Hailsham World War Two hero dies aged 93

Ron Pidgley
Ron Pidgley

A ‘heroic’ World War Two veteran from Hailsham who took part in the D-Day landings has died aged 93.

Ron Pidgley, who moved to Hailsham in 2005 but lived in Horsham for 40 years, also wrote about his wartime experiences, which included storming Sword Beach in Normandy as a commando, and raids in Norway and North Africa.

A GPO telephone engineer for more than 40 years, he and his wife Sheila moved to Horsham from Petworth in the 1960s with their three children Michael, Janet and Colin, where they had their fourth child, Christine.

He taught calligraphy evening classes at Forest School, was involved in the Coolham Airfield Memorial, and did countless sign writing for charities and Horsham town centre events over the years.

Christine said: “He had a real love of the countryside, teaching his children the names of trees from an early age.He loved taking his lunch break along the banks of the canal and watching the wildlife. Whilst in Hailsham he was very proud to have been honoured when he won a competition to design the Crest for Hellingly Parish Council. His design was adopted in 2007 and has been used ever since! He felt he had left his mark in History!

“Also whilst at The Cedars in Hailsham, where Sheila and Ron moved to in 2005, he was very keen to keep busy and have some Ocupational Therapy - he produced a very interesting booklet about the Weald Area.

“He passed away peacefully on October 14 at Bowes House in Hailsham. A big thank you to all Staff at the care home and to his doctor-Dr Matt Jackson.”

Both Sheila and Ron were enthusiastic gardeners, with tomato growing his pride and joy.

He finished his book on his experiences on D-Day two months ago in preparation for the 70th anniversary in 2014.

A friend of Ron’s said: “He would not have agreed that he was a hero and in fact said quite the opposite, but he was. He went ashore on D-Day as a commando, following Lord Lovat up the beach and was in action for 85 days with no rest.”

Sheila and Ron celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary this year. They have four grandchildren Nick, Guy, Dan and Abi.

The funeral will be held at Eastbourne Crematorium today (November 1) at 12.15pm. Donations to Butlers Funeral Directors, 5 Station Road, Hailsham, 01323 840086.

If you would like to order a copy of Ron’s book priced at £3.50 email seahorse@tiscali.co.uk.