military vehicle he drove during World War Two. Photo courtesy of the Royal British Legion

Nigel said: “We’re very keen for him to have a proper veteran’s funeral as a Normandy veteran.

“The legion along with one of his neighbours have come together and organised his funeral.

“He calmed down a lot once he knew the legion was going to be running the funeral.

“We’re going to give him a military style funeral which is what I think he wanted.”

Don was called up in November 1943 aged 17 and a half. He completed his basic training at Fulford Barracks before serving in Normandy.

During the conflict he drove American half tracks, which Nigel said Don ‘spent quite a lot of time being shot at in’

He added: “Hanover was his last stop in Germany. Then he was sent off to Palestine for a couple of years.”

During his army service Don was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits.

To commemorate Don’s life, several standard bearers from the Royal British Legion will attend the funeral and a volunteer has come forward to play the Last Post.

Nigel said: “There should be quite a good turn out.”

But he is urging people to come out and pay their respects to the war veteran as a thank you for his service.

Nigel added: “It’s an open invitation to anybody who would like to support one of the last veterans.

“It’s a chance for people to give back to someone who has given so much for his country.”

Don’s funeral will be held at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, Crawley on Friday January 17, 2020 at 11am.

An obituary, published by this newspaper, said: “No flowers please. Donations if desired to the Royal British Legion Horsham Branch via”

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